Certain Western Cape municipalities grant ‘payment holidays’ amid lockdown
While municipalities continue to render all essential services, including firefighting, road maintenance and environmental health services during the pandemic, they are also working closely with the SAPS and SANDF to ensure the safety of all communities.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said: “In addition, councils are doing everything within their means to assist their communities who are all struggling as a result of the Covid-19 virus and the impact thereof.”
Bredell outlined a number of initiatives that have already been undertaken in the province’s municipalities, including the lifting of water and electricity restrictions in areas where they may have been implemented to date.
Giving a snapshot of some of the additional measures some councils have undertaken, Bredell said: “In Saldanha Bay, the area’s largest holiday resort has been made available for a containment area if needs be, and a temporary suspension of all credit control measures and procedures will be implemented until the end of April.”
Bredell said: “This means that there will be no blocked electricity meters and no restriction measures. The free basic water allocation for indigent residents will be increased from six to 10 kilolitres from April 2020 until the end of June 2020.
“Stellenbosch Municipality will provide a payment reprieve/holiday on property rates for three months. In addition all homeless residents in the Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Klapmuts areas are being accommodated in temporary accommodation,” said Bredell.
“In Overstrand Municipality, businesses that find themselves in financial stress as a result of the lockdown and cannot pay their accounts due for March 2020 and/or April 2020, may enter into an extended term of payment agreement in order for their payments to be done over a period of six months,” said Bredell.
Bredell said that in Hessequa Municipality all ward councillors had been provided with funding to provide food parcels to their constituencies where needed, while the Swartland Municipality is working with the private sector to develop feeding schemes for homeless people.
“In Witzenberg Municipality, the council has decided not to implement strict credit controls during the lockdown period. All prepaid electricity meters that may have been shut off due to non-payment have been reconnected,” said Bredell.
Meanwhile, Bredell said, “Breede Valley Municipality has rolled out additional water points and toilets in informal settlements, which are also being serviced on a greater frequency.”
“Mossel Bay Municipality is providing financial assistance to all lessees of the municipality, and in Bergrivier Municipality people who were placed on a controlled water management system now have full access to water for the duration of the national State of Disaster,” said Bredell.@MwangiGithahu