City of Joburg admits levy was rubbish

Active citizens and civil society pushed the City into dumping the R50 recycling levy proposed in the metro’s draft Budget

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14/05/2021 11:01:51

City of Joburg admits levy was rubbish

Today City of Johannesburg MMC Mpho Moerane announced that the City will drop the proposed R50 recycling levy from Budget 2021/22.

The levy would have been implemented for households from 1 July, as an addition to the existing refuse removal charge. It was announced in the City’s draft budget, which has yet to be passed. The City said it received “a number of submissions” and objections during the budget public participation process.

“This is a victory for active citizens. This is why it is crucial for residents to participate in the public comment opportunities,” says Julius Kleynhans, OUTA’s Public Governance Executive.

“This is a perfect example of how public participation and civil society’s input ensures that residents’ concerns are heard and addressed during the budgeting period. OUTA made submissions objecting to both the new prepaid electricity levy and the R50 recycling levy, and both levies have now reportedly been removed from the budget. It is wonderful to see active citizenry in action, well done to all Joburg residents,” says Kleynhans.

OUTA will write to the city for formal confirmation that both levies have been removed.

OUTA had objected to this levy, saying it was irrational and there was no clear financial explanation for it, as residents themselves must separate their recyclables ready for collection with non-recyclable refuse. The draft budget did not include any explanation of the need for the levy.

“It’s not the recycling we objected to, it was the unexplained levy. Surely it cannot cost R50 for one blue plastic bag and one black one per week,” says Kleynhans. “Recycling is an important action for a more sustainable future, and we encourage this.”

OUTA’s submission had suggested that the City give a discount on the existing refuse tariff to those households which embraced the recycling, as an incentive.

A key concern raised in OUTA’s submission was whether the informal recyclers – who provide a valuable service – were being sidelined.

“We believe that the income of informal recyclers should be protected and instead of creating a new recycling programme, the City should engage its residents and informal recyclers to create a more practical and formal process that can advance recycling, save the City costs, create more dignified jobs and reduce tariffs for its residents,” says Kleynhans.

OUTA would like to encourage residents in other areas to become actively involved in their local municipalities, as this is the only way to ensure that concerns are addressed.

A soundclip with comment from Julius Kleynhans is here.

OUTA's recent submission to the City on the recycling levy is here.


Picture: GroundUp