eThekwini municipality approves relief, recovery measures for businesses

6th August 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

The eThekwini municipality has approved various measures to support business customers that have been affected by the mid-July civil unrest that saw widespread looting and destruction of property and assets in the province.

The rapid implementation of eThekwini mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda’s ten-point plan, which was approved by the city council as part of the 2021/22 budget process, will drive support for businesses to re-start both formal and informal business activities.

In a statement, the municipality says several interventions will have to be prioritised in response to the devastation caused by the unrest.

Kaunda says it is reassuring to note that the multiple engagements with business, including business formations, post the unrest, have given “resounding support” to work with the municipality in a bid to rebuild.

The interventions include the establishment of a one-stop centre, which the municipality says will soon open, with the participation of all relevant government departments for business support.

Further, a 75% rebate of rates will be awarded, for a period of 6 to 12 months, to property owners whose buildings were rendered completely non-functional as a result of the unrest. In this instance, a multi-disciplinary team will assess applications based on individual merits. Criteria for rebates are stipulated on the application forms.

Also, reconnection fees will be waived and there will be special provisions for building plan submissions in respect of properties damaged during the unrest.

Furthermore, bed and breakfast establishments will be granted an extension of rates rebates for a further three months, effective from July 1, with an additional 29% rebate over and above the current 35%.

Tenants of council-owned properties that are non-functional as a result of the unrest will be given a rental holiday, while informal traders will have a three-month rental holiday as of July 1.

Apart from revenue losses associated with damage and/or loss to property and stock, eThekwini municipality says the unrest has placed several planned investments in jeopardy, tarnishing business and consumer confidence.

The municipality is working on an intensive marketing campaign to rebuild its tourism sector and attract investment.