cape town- 140902. CBD restaurants which use tables and chairs outside their premises' have been slapped with exorbitant rentals by the City of Cape Town, such as Cafe Sante on Green Market Square. Reporter: Anel Lewis Pic : jason boud

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has apologised for the “misunderstanding” about its inflated tariffs for outside tables, saying it would reimburse or credit the accounts of affected businesses.

And Garreth Bloor, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said he would meet restaurant owners to apologise and clarify the tariff changes.

The Cape Argus reported on Wednesday that restaurants had been slapped with hefty municipal bills after their tariffs for outside tables and chairs appeared to have increased by about 2 000 percent.

One restaurant manager said that instead of paying an annual fee of about R780 for its outside area in St George’s Mall, it would now have to pay almost R2 000 a month.

The city confirmed that the tariffs had been adjusted in May last year to replace an outdated pricing schedule going back more than 30 years.

Bloor said the tariff had increased from R60 per table each year, to R100 per table per month in the 2013/2014 financial year.

But he saidon Thursday that the city had revised the tariffs downwards after it recognised the impact these inflated prices would have on the business sector.

The annual tariffs proposed for the 2014/2015 financial year are as follows:

l R300 per table in highly concentrated or diverse economic areas and leisure and tourism destinations.

l R150 per table in moderately concentrated or diverse economic areas.

l R100 per table in all other areas.

Bloor said a six-month tariff concession for new entrants was also introduced.

“However, the process of implementation of the council decision to adopt these revised tariffs was, regretfully, not correctly applied. This led to various businesses being billed at the higher 2013/2014 rate.”

Bloor said he had held emergency meetings with city officials to resolve the situation, and he told CapeTalk that there would also be an investigation into the matter.

Cape Argus