The Democratic Alliance (DA)-led Stellenbosch Municipality, hadm during an emergency meeting today, took the unprecedented decision to suspend the collection of property rates for businesses and households within the municipal boundaries which had been negatively impacted by the novel Corona virus outbreak.
The payment holiday would be applicable for three months. Once the crisis is over, the municipality would work with applicants to repay the principal outstanding debt on reasonable terms and without the accrual of any new interest. The rates payment holiday would be extended o businesses, farms and industrial enterprises that, upon formal application, can prove that their income has been negatively affected by the Corona virus crisis.
The same application process would apply to individuals. Rate payments for all households with individuals who lose their jobs as a result of the crisis would also be paused for three months and no interest would be charged.
Additionally, Stellenbosch Municipality had temporarily suspended all credit control measures until the end of April or until the lock down ends even if it extends beyond the end of April. This is to ensure residents are not cut off from critical services such as electricity and would have enough cash on hand to weather the lock down and the subsequent economic storm. The municipality would continue to investigate other possibilities for debt relief measures as the situation develops. Normal debt collection measures would resume afterward.
The council further resolved to increase the amount of free water allocated to indigent households from 6 kiloliters to 10 kiloliters per month. This is to ensure that all households have enough water to ensure adequate sanitation.
Both the ANC and EFF voted against the relief measures for residences.
According to a statement and national media, DA governments across the country are working on finding financially responsible and effective ways of combating the impact of the Corona virus crisis on communities, businesses and individuals.