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Suzanne Malan, Municipal Assistant Manager for accounts and billing.

City’s increased rates, taxes unpacked

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Since the Polokwane Municipality increased electricity and water tariffs as of 1 July, Suzanne Malan, Municipal Assistant Manager for accounts and billing, this week explains how these increases have come about.
“The tariff increases are done once a year and are valid from 1 July to 30 June the following year. It needs to be approved by council, then promulgated in the Provincial Gazette, before it can be instituted,” Malan explained.

Rates and taxes

Rates and taxes are amounts billed to owners’ accounts, relating to assessment rates, refuse removal and sewerage.
The difference is assessment rates are billed on the value of the property and per category in line with the Municipal Property Rates Act.
The categories are determined according to the use of the property, the permitted use of the property or the geographical area in which the property is situated.
“It can be residential, business, industrial, agricultural and properties owned by organs of the state,” she said.
For refuse removal,
a basic levy is levied on all stands per month to the amount of R59,21. This is a fixed fee, for developed or non-developed stands.
“An additional charge of refuse removal is calculated on all stands, with a surface area exceeding 500 m².”

Sewer charges
are based on the total square area of the building, addition or alteration to an existing building.
“The owner of any piece of land, with or without improvement, which is, or in the opinion of council can be, connected to the sewer, shall monthly pay to the council an availability charge calculated on the size of the stand.”

Malan says additional charges are billed per dwelling, flat, unit and per different category. Non-residential buildings are being billed per plunge, grease trap, trough or channel.
These charges for rates and taxes are calculated on the value, and per different category of the property as recorded in the valuation roll.
“The current valuation roll is valid until 30 June 2024. The tariffs are firstly approved by council after the Integrated Development Plan process, then promulgated in the Provincial Gazette, before it can be levied.”

Electricity
Malan says the contributing factor to increased tariffs is usually the cost of generating electricity.
The electricity tariffs do not depend on the location of your property, she says.
Malan says the tariffs that are payable by a family in Bendor remain the same for those who stay in Seshego.
“The cost for electricity per kilowatt is constant throughout all the suburbs under the Polokwane Municipality.”
A basic charge is levied on all accounts depending on the phase used, single for residential properties and three-phase for bigger homes and businesses that use more electricity.
An availability charge is also levied for every owner with an electricity connection regardless of improvements made or consumption.
The tariffs are:
Basic charge per single phase is R105 and basic charge per three-phase is R108,60. The availability charge for homes less than or equal to 400 m² is R15, for homes bigger than 400m2 but smaller than 600 is R25. Those bigger than 600 m² is R50.

Electricity is charged in the following categories:

If you buy between 1 and 50 kWh of electricity, it will cost 102,82c per kWh, 51-350 kWh will cost 143,23c per kWh, 351-600 kWh it will cost 198,16c per kWh and anything over 600 kWh will be 233,00c per kWh.

Malan explained that the first purchase of the month, regardless of when it is placed will be cheaper than the second purchase.
This is because the first purchase starts on a sliding slope, and the second purchase in that same month will continue where you left off on the slope. For example, if you buy 200 kWh the first time, the first 50 kWh will be billed at 102,82c per kWh and the remaining 150 kWh at 143,23c per kWh.
When you make a second purchase of 200 kWh, in the same month, it will fall in the 451-600 kWh category where you will pay 198,16c per kWh.
According to Malan, the electricity-related challenges the municipality faces are illegal connections and the tampering with electricity meters.
In light of this, the municipality announced the previous week that it will be offering amnesty for residents who are in any way involved in illegal electricity connections.
The amnesty is open until the end of August, after which any resident found guilty will be liable to pay council approved penalties of a minimum of R70 000 for residential consumers and minimum of R150 000 for business and industrial consumers.

Water

Water is billed per kilolitre and per category. The more you use, the more you’re going to pay.
Malan says the increases are instituted by the relevant water authority and guided by the municipality’s budget and projects.
“Increases are influenced by the budget of the municipality as well as projects planned for the next financial year. “
These tariffs remain the same for all suburbs under the Polokwane Municipality, whether urban or rural.
This depends on the size of the connection and is determined by the Water and Sanitation Technical Department

The water tariffs are as follows:

The first 5 kl will be R8,93 per kl, the next 10 kl will be R14,03 per kl, the following 15 kl will be R15,31 per kl, the following 20 kl will be R20,42 per kl, the following 50 kl will be R24,25 per kl. Thereafter consumption in excess of 100 kl will be charged at R29,36 per kl.

According to Malan residents need to be more aware of using water for irrigation of gardens, pay more attention to water leaks, report water that is being wasted, water theft and water meters that are being tampered with.
“Take note of the penalty fee to the amount of R70 000 for residential offences and R150 000 for electricity offences. There is currently also an amnesty period from now until 30 August to come forward if you are aware of any illegal connection or tampering with the apparatus of the municipality.”
According to Malan, no person is permitted to have access to water services from a source other than the council, without council’s written permission.
Malan says this is usually directed to borehole users, in order to ensure that the water they use is fit for human consumption.
Malan added that the turnover period for an account-related query, such as incorrect billings on meter readings of which can be corrected if the meter is in order, is seven days. If it is a technical problem with the meter, it will depend on the action needed to be taken by the water and sanitation technicians.
According to Malan the municipality has introduced an indigent relief where to qualify as an indigent user, the total household income should not exceed R4 480 per month.
Indigent customers will receive a 100% rebate on property rates and other basic charges. A levy to the amount of R102,97 will be charged on all accounts.
This also comes with a pensioners discount of 80% rebate on assessment rates where the applicant must be 60 years or older or disabled, except in the case of owners dependent on social grants and the total household income average not to exceed R9 000 per month.Malan says payments can be made at the Civic Centre, satellite offices in Seshego, Mankweng, Sebayeng, Easypay points, Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) and direct bank deposits.
Always quote the account number with all EFT and direct bank payments.
An amount of R189,72 will be levied from 1 July with all invalid account numbers or no account number, as reference.

Story: Umpha Manenzhe

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