Pensioner in the dark over indigent policy

2016-04-27 06:00
Pensioner Bongani Zondi claims he was approached by municipal workers who said he should stop paying for municipal services because he is a pensioner. Zondi visited ‘Maritzburg Echo’ offices with his paperwork to seek for clarity into the matter. PHOTO: nqobile mtolo

Pensioner Bongani Zondi claims he was approached by municipal workers who said he should stop paying for municipal services because he is a pensioner. Zondi visited ‘Maritzburg Echo’ offices with his paperwork to seek for clarity into the matter. PHOTO: nqobile mtolo

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BONGANI Joshua Zondi (65) of Swapo has been left in the dark with an electricity bill in arrears after Msunduzi Municipality workers allegedly told him that he does not need to pay for municipal services because he is a pensioner.

Zondi claims that he has been misled by the workers who had come to fix street lights last year near his house.

Noticing that he does not have the financial muscle to pay for municipal services, Zondi has since made an affidavit stating he is unable to pay the R750 electricity bill.

“I haven’t paid for electricity ever since I received information that I am a pensioner and therefore cannot pay. My account is in arrears and I would appreciate light on this matter.”

Every year the Msunduzi Municipality rolls out free basic services to customers who have been declared indigent and who earn below R3 500.

People who are regarded as being indigent include pensioners and child- headed households. Those who qualify get financial relief with rates and municipal services.

In December 2015 the total debt of those who had applied for indigent benefits amounted to R91 million.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said that applications for indigent benefits are ongoing.

“The application for indigent status does not close. Applicants can apply all year round, but benefits are applied in the month of application and not retrospectively,” said Madonda.

She said applications for the 2016/2017 financial year are currently under way.

“These applications have been made available to councillors and are available at most council offices. Currently there are 5801 beneficiaries for the 2015/2016 financial year. Beneficiaries are those with a total household income of less than R 3 500. Documents needed are proof of income, a copy of identity document of the applicant, as well as identity documents of all household members and proof of income or letter confirming unemployment from Department of Labour.

“If any occupants are at school, then a report card will be required,” explained Madonda.

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