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  • Cape Town and Stellenbosch are offering special measures to help residents who can't pay because of Covid-19.
  • Tshwane has no help to offer on rates – and has seen its payments drop by a quarter.
  • Johannesburg is still figuring out what kind of help it may offer struggling residents.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

Unlike some of its counterparts in the Western Cape, the Gauteng cities of Tshwane and Johannesburg have no plans so far to offer rates and taxes relief to residents – even as payments on municipal accounts plummet.

The capital city has seen a 25% drop in the level of rates payments, and that “is expected to worsen,” said city spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane-Mnguni.

Both Johannesburg and Tshwane say they have have suspended credit control activities, which means non-payers will not be chased down in the short term, and will not have their water or electricity cut off.

That also goes for accounts that were in arrears before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Johannesburg may still offer more; the city has said its financial department is looking into options that include payment holidays, but a decision on that will only be taken at a later stage.

In parts of the Western Cape such measures are already in place.

In Stellenbosch, residents can take a break from paying property rates for three months, from April 1 to June 30, without any interest charged. Households earning a combined income of less than R3,200 a month, have also had their allocation of free basic water increased by four kilolitres, to 10 kilolitres per month.

Meanwhile the City of Cape Town has made provision for those who can't afford their payments to make arrangements with the city for extended payment options.  

The City of Ekurhuleni has also not granted residents a payment holiday – but has offered a rental holiday to businesses renting council property and cannot afford to keep up with payments during the lockdown. 

In eThekwini, there will be no relief on municipal charges, despite the circulation of fake news on social media that claiming there would be a tax holiday. 

"Residential and business utility accounts will be charged as normal, however, the Municipality will not disconnect customers during the lockdown as stated by the Mayor last Thursday, 26 March. During this time there will also be no interest incurred on arrear accounts,” said municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela. 

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