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Kouga opens applications for municipal COVID-19 relief funds

Jun 9, 2020
Kouga opens applications for municipal COVID-19 relief funds

Jeffreys Bay - Various Covid-19 payment relief measures for residents and businesses have been approved by the Kouga Local Municipality Council.

Kouga Local Municipality Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said the aim of the relief measures was to assist residents and businesses whose income had been negatively affected by the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

“Many businesses were unable to operate during the initial stages of the lockdown and suffered serious financial losses. Many residents were also unable to work and lost their income,” he said.

“The municipality was not spared, with the collection rate dropping by 19% in April. This had to be taken into account by Council in approving the final payment relief options for residents and businesses.”

He said some of the relief measures that had been approved, would automatically be applied to all municipal accounts.

“Then there are additional relief measures for which residents and businesses will be able to apply, if relevant to them.”

He said relief measures that would automatically be applied to all accounts, included a reprieve on interest charged on overdue accounts from the start of the lockdown to 30 June 2020.

“All debt collection measures have also been stopped for this period.

“Blocked electricity meters were unblocked in March and no money has since been taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts. This reprieve will remain in place until the end of this month (June 2020).”

He said from 1 July money would once again be taken off prepaid purchases for overdue accounts.

“However, this will be done at a reduced rate of 25% and not 50%, as was the arrangement before the lockdown.

“Residents and businesses will also then be able to apply for further relief.”

He said relief measures subject to application, included a retrospective payment holiday for the months of April to June 2020.

“Residents and businesses will also be able to apply for reprieve from interest on their outstanding accounts up to 31 December 2020. They will further be able to make three to six-month payment arrangements with the municipality.”

He said any household whose combined income had dropped to below R3 720 due to the lockdown would be able to apply for indigent service subsidies.

“These applicants will be placed on a Covid-19 indigent register for temporary relief. All households that qualify, will receive free basic services until the end of the year.”

These free basic services include 50kwh electricity plus the basic charge for free, 12kl water plus the basic charge for free, free refuse removal and free sewer, based on 12kl water consumption. Those who qualify will also not have to pay the Environmental Management Fee and will receive rates relief for an additional R85 000 on their properties.

He said the application forms were available from the municipal website under “Finance” (www.kouga.gov.za/documentlibrary/finance), as well as from the Revenue section at the municipal units in Jeffreys Bay, Humansdorp, St Francis Bay and Hankey.

Once completed, the form and supporting documents can be emailed to abontshi@kouga.gov.za or submitted to the Revenue section at the above offices.

The closing date for applications is 30 June 2020.

Residents are encouraged to submit electronic applications if possible so as to avoid long queues forming at offices.

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