Stellenbosch council offers payment holiday to hardest-hit ratepayers

Ratepayers in Stellenbosch who can prove that their income has been hit by the coronavirus crisis will get a three-month rates holiday, councillors decided at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

“Once the crisis is over, the municipality will work with applicants to repay the principal outstanding debt on reasonable terms and without the accrual of any new interest,” said MP Leon Schreiber, the DA constituency head for Stellenbosch.

In a statement issued by the DA, which controls Stellenbosch municipality, Schreiber said the rates holiday would apply only to “businesses, farms and industrial enterprises that, upon formal application, can prove that their income has been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis”.

He added: “The same application process will apply to individuals. Rate payments for all households with individuals who lose their job as a result of the crisis will also be paused for three months, and no interest will be charged.”

Councillors also decided to suspend credit control measures until the end of April or the end of the lockdown, whichever comes first.

“This is to ensure that residents are not cut off from critical services like electricity and that they have enough cash on hand to weather the lockdown and the economic storm,” said Schreiber.

The amount of free water allocated to indigent households will increase from 6,000l a month to 10,000 during the crisis.