Coronavirus: City of Cape Town temporarily suspends new restrictions for water debt

In an alert published on 20 March 2020, the City of Cape Town’s media office confirmed that this “is an extraordinary decision taken during an extraordinary time” as the rate coronavirus (COVID-19) infections spread.

The City of Cape Town (CoCT) also confirms that other debt management mechanism will remain in place. These include services “performed by via electricity disconnections or deductions from electricity prepayments”.

Use water sparingly

The CoCT urges citizens to accept this temporary action while continuing to use water sparingly. Even though the use of water is vital for health and hygiene purposes, citizens are urged to “remain mindful of water consumption”.

Cape Town is still experiencing drought conditions and rainfall remains unpredictable. In addition, the CoCT highlights the importance of continued payment for services:

“At the same time, customers must continue to pay for services to ensure the City remains financially healthy and is able to provide the necessary services especially during a time of crisis”.

How to apply for rates relief

The CoCT adds that “a careful balance is needed as it can be reasonably expected the City’s finances could become strained as measures are implemented to help manage the crisis.”

Residents can apply for indigent support during the coronavirus outbreak on this page. You can apply if you earn between R4 501 and R6 000 per month. The following documents must accompany your application:

  • proof of identification (such as your ID book)
  • a bank statement for the last three months; or a sworn affidavit stating that you do not have a bank account
  • a bond statement for the last three months; or a sworn affidavit stating that you do not have a bond account

Coronavirus in Western Cape

As of 20 March 2020, the National Institute for Communicable diseases (NICD) confirmed 52 new additional cases in the Western Cape that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the causative pathogen for COVID-19.

At the time of publishing, the total number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa stands at 202. It was reported earlier today that South Africa’s first positive case, a 38-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal, returned home.

According to KZN premier Sihle Zikalala, the man and one other patient’s recovery “inspires hope” for the province’s fight against COVID-19. He said in a statement:

“This development of the recuperation of the first two patients inspires hope in line with KZN’s coronavirus battle mantra ‘Siyayinqoba (We will conquer) the coronavirus pandemic’. This is very important as it dispels fear among our people and confirms that coronavirus is curable through early medical intervention and through people heeding precautions laid out by the government.”

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