Cape Town - Some Cape Town schools could soon be exempt from paying any municipal bills – getting free electricity, water, sanitation and refuse removal.
This is if a motion from city councillor Jeremia Thuynsma, of the ANC, is passed by the city.
He put the motion before a full council meeting last week, and it is being investigated by the city’s budget steering committee.
It calls for all public schools to be exempt from paying for municipal services from the start of the city’s next financial year. If it gets the go-ahead, it could come into effect from July 2013. The motion also asks that council give all schools a 50% rebate on their current bills, and that all arrears are scrapped.
He told the Cape Argus it came about after meetings with residents in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, where it was found that many people were struggling to pay their bills.
As a result, school fees are often not paid, which puts schools in a difficult position to settle their debt.
In some cases, buildings owned by the provincial and national government owed millions to the municipality in arrears.
Thuynsma said the money could instead be used from a grant coming from the national government, which would allow the schools to spend their money on other resources.
The ACDP in council supported the move, saying it would take a lot of pressure off schools struggling to pay off municipal debt.
Demi Dudley, ACDP councillor, told the full council that access to more funding would have a big impact on improving the quality of schooling, especially in poorer areas.
“The pressure taken off schools to fund basic services would be the difference between being able to afford an extra teacher or to purchase necessary equipment, which would otherwise have been impossible.”
He said a feasibility study should be conducted by the city.
Kylie Hatton, city communications manager, said the budget steering committee was investigating the motion.