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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Joburg extends debt write-offs for ratepayers – Check if you qualify

Ratepayers can now qualify for a write-off of their municipal debt from the city of Johannesburg

The City of Johannesburg has approved a further extension of the Debt Rehabilitation Programme for ratepayers, effective from 1 March until 30 June 2022.

The decision was taken during a council meeting on Thursday.

The Debt Rehabilitation Programme is in line with priority number four of the “Golden Start” initiative announced by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Phalatse.

The City of Joburg said the intervention is designed to assist financially distressed ratepayers and defaulting customers to bring their arrears municipal accounts up to date.

“Successful applicants will receive a 50% immediate debt write-off. The balance of the debt will be divided into thirds of which one third will be written-off each year for three years – the duration of the Debt Rehabilitation Programme. The debt remains written off provided the customer complies with all the conditions of the programme.

The city said residential customers, small businesses, faith-based organisations, or places of worship (churches, mosques, synagogues, among others) and non-profit organisations (NGOs) are all eligible to apply.

Who qualifies for the Debt Rehabilitation Programme?

For residential customers, the market value of the property and all properties owned by the applicants must not exceed R1.5 million.

Businesses, churches, and NGOs would have to provide financial statements showing they are not generating revenue of more than R3 million per annum.

The city of Joburg said to qualify for the 50% immediate write-off, the account-holder’s balance must be in arrears for more than 90 days when the application is submitted.

“The combined gross income of the account holder, individually or jointly, must be between R4,750 and R22,000 per month. Where the gross monthly income is more than R22,000, only a percentage of the debt above 90 days shall be written off, on condition that the account holder/s settles the account in full.”

The sliding scale to be used is as follows:

  • Between R22,000 to R30,000, – 30% write-off of the debt above 90 days shall be offered; all interest and penalty charges shall be reversed.
  •  Between R30,001 to R40,000 – 20% write-off of the debt above 90 days will be offered; all interest and penalty charges shall be reversed.
  • Between R40,001 to R50,000 – 10% write-off of the debt above 90 days shall be offered; all interest and penalty charges shall be reversed.
  • Above R50,001 – all surcharges shall be reversed.

The city of Joburg said once the debt write off has been approved, the account must be kept up to date for 12 months from the initial write-off.

The city of Joburg also emphasised that it reserves the right to cancel the agreement and reinstate the original debt written-off should it be discovered that the account holder provided falsified information and documents to the city.

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