Possibly Steep Municipal Increases during 2012

Residents may have to brace themselves for steep increases when the new municipal service charge comes into effect on July 1 this year.

It is expected that electricity will increase with a massive 25% , while rates and service charges are set to increase with between 12% and 14 %. This according to information received from DA Ward 2 Councillor, Dean Biddulph, with regard to the 2012/2013 Draft Budget that will be tabled at a joint meeting of the Mayoral Executive Committee and Budget and Treasury Committee on March 14.

An outraged Mr. Kobus Gerber, chairman of the Rate Payers Association in the metro said, “I find it ironic that the Municipality would table such proposed increases while the previous increases are still being disputed”. According to him the increased bankruptcy of businesses, leading to excessive job losses should indicate that the metro’s economy cannot sustain any further increases. “They are only impoverishing the public and halting the economy”.

Gerber said in difficult economic time, rate payers need alleviation, but instead the municipality is ‘milking the cow dry’. “Should they hike rates and taxes further beyond the means of individuals and businesses; the economy will undoubtedly be destroyed beyond repair’. He said the reason for the steep hikes is directly related to misappropriation of funds and bad business decisions by municipality individuals. “The metro should be run like a business, but the people in charge have no business skills or clue of how to run it successfully. Projects are approved to the value of millions of rands and then either fail halfway through the development phase or are completed and result in very expensive white elephants all around town”.

He said the only way in which the situation can be turned around is if individuals within the municipality is brought to justice for bad decision making resulting in emptying the public’s pockets to make up for losses. Gerber said the rate payers association currently has 18 actions against the municipality and hopes to bring all of these to court successfully. “We will be doing everything within our power to keep these increases to affordable levels.” said Biddulph. “The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had spent 19.5% of its total budget of just over R8 billion by the end of the first quarter of the current financial year. Figures released by the National Treasury indicate that this figure is slightly higher than for the same period last year. The figures show that the Metro had spent R1.4 Billion of its operating budget of R6.6 Billion and R126.4 million of its capital budget of R1.4 billion,” said Buddulph.

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