Steep Municipal Tariff Hikes Impact Major South African Cities, with eThekwini Experiencing the Sharpest Increases


In the latest draft budget proposals for the 2023/24 financial year, several major cities in South Africa are revealing substantial tariff increases for residents. The proposed increases cover property rates, electricity, water, sanitation, and refuse removal. These hikes have been primarily attributed to above-inflation Eskom, water board, and salary increases, as noted by many of the municipal mayors.

The most significant impact is expected to be felt by residents of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, as they face the steepest tariff increases among the major metros. While most cities have drafted electricity price hikes in line with Eskom’s approved 18.49% increase by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), eThekwini has proposed a massive 21.91% electricity tariff hike, a full 3.32% higher than Eskom’s suggested increase. Additionally, the city’s water tariff is set to increase by a considerable 14.9%. eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda cites Umgeni Water’s approved 13% tariff increase for bulk water as the primary cause, but no explanation has been provided for the substantial electricity hike.

In contrast, the City of Cape Town has managed to provide some relief for its residents by reducing Eskom’s 18.49% municipal rate increase to 17.6% through the absorption of approximately R15 million per month. Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for finance, Siseko Mbandezi, states that around 70% of the city’s tariff income will be allocated to purchasing bulk electricity from Eskom, while the remaining 30% will be invested in service delivery and putting an end to load shedding. Furthermore, the City of Cape Town has proposed a 1.1% decrease in property rates due to the new 2022 valuation roll that will come into effect in July. The first R450,000 of property value for properties valued at less than R5 million will be exempt from rates, offering residents some financial relief.

The City of Johannesburg, on the other hand, has tabled a 5.3% property rate increase, which, when combined with the new valuation roll increase (12%), will result in an average rate hike of around 17%. The table below showcases the proposed tariff increases across several major metros.

It should be noted that the City of Ekurhuleni’s planned 15% increase in residential electricity tariffs was tabled before Nersa announced Eskom’s municipal tariffs, leaving room for potential adjustments.

Table 1: Proposed Tariff Increases Across Major South African Metros

MunicipalityRatesElectricityWaterSanitationRefuse Removal
City of Joburg5.3%18.65%9.3%9.3%7%
City of Cape Town-1.1%17.6%8.6%8.6%5.5%
Nelson Mandela Bay5.0%18.49%6.0%6.0%6.0%
Buffalo City8.0%18.65%9.86%5.3%5.3%
Caption: Table 1 displays the proposed tariff increases for various municipal services, including property rates, electricity, water, sanitation, and refuse removal, across several major South African cities.

The proposed electricity tariffs are subject to Nersa’s pending finalization of its tariff guideline. In April 2023, Nersa proposed that municipalities should only increase electricity tariffs by 15.1% starting in July. The final guidelines are expected to be published in May.

Under Nersa’s current proposal, if the 15.1% guideline is approved, municipalities – including the major metros – will be required to limit their increases to this amount unless they can provide compelling reasons and a motivation to deviate. This may include a cost of supply study, which has only been fully implemented by four out of 176 municipalities.

The tariff hikes have raised concerns among residents and businesses, who are already grappling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increases will likely result in higher costs for essential services, putting additional financial pressure on households and businesses alike.

The significant disparities in proposed tariff increases among the major metros may also exacerbate existing socio-economic inequalities. As the cost of living continues to rise, those residing in areas with higher tariff hikes will face an even greater financial burden.

It remains to be seen whether the final guidelines issued by Nersa will provide any relief for South African residents. In the meantime, the proposed tariff hikes have sparked heated debates on the need for improved efficiency and transparency in municipal management and the allocation of resources.

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today

Stay ahead in the financial world – Sign Up to Rateweb’s essential newsletter for free. Get the latest insights on business trends, tech innovations, and market movements, directly to your inbox. Join our community of savvy readers and never miss an update that could impact your financial decisions.

Do you have a news tip for Rateweb reporters? Please email us at


Start trading with a free $30 bonus

Trade stocks, forex, commodities, metals and CFDs on stock indices with an internationally licensed and regulated broker. For all clients who open their first real account, XM offers a $30 trading bonus without any initial deposit needed. Learn more about how you can trade over 1000 instruments on the XM MT4 and MT5 platforms from your PC and Mac, or from a variety of mobile devices.


Personal Financial Tools

Below is a list of tools built to assist South Africans to make the best financial decisions:



South Africa’s primary source of financial tools and information

Contact Us


Rateweb strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions.

Rateweb is not a financial service provider and should in no way be seen as one. In compiling the articles for our website due caution was exercised in an attempt to gather information from reliable and accurate sources. The articles are of a general nature and do not purport to offer specialised and or personalised financial or investment advice. Neither the author, nor the publisher, will accept any responsibility for losses, omissions, errors, fortunes or misfortunes that may be suffered by any person that acts or refrains from acting as a result of these articles.