NEWS
19/01/2018 07:10 SAST | Updated 22/01/2018 06:47 SAST

Drought Tax? No Thanks

The city of Cape Town says it will now have to find other ways to make up for the revenue shortfall.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Water levels are seen at about 24 percent full at Voelvlei Dam, one of the regions largest water catchment dams, near Cape Town, South Africa, November 8, 2017.

Most Capetonians who participated in the public participation process over the city's proposed drought tax opposed it, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. The proposal is now expected to be scrapped.

More than 60,000 comments on the tax were reportedly received by the City, and the majority rejected the tax, calling it unfair.

According to News24, about 52,000 Capetonians would have paid about R150 per month to make up for the R1.6-billion loss in revenue due to reduced water consumption.

Meanwhile in Eastern Cape province's dams have, over the past year, experienced an alarmingly sharp decrease in water levels which has seen them in a worse off state than their much-documented Western Cape counterparts.

One such dam is the Kouga dam which has dropped from 44.6% full in 2017 to a staggering 7.9% on the second week of 2018. Water restrictions have done very little to stem the tide as water levels continue to drop at a rapid rate.

At a press conference on Thursday, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille reportedly announced that the City is moving to level 6B water restrictions, with residents only being allowed 50 litres of water per person per day. Only 39 percent of residents adhered to the previous restriction of 87 litres per person per day, De Lille reportedly said. In the absence of a drought tax, the city will now make cuts in other areas, she said.

"It [the tax] is likely to be dropped after [a] massive outcry from Capetonians that it was unfair. We are now going to have to make deep cuts to important projects," she said.

The city is expected to reach Day Zero, the day taps run dry, in April.

The Cape Argus previously reported that the DA's leadership in the metro area had proposed that the tax be scrapped. Cape metro leader Grant Twigg reportedly said: "After careful consideration, we have come to the decision that this proposal is not viable and will create an undue burden on ratepayers. We believe the City should prioritise its budget and actively and robustly engage the national government on the needs of the City, as water sourcing is their core competency."

ANC Cape leader Xolani Sotashe reportedly accused the DA of using the tax to make De Lille look bad.

"Grant Twigg issued a statement calling on all members of the DA to vote against a drought levy. Let me remind Twigg that you have already voted in favour of a drought levy, hence the announcement by De Lille.

"What has changed now between our last council and now? Bloody hypocrites, you set up De Lille for this drought levy. Again you have turned your backs against her on this drought levy matter as you did in the corruption scandal. You now want people to believe the drought levy is De Lille's issue? We cautioned you as the ANC and you didn't listen. Now that you are getting a backlash from communities you leave De Lille alone to deal with the consequences of your decision," he said.