Stellenbosch Suspends Rates Collection for Those Hit by COVID-19

The municipality of Stellenbosch has taken the unprecedented step of suspending the collection of property rates for three months for businesses and households negatively impacted by the Coronavirus, the DA-led body said today.

stellenbosch municicpality council meeting
At the council meeting today. Photo: Facebook.

“The payment holiday will last for three months,” the Democratic Alliance said in a statement. “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.”

The DA said the ANC and EFF in council both voted against the relief measures.

The suspension would only be granted to businesses, farms, and industrial enterprises that, upon formal application, could prove that their income had been negatively affected by the crisis, it said.

“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.

“This means that vulnerable businesses and individuals will, for the next three months, have access to the money they would normally have spent on municipal rates.”

The municipality has also temporarily suspended all credit control measures until at least the end of April, or until the lockdown ends, “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.”

The council further resolved to increase the amount of free water allocated to indigent households from 6 kiloliters to 10 kiloliters per month.