Pensioners in R800 000 arrears from page 1

2016-06-09 06:00

A NUMBER of tenants, who occupy pensioner flats on Hibiscus Drive in Marburg, are in arrears for rent and electricity to the tune of R800 000. The amount has accumulated over five years.

Community members called the ANC Lower South Coast region for a meeting regarding the arrears situation on Thursday where it was established while not all tenants have defaulted, the electricity supply to these flats has been disconnected.

The flats are managed by the Hibiscus Coast Municipality (HCM) and consists of six blocks. Each block has six flats, however, it is not only pensioners who live in them, but their children too.

In some cases, the pensioner has died and the children continue living in the flats.

Selvan Chetty, who was at the meeting said the Ward 17 ANC leadership established that the collective arrears debt was considerable with some residents owing in excess of R55 000.

“The ANC representives in the ward and I have tabled a proposal to the municipality for their urgent attention,” said Chetty.

The proposal states:

• The arrears rental be separated from the electricity bill.

• The defaulting residents be allowed to structure a repayment plan for electricity with HCM.

• That HCM consider prepaid meters for all units in those flats.

• That the ANC-led municipality consider writing off all arrear rentals

• That the ANC proposes the transfer of these units to qualifying residents for free.

“We note that only an ANC majority vote in council will enable us to achieve this.

“We commit ourselves as the regional leaders of the ANC to engage with the municipality on behalf of the affected residents,” he said.

Spokesperson for HCM, Simon April said as a responsible government they have to collect all debt owed to the municipality and undertake the necessary steps to be followed in this regard.

“These necessary steps include engaging with those who owe the municipality and finding a way forward that can suite both the municipality and the debtor,” said April.

He said the municipality always provides for indigent communities, however, it remains their responsibility to come forward to the municipality for them to benefit from this, and if they do not the municipality will not automatically do so regarding people who do not pay as indigent.

“On the issue of transferring ownership of these flats, I can indicate that in her budget speech, on 31 May, the mayor of Hibiscus Coast, Nomusa Mqwebu, indicated that the municipality­ will engage on the matter and she is confident that these engagements will bear positive results for the residents of these flats.”

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