The middle class maybe losing its balance against the latest round of general increases; this includes electricity, water, rates, petrol and so on. This volatility is echoed in the many requests that fee paying public schools are receiving for exemptions. Since food, electricity and shelter are necessities, the easiest choice is not to pay school fees.
Since residents under R200 000 are exempted from paying rates, properties above R1 million are under pressure. Currently a million rand just about allows access to a basic property in an area like Lansdowne and Surrey Estate. Suburbs like Rondebosch- East and Plumstead, which was affordable a decade ago, is out of reach to the new middle class. Without a deposit, banks prefer an income between R25 000 to R35 000 to access a loan of a million rand to secure the monthly repayment of R10 000 including insurance. The average citizen is thus excluded from buying in these suburbs.
To reduce the burden on the middle class and to encourage the return of commerce to the CBD, I suggest that the City should consider capping municipal increase on top of property valuation every 3 years. The stadium maintenance amongst other projects like overseas jaunts should be reduced.
While those who argue for social class integration and equal education maybe ethically correct, however the reality of the generalised political choices suggests otherwise. Noam Chomsky the American author and thinker in his writings suggest that imperialism will put an end to any alternative besides that of a capitalist structure. This suggests that a finance stratum in terms of education and socialization will become more evident in South Africa. Those who argue for an egalitarian society should consider the dichotomy that wait the black middle class.
The future suggests a longstanding mode of inequality not based principally on race but on income.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress