Financial relief for residents

Sheval Arendse.

Hundreds of Mitchell’s Plain residents applied for indigent relief from the City of Cape Town to cover their municipal bills, make debt arrangements and alleviate the financial burden they face in tough economic times.

Sheval Arendse, councillor for Ward 82 and chairperson of Wolfgat sub-council, said more than 400 people applied for relief at the Nelson Mandela Centre, in Tafelsig, on Thursday June 21.

He said residents asked questions and complained about not having water; not having title deeds; home ownership issues like spouses being deceased, divorce settlements and insufficient documentation; made enquiries on behalf of other people; and voiced their frustration about the lack of housing or being on the housing waiting list.

“We will scrutinise all the documents received on the day. If there is missing information, we will follow up with the individuals,” he said.

Mr Arendse said the indigent relief approval process was dependant on the installation of water management devices and prepaid electricity meters, where applicable.

He said the process also included setting the meters, before writing off debts could be considered.

Their indigent status will be for a period of a year for people younger than 60 years and three years for those older than 60 years.

Mr Arendse said the change in valuation of property disrupted this time frame.

Michael Jacobs, deputy chairman for the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA), said they welcomed this programme and that it brought much needed relief to struggling families in Mitchell’s Plain and across the city.

He said the national government also contributed to this relief fund and that constitutionally it was the right of citizens.

In the City’s budget for the 2018/19 financial year, nearly R3 billion has been set aside to provide rates rebates and indigent relief to qualifying residents.

The social package includes almost R1.5 billion for indigent relief and approximately R1.5 billion in rates rebates.

Residents who live in properties valued at R100 000 and below qualify for 100% rates rebates and refuse removal relief.

Apart from property value, the City also uses household income as a factor to determine which residents qualify for assistance.

For instance, where the gross monthly household income is R4 000 or below, these households can get a 100% rates rebate and receive the same benefits as if their properties were valued below R100 000.

There are also various levels of assistance available where the household income is below R6 000 a month.

Residents are encouraged to visit their nearest municipal walk-in centre and complete an application form to see if they are eligible for the benefits.

You may also contact your ward councillor or sub-council office to apply.

Applicants must take their identity book or card; a bank statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bank account; a bond statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that they do not have a bond account; and a copy of the estate documents if the applicant has inherited his or her house

If you are employed, take your latest salary, wage payslip or a letter from an employer stating your income; include a sworn affidavit if you are self-employed stating how much you earn a month; and proof if you receive a disability grant, maintenance grant or pension

If you are unemployed, take a sworn affidavit stating that you are unemployed; and a sworn affidavit stating that you have no other source of income.

If you know of someone who might potentially qualify for assistance, direct them to visit www.capetown.gov.za.

The City plans to host a number of these community outreach events across the metro in the weeks to come, and will include Eerste River, Atlantis, Gugulethu, Tafelsig and Khayelisha.