COJ wants to increase tariffs while residents are struggling to survive

The City of Johannesburg's draft budget for 2020/21 is out for public comment.

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11/06/2020 12:02:38

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      COJ wants to increase tariffs while residents are struggling to survive

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The City of Johannesburg has failed to take into account the dire economic consequences that the Covid-19 lockdown has inflicted on City residents and instead has presented a “business as usual” budget complete with salary hikes and unaffordable rate and tariff increases, says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA Project Manager Tim Tyrrell says the budget is an insult to the sacrifices made by City residents who have endured pay cuts, retrenchment or the closure of once-vibrant businesses in the name of flattening the curve.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Meanwhile, the City of Joburg thinks it is prudent to increase councillor and staff remuneration by nearly R1 billion – ironically nearly the same amount expected to be raised by the proposed property rates increase alone.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “This is an affront to every hardworking resident of this City who is no doubt outraged by this callous disregard of their financial pain and suffering as a result of the country’s extended Covid-19 lockdown. It is beyond belief that the City is even considering salary increases above the consumer price index at the very least,” says OUTA project manager Tim Tyrrell. “Residents must exercise their rights and comment on this budget by clicking on this link before 23 June 2020.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      According to the draft budget, the across-the-board 4.9% property rates increase will raise an additional R1 billion while the proposed increase in employee-related costs of 5.4% and in councillor remuneration of 6.4% will add R843.5 million to the City’s expenses. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tyrrell says despite the increases in tariffs and rates the City continues to fail to meet its financial obligations on spending on repairs and maintenance of existing infrastructure.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “Since 2009, the City has underspent by R28.6 billion on repairs and maintenance. The Treasury norm states that for every R10 the City invests in buying or building new plant, property or equipment (PPE) they must allocate 80c towards repairs and maintenance. On average, they have committed only 30c of every R10 invested since 2009,” says Tyrrell.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tyrrell says now is the moment for all City residents to make their voices heard.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “The draft budget is out for comment. Unless you submit your opinion, you will have no influence over the budget passed by the council later this month. Make sure your voice is heard and comment today,” says Tyrrell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Comments must be submitted before or on 23 June 2020. You can add your views by following the link here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Picture: Flickr/South African Tourism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.