The City of Cape Town tabled its Draft Budget for public comment to Council on Wednesday 28 March. With it comes a strong call by the City encouraging the most vulnerable in society to make use of the indigent relief hand-ups that are on offer.The proposed total cost of the social package for the new financial year amounts to just under R3 billion. This includes around R1,47 billion for indigent relief and approximately R1,49 billion in rates rebates.“In particular, our indigent support policies aim to assist our most vulnerable and poverty-stricken residents,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Councillor Johan van der Merwe. “These policies also ensure that we maintain social stability and financial sustainability. “If we can budget for the level of support that is needed to assist our most destitute residents, for instance, it helps to guard against spiralling debt levels which is unsustainable for households and for the City. In order to maintain financial sustainability, the City also encourages a culture of payment by all the property owners and consumers of services.” Van der Merwe warned that debt does not disappear on its own. “In fact, if ignored, it gets worse,” he said. “We urge all of our residents who require and qualify for support to contact us. Indigent grants and benefits can really make a big difference to the living conditions of an individual and their household.“This is a hand up, not a hand out. Indigent support packages can empower our more vulnerable residents. If it is an opportunity for which you qualify, do not miss out.”The City is embarking on a campaign to encourage more potential indigent beneficiaries to apply and see if they qualify for this assistance. The indigent grant is available to South African residents, and homeowners with a total household income of R6 000 or less. Visit your nearest municipal walk-in centre and complete an application to be eligible for the benefits, he said. You will need: . proof of identification (ID book/card) . a bank statement for the last three months, or a sworn affidavit stating that you do not have a bank account . a bond statement for the last three months or a sworn affidavit stating that you do not have a bond account . a copy of the estate documents if you have inherited your houseIf you are employed, please also include the following in your application: . the latest salary/wage payslip or a letter from an employer stating your income . if you are self-employed, a sworn affidavit stating how much you earn per month . proof of your receiving a disability grant, maintenance grant or pensionIf you are unemployed, please also include the following in your application: . a sworn affidavit stating that you are unemployed . a sworn affidavit stating that you have no other source of incomeIf you know of someone who may potentially qualify for assistance, please direct them to visit: http://www.capetown.gov.za/local%20and%20communities/financial-relief-and-rebates/our-approach-to-financial-support/indigent-grants.