Tax them for water


The Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, has argued that the City is losing revenue to its fiscus because people have heeded the advice to reduce water usage. As a consequence there is a need to bring in the required revenue to pay for new “augmentation” initiatives. Thus she will be proposing to the City council the need for a new water surcharge. But she acknowledges that there will have to be buy-in from the national Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba

“You can’t call it a levy. You can call it a surcharge,” De Lille explained at the Cape Town Press Club interactive session on water usage and ways to resolve the current water crisis.

She said if the City council supported the initiative for a new surcharge, then it would have to go to the national minister in charge of the treasury, Malusi Gigaba, for his approval. It would also have to go through a six-month public consultation process before it could be implemented in Cape Town.

Noting that if a household’s previous water bill – before the drought restrictions were imposed of 87 litres a day – stood at about R300 a month, such a household was now paying only R50 or R60 for water. That is if they are good boys and girls, saving water and keeping below the daily limit for households. This of course, is translated into a big revenue loss for the City of Cape Town.

The idea behind the surcharge is that those living in properties worth a wee more will have to pay a surcharge. “The idea is to have it scaled,” she said. “Say for instance, the value of a house is R2 million, you will pay R123 a month (as a surcharge). If you live in a mansion of R8 million (the property valuation) then it will not be more than R1 000 a month.”

This is over and above any charges for actual water usage, she explained.

Asked if she foresaw any political fallout – a loss in Democratic Alliance support in the city – as a consequence of the proposed tax, she said it should not be viewed as a tax. She however, did not entertain an answer to the question about the political fallout.

She said plans to augment water supplies were well advanced, with aquifer tapping and desalination plants going full steam ahead.

5 Comments on "Tax them for water"

  1. This is absolutely ridiculous. Half the reason we are in such a bind is because of their lack of planning and foresight. How are those additional levies going to help us….NOT! Since 1995 the population in Cape Town has grown by 55% yet over the same period, dam storage has only increased by 15%. We are in a crisis with not enough water to service the existing homes in and around Cape Town, yet they continue developing thousands of new homes and complexes. Where are those millions of litres of water to service these new homes going to come from? I agree….I think that the DA is going to get a huge shock in 2019.

  2. Another reason why De Lille, and the DA, are heading for a shock in 2019. De Lille’s proposal is both irrational and crazy. Charge by usage of water NOT by value of property.

    Who the hell is making decisions in Cape Town?

  3. If the city council had taken timeous pre-emptive measures we would not have this problem. Years ago the municipality should have taken the steps that it is only trying to implement now. We should fire ALL the elected officials and replace them with people who think and plan for the future after all planning for the future is what municipal councils are supposed to do.

  4. So when the golden goose dies, go for its keepers. At the base of the problem is the absurd idea of distinctive ‘business units’ and imagining state utility and service providers as businesses which can be divided into such units. Now that the golden goose of extravagant water users has had to be slaughtered, only someone blind to that rather silly principle will recommend trying to reincarnate it in a different form. The ‘crisis’ demonstrates clearly that properly controlled cross subsidization is imperative. And that performance appraisals need to track real performance rather than be heavily based on monitoring money flows.

  5. De Lille, Please define “RICH”

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