DA salutes City of Cape Town for granting rates relief to residents hit by Covid-19

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has commended the Cape Town municipality for being the only metropolitan government in South Africa that has taken bold measures to support both businesses and residents during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

“We salute the DA-led Cape Town for offering much needed property rates relief to Capetonians who have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said.

“Cape Town joins the likes of DA-run Stellenbosch, Overstrand and Mossel Bay municipalities in offering embattled ratepayers some form of payment relief.”

John Steenhuisen

The Cape Town council has announced that commercial property owners will be able to obtain rates relief if they can prove that their business income has been negatively affected by the crisis. Qualifying businesses that fall into arrears may apply to make payment arrangements to pay off the rates over an agreed number of months. No interest will be charged, or debt management actions taken for the duration of the arrangement, provided it is honoured. This is subject to formal application, and, once the crisis is over, the municipality will work with applicants to repay the principal outstanding debt on reasonable terms.

The city has also made the same rates relief available to individual households on the same terms. All property owners whose accounts will fall into arrears due to loss of income from the coronavirus crisis can make payment arrangements with the city to pay the rates over an agreed number of months without any interest or penalties being charged for the duration of the arrangement.

“But the relief measures do not end there,” Steenhuisen said. “The council has also resolved to grant indigent relief to property owners who have lost their jobs at this time of crisis and now have a household income of less than R6,000 per month. The council will further grant additional rates rebates to pensioners and disabled property owners who have experienced a reduction in investment returns and household income due to Covid-19. The City has adjusted the processes of its Indigent, Disabled and Pensioner rebate applications to enable a faster qualification for these rebates. Instead of the normal three-month assessment period, applicants will now be assessed over just one month of income.”

The city will assess each situation subject to application and strictly on the basis of merit. The DA encourages residents to take advantage of the relief offered by sending an SMS to 48043, or sending an e-mail to Covid19.Relief@capetown.gov.za, Rates.Rebate@capetown.gov.za or Indigent.Relief@capetown.gov.za.

“We agree with the comments of Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, last week that one must fix one’s roof before the rain comes. The DA-led City of Cape Town is the only metro government in South Africa that has fixed its roof before the rain, and is now able to afford to institute these rates relief measures. Cape Town has been the best-run metro in South Africa ever since the DA took over in 2006, and it is only because the city has long been a responsible custodian of taxpayer money, where corruption and wastage are not tolerated, that the council is now in a position to afford to help residents during their hour of greatest need,” Steenhuisen said.

“The DA also wishes to thank the people of Cape Town for the way in which they diligently pay their property and utility rates, including during the period of extreme water crisis in 2018. It is this combination of a caring and well-run government, along with responsible residents, that has enabled Cape Town to now blaze a trail of good governance at this time of crisis.”

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