Despite an overwhelming number of complaints from community members over what they view as unaffordable property rates, the City of Cape Town says it has provided up to R66 Billion in rates relief and rebates to citizens in the past year. The city’s exorbitant municipal rates has become financially crippling for many citizens, particular to those already struggling to make ends meet.
Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson, acknowledged the lofty rates were a difficult issue for many who earned an income that was not equivalent to the property they owned. As a result, the city offered a range of rebates and exemptions to poorer members of the community, and those on fixed incomes such as retirees.
The city has a fixed property valuation of R200 000, at which point property tax becomes mandatory. Anyone whose property is valued under that amount is exempt from paying municipal rates. However, those earning above that point will received a rebate whereby, they will have R200 000 deducted from their property valuation before their rates are calculated.
“For example, someone who owns a property worth R400 000, will only end up paying rates on R200 000. So they only pay 50% of what they would have paid,” he explained.
This was the most significant rebate offered by the city, and was aimed at providing relief to those in smaller valued properties. According to Neilson, the city also offered a full rates rebate of 100% to those persons with a household income of below R3500 a month. This was irrespective of their age. Those earning up to R5000, could also received a rebate of either 25%, 50%, or 75%, depending on certain criteria.
Furthermore, he said that those over the age of 60 could potentially qualify for a rebate if their monthly income was under R12 500 a month. The same applied for disabled individuals.
As for water tariffs, Neilson said they were not in anyway based on the value of an individual’s property. However, the city did offer rebates based on certain conditions.
“If you live in a house worth less than R300 000, or you can prove to us that you’re earning less than R3500 a month, we can qualify you as indigent and you can get an additional 4.5 Kilolitres of water a month,” he noted.
Anyone seeking assistance on property rates, or looking for more information on the rates rebates, can contact the City of Cape Town’s accounts department at 0860 103 089. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)