Grant Haskin, the African Christian Democratic Party leader in the Cape Town City council, has released the proposed drought surcharge table. Mayor Patricia de Lille announced her intention of raising revenue from a drought surcharge at the Cape Town Press Club on November 30. It is expected that the proposal will be rigorously debated in the city council when it meets on Tuesday afternoon.
Is the City’s planned drought levy fair?
- No (76%)
- Yes (24%)
The surcharge is based on the residential property valuation. Those owning houses in Cape Town which are worth under R400 000 will pay no surcharge.
However, those owning houses worth R600 000 will pay R35 a month. A house worth R5 million will attract a R280 charge and owners of a house worth R10 million will pay R565 – if, of course, the proposal is supported by the council.
Mayor de Lille told the Press Club last week that the proposal also had to be given the rubber stamp by the national Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba.
Commercial properties will attract higher surcharges. It is proposed that it kicks in at R60 for a property worth R500 000. It rises to R56 000 a month for a property worth R500 million. However, the maximum surcharge for a residential property is R2 800 a month – for a house worth R50 million or more.
Posting on his Facebook page, Haskin, who is a former deputy mayor, said there was “a strong likelihood” that his party won’t support the levy proposal.
He noted that the City had not engaged the public on the proposal to hear what Capetonians had to say or to gather suggestions about alternatives. “Capetonians have faced 10 successive years of huge increases in their household rate accounts for water, electricity, sanitation and waste removal.”
Noting the water revenue shortfall because some Cape Town residents had heeded to call to cut back on water, he said: “The City makes no mention of having exhausted all other financial avenues to fund this shortfall, which it ought to have done, and which it had time to do had it done financial scenario projections earlier this year or before. Now Capetonians are being penalised for the City’s poor planning and for saving water.”
At the start of the council session, Mayor de Lille said the surcharge was proposed for a limited period.
“I am proposing to Council today that the City introduce a temporary drought charge as of the 1st of February 2018. The reason for this is simple: our survival. We all simply need water to survive.”