South Africa: The Ts and Cs of Joburg's Consumer Debt Write-Off

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The City of Johannesburg is offering a 50% debt write-off on qualifying residents' municipal accounts in an attempt to build long-term compliance. The catch? You have to pay your rates and services going forward.

The City of Johannesburg could write off as much as R6-billion in consumer debt in a new programme that seeks to ensure residents pay their rates and services in the long-term by offering to scrap their debt over three years.

To mitigate the city's increasing levels of debt, the Debt Rehabilitation Programme was passed in council on Thursday to change the behaviour of residents who haven't been paying their bills.

Qualifying customers will receive an immediate 50% write-off on their arrears. If they comply with the conditions of the programme, the remaining 50% will be written off over three years.

To qualify, customers must: be a residential rather than business account holder; have a balance in arrears for more than 90 days; have a monthly household income between R4,750 and R22,000; and the property's market value cannot exceed R600,000.

Johannesburg Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni said the city has a total debt book of R24-billion. "It keeps on increasing with economic conditions within the country so it's...

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