06 September 2016 - Let me announce that our 85th Council Sitting, held last Wednesday in Council Chambers, at our Head Offices in Vanderbijlpark resolved that our grave tariffs are going to be reduced. In other words, we have responded to the concerns and cries of our people who complained about our tariffs.
Throughout his engagements with the leadership of this municipality and sectors of our community affected by the cost of our graves, Executive Mayor Mahole Mofokeng and his team have conceded that our grave tariffs are unreasonably high. This was after they had a look at the research provided by the Municipal Manager and his team, which showed that indeed our tariffs were higher than other municipalities which have the same economic profile as Emfuleni Local Municipality.
What I must clarify to our residents is the fact that Executive Mayor, Councillor Mahole Mofokeng does not make decisions on his own – that is why we have a Council constituted by elected Councillors from different political formations. While the ANC enjoys majority in the Council, it cannot sideline other political parties in making vital decisions such as this one.
Our MMC, Cllr. Edwin Kele is working with our Municipal Manager Yunus Chamda and his team in a wide investigation which will ultimately determine an interim tariff for our bereaved communities.
Residents are hereby reminded that there are processes to follow when dealing with matters of tariffs in local government. For instance, our communities have been petitioning us to reduce our tariffs on the cost of cemeteries. Because this is a decision which will affect the financial position of the municipality, it must the researched with the view of minimizing related risks.
While we are responsive and open to engagements by our people we must heed the following:
- We cannot do a review that is not factually based and hastily considered.
- The leeway to adjust tariffs downwards by the Provincial Treasury has also been followed up by a strongly worded letter of caution.
- Provincial Treasury has cautioned us that our financial position is critical and any adjustments to the tariffs could be detrimental to our situation.
- More importantly Motseki Mabuya, we must ask this question: Who will be the real beneficiaries of a lower tariff? Will it be the old lady who pays a monthly fee to a burial society, or will it mean they pay the same and our lower tariff means higher profits for the undertakers and scheme operators?
A lower tariff should mean if an elderly woman was paying a monthly R50 premium to her burial society, she must now be in a position to negotiate for an improved package from her burial society but still paying the same premium or lower her premiums all together but still receive a dignified burial service from her burial society.
A lower tariff must also mean burial societies will have more money in their coffers. This is why this municipality has a difficult task of introducing an interim tariff which will undoubtedly have a positive economic impact in the lives of the elderly and the needy.
Our interest and continued efforts in this matter prove that we are a responsive government that is open to suggestions that impact the lives of our communities positively.
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