The Executive Mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Patrick Mabilo, announced last week that the controversial R260.00 basic-charge- for- electricity has now been removed. Last Thursday Mabilo tabled the adjustment budget for 2018/19 and the council resolution (C134/11/18) which has cleared all local residents from the basic charge for electricity. Mabilo indicated that residents and other stakeholders will be consulted prior to any changes or proposals to charges for municipal services.
The removal of the R260.00 was one of the key demands made by the community of Kimberley during last year’s multiple shutdowns of the city. The Sol Plaatje Community Forum which was established by the community after the protests, held a meeting with Mabilo last week to discuss concerns raised by the community and to receive progress reports on outstanding matters.
It would seem that the municipality intend to make up for the shortfall of the R260.00 that was budgeted for by the increase in property rates, by way of an alarming spike in valuations. Some residents in Kimberley have complained about triple digit increases in the municipal valuations of their properties. The Sol Plaatje new general valuation roll will be effective from 1 July and according to the municipality a new valuation roll is undertaken every four years in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act. Some residents have complained about increases up to 400% in their municipal valuations.
Meanwhile, council adopted the upper limits for councillors salaries that will see Mabilo earning R 1 006 728.00, Speaker Ingrid Koopman R 805 382.00, members of the mayoral committee members R 755 045.00 and ordinary councillors R 138 91.00per annum. The increases will be backdated to 1 July 2018.