8 in 10 South Africans say their household income has been negatively impacted by Covid-19.
92% of millennials (those born 1980 - 1994) and 95% of Gen X (those born 1965 - 1979) have been particularly hard hit, and were concerned about their ability to pay their bills.
When looking at consumers who are concerned about paying their bills, 46% report that they will not be able to pay their utilities (electricity, water, etc.), while 42% will not be able to make their rent repayment and 39% report that they will not be able to pay their cellphone bill.
This survey reinforces what we already know - people are struggling and many are simply overwhelmed.
Here are a few more examples of financial dilemmas faced by South Africans.
Municipal rates and taxes:
Whilst looking for financial relief from any and all avenues, many people in the Western Cape have asked whether the City of Cape Town is offering relief to those unable to pay their municipal taxes due to a total or partial loss of income.
According to the City’s website, at this stage, it was offering additional relief measures, effective immediately, due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 emergency.
The City said it had adjusted the processes of its indigent, disabled, and pensioner rebate applications to enable those severely affected to qualify more quickly for these rebates.
Normal processes required the assessment of income over three months to enable qualification.
This was now reduced to an assessment of one month of income so that people could qualify more quickly for the benefits
The rebate would be backdated to 1 April or the month in which the income was lost. It would be valid for 12 months, unless there was a change in the person’s income or they were re-employed, in which case they needed to notify the City.
The site also has a table which indicates that:
If you are a property owner who has lost your job or has no income - and if your total household income is now R6000/month or less - then you can apply for help via email (during lockdown) at [email protected] or SMS 48043.
If you are a property owner receiving a pension (60 years and older) or have a disability rebate - and you have experienced a reduction in investment returns or household income due to Covid-19 - then you can apply for help via email (during lockdown) at [email protected] or SMS to 48043.
If you are a property owner who previously didn’t apply or qualify for the pensioner and disability rates rebate as your total household income then was above R17 500 pm, and now your total household income has been reduced to R17 500 pm or less - then you can apply for help via email (during lockdown) at [email protected] or SMS to 48043.
The category which stands out most for me though, and one which I think most people will be interested in, is this:
If you are a property owner who does not qualify for indigent or pensioner rebates but your account is getting into arrears, then you can make a payment arrangement to pay off the rates over an agreed number of months.
No interest will be charged, or debt management actions taken for the duration of the arrangement, provided it is honoured.
You can apply for help via email (during lockdown) at Covid-19.[email protected] or SMS to 48043.
All relevant documentation and proof to be submitted via email and all applications will be assessed on merit.
Applications will be assessed during the lockdown for those able to submit proof via email. Once the lockdown is over, applicants may submit their proof at the City’s customer care offices and their applications will then be assessed and backdated where necessary.
The above comes from the statement by the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson.