South Africa's metros have to do something of an egg dance as they try to balance their finances in the face of rising poverty, a huge income gap between rich and poor, and the need to provide decent services for all residents. Social justice NGOs from the South African Cities Network got together on Thursday 24 April to discuss the relationship between metros and citizens.
Releasing their "people's guide" to their State of City Finances report, the SA Cities Network said the key focus was the impact on consumers of increased electricity and water tariffs, especially in the context of an economic environment of all-round rising costs.
Key findings on the challenges facing citizens are:
Most metros have regressive tariff structures, as most lower-income households incomes pay a greater share of their income towards tariffs than those with higher incomes; and
The cost of all service packages increased in all cities, with the exception of Nelson Mandela Bay and Mangaung. Cape Town increased the cost of all its service packages at well above the average growth for the nine cities (this increase was driven by higher charges for water combined with the abolition of the free 6kl for non-indigent households....