PRESS RELEASE: 31 MARCH 2020
PACKAGE OF COVID-19 RELIEF MEASURES
EMBARGO: 10:00 31 March 2020
Members of the Media
Municipal Manager, Adv Thys Giliomee
While we are at the beginning of the 21-day National Lock-down due to state of disaster that stems from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, I thank you for attending today. My ultimate wish is that the virus will have as little impact as possible on our beautiful town and it's people.
I thank the representatives of the various media houses for the sterling job they are doing to keep our community informed and up to date with information about the Covid-19 virus and everything it entails.
Mossel Bay Municipality appreciates the excellent relationships with our local and regionally based media and we thank you for the effective and continuous media coverage of municipal and other local affairs.
The municipality has thought it prudent to use this opportunity to share with our community, with your help, information on relief measures about the pandemic.
Both the Council and municipal administration have over the years taken pride in the many and varied accolades bestowed on the Mossel Bay Municipality.
BEST MUNICIPALITY WESTERN CAPE - RATINGS AFRIKA
Today is no different, yet we are especially proud to – again – be named the Best Municipality in the Western Cape by the renowned rating agency Ratings Afrika.
While today we can only announce that the accolade at this time is for the Western Cape, we have every faith that soon the rating will indeed be for Best Municipality in South Africa.
Ratings Afrika is a rating agency that specialises in ratings and similar opinions gauging the soundness of governance in:
• State-owned enterprises
• Central governments.
Ratings Afrika base their ratings symbol inter alia on the soundness of governance.
In the current economy and considering the effect of the economic downturn and the Covid-19 pandemic on our community, specifically the local business community and our indigent and poor communities, the Mossel Bay Council unanimously approved a package of relief measures to assist our loyal and vulnerable people.
Mere hours ahead of the national lock-down in terms of the state of disaster announced by President Ramaphosa, the Mossel Bay Council at a special council meeting unanimously approved the recommendations for a package of relief measures to ease the detrimental financial effect of the lock-down on the residents, business owners, and the local economy.
The influence of the COVID - 19 Coronavirus will increasingly be felt in the community and especially by the local businesses that depend on community support. Therefore, it was recommended to Council to provide a financial grace period to support business, industry and individual customers on municipal accounts.
Having said that, the Council continues to urge residents to diligently pay their accounts where possible as the municipality is dependent on a high payment return to maintain high service delivery satisfaction rates.
"Unless you can prove that non-payment is the direct result of the lock-down - do not be opportunistic. Pay your dues."
During the national disaster, the municipality’s finance department will remain operational also to give effect to the recommendations, but all municipal cashier points are closed. Payments can be made at third-party vendors such as PnP, Checkers, and others. We encourage electronic payments and the banking details are on the account. The municipal account number must be used as a reference number. The banking system has an automatic verification, payment with incorrect references will be rejected. If a consumer has more than one account, separate payments must please be processed.
Help us to ensure that the municipality can ensure essential services are rendered during these trying times and to remain sustainable going forward. We pride ourselves
1. Business and Industry assistance
Financial assistance will be provided to all Lessee’s of the municipality including Local Economic Development projects such as the Beehives and Goods Shed
· An amnesty is granted for paying rent by all lessees for a period of three months after the government's announcement of a national Covid – 19 disaster and applied for March 2020 to May 2020 on accounts payable by the 15th of the following month.
Financial assistance will also be provided to all business and industry in destress
· An amnesty for paying the full-service bill for a period of 3 months after the government's announcement of a national COVID-19 disaster is granted and applied for March 2020 to May 2020 property rates and service account accounts payable by the 15th of the following month.
In both instances:
· The customer will need to repay the arrears in equal instalments for no longer than 6 months.
· No interest will be levied during this period of a full nine months, if all accounts are up to date for accounts payable by 16 March 2020 (February 2020 account).
· No collection mechanisms will be applied to the outstanding 3-month amnesty accounts. However, if the customer is in default of any amount during the repayment period, the normal credit control measures will be applied.
2. Residential Clients
· The current water restrictions are being lifted, in other words, all water that is restricted (on a drip) will be opened. After today any restricted meters may be logged at Debt Pack at 044 - 620 4480 for opening.
· All prepaid and conventional electricity meters that are currently 100% blocked were lifted before Thursday, 26 March 2020
· The deadline for Indigent applications will be shifted to 30 April 2020, instead of March 2020
· No interest will be levied on arrear accounts till payment date in June 2020, if all accounts are up to date for accounts payable by 16 March 2020 (February 2020 account)
· The auxiliary recovery rate by prepaid purchases of 55% will be reduced to 30% for the COVIT 19 21-days lock-down.
The process will be as follows:
• If any account is in arrears after the 3 months, the normal debt collection process will be followed with the option of a payment arrangement as determined by Council (6 months without interest) or the normal credit control policy (Maximum 12 months with interest)
• All instalment agreements will be cancelled if the client does not pay the current account and the instalment arrangement.
• An instalment agreement will already be completed to be signed by the client and will only come into effect when the 3-month amnesty period lapses.
The municipality urges again those customers that can afford to keep their municipal accounts up to date to do so. This will ensure that Mossel Bay Municipality can ensure sustainable service delivery, at the levels that the residents and customers of Mossel Bay are used to, is delivered.
In closing, I want to reiterate that Mossel Bay Municipality has a solid long-term financial plan that we do not deviate from, and that good financial discipline is maintained througout.
I thank you
31 March 2020