Qualifying Joburg residents could see their municipal debts written off
Johannesburg residents struggling to pay for municipal rates and services have been thrown a lifeline that could see half, if not more, of their debts written off.
The city approved a break-through debt-rehabilitation programme at a council sitting on Thursday.
Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni said in a statement that tough economic times called for an “innovative approach to mounting municipal debt”.
The idea is to ensure that defaulting ratepayers are brought back into good standing on their municipal accounts.
“The broad concept of the programme hinges on an application process that will allow for strained household owners to apply for municipal debt rehabilitation,” said Ngobeni.
“Qualifying customers will receive immediate relief through a 50% debt write-off. If the customer complies with all the requirements of the programme, which include keeping their current accounts up to date and allowing for regular inspection of metered services, then the remaining outstanding debt will be written off over a three-year period.”
The criteria to qualify for the programme will be:
• A write-off is only applicable to residential account holders.
• The account holder’s account balance is in arrears for more than 90 days as at June 30 2019.
• The combined gross income from all activities of the account holder and spouse must be between R4,750 and R22,000 per month.
• The market value of the property and all properties owned by the applicant must not exceed R600,000.
The city will embark on educational roadshows in August and the application process is scheduled to start in September.