Advice office faces closure

2018-05-29 06:00
Mugidien Barnes assisting a local at the advice office. PHOTO: AISHAH CASSIEM

Mugidien Barnes assisting a local at the advice office. PHOTO: AISHAH CASSIEM

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The Heideveld and District Advice Office faces possible closure if funds are not generated soon.

The centre, located on the corner of Heideveld and Ascension roads, is currently in arrears with more than R21 000 in rent and telephone bills.

Mugidien Barnes, the office’s coordinator, says the trouble started when the organisation’s main sponsor backed out, due a merge with another company, late last year.

The centre has been serving the community for more than 35 years and has assisted close to 3000 people with housing-related issues, municipal bills, maintenance and consumer matters, among others, in the past year.

“This is a serious problem as we serve the community daily. We need to vacate the premises by the end of this month, due to the back fall on payments. Our staff work at the office as volunteers, and they also stopped receiving a stipend last September,” explains Barnes.

“We currently use our own money to help people, especially the elderly who need to make calls or send off emails. We are not in a position to service them any longer if funds are not generated.

“The internet and telephone line has already been suspended.”

Barnes says their offices are a desperate need in the community, as many cannot afford legal fees.

“We are the helping hand for the community and we are the only advice office of its kind in this area. The government does not sponsor us, and if our doors are closed, people won’t have the necessary assistance on their doorsteps and would need to travel all the way to Athlone.

“If we had a choice to clear up the arrears or move, it will be best to move to a better location. I had a meeting with the ward councillor last week with regard to a possible space for us. He advised that there is a possibility of space for the advice office at the local community centre. We now await a positive response.

“Everyone uses the services and we have won many battles for our community to date. If there is anyone who can assist in this regard, it will be greatly appreciated,” adds Barnes.

The advice office currently consists of two commissioners of oaths and one administrator­.

V For more information, call Hajera Davids on 079 825 5095 or visit the centre on the corner of Heideveld and Ascension roads, Heideveld.

The Heideveld and District Advice Office faces possible closure if funds are not generated soon.

The centre, located on the corner of Heideveld and Ascension roads, is currently in arrears with more than R21 000 in rent and telephone bills.

Mugidien Barnes, the office’s coordinator, says the trouble started when the organisation’s main sponsor backed out, due a merge with another company, late last year.

The centre has been serving the community for more than 35 years and has assisted close to 3000 people with housing-related issues, municipal bills, maintenance and consumer matters, among others, in the past year.

“This is a serious problem as we serve the community daily. We need to vacate the premises by the end of this month, due to the back fall on payments. Our staff work at the office as volunteers, and they also stopped receiving a stipend last September,” explains Barnes.

“We currently use our own money to help people, especially the elderly who need to make calls or send off emails. We are not in a position to service them any longer if funds are not generated.

“The internet and telephone line has already been suspended.”

Barnes says their offices are a desperate need in the community, as many cannot afford legal fees.

“We are the helping hand for the community and we are the only advice office of its kind in this area. The government does not sponsor us, and if our doors are closed, people won’t have the necessary assistance on their doorsteps and would need to travel all the way to Athlone.

“If we had a choice to clear up the arrears or move, it will be best to move to a better location. I had a meeting with the ward councillor last week with regard to a possible space for us. He advised that there is a possibility of space for the advice office at the local community centre. We now await a positive response.

“Everyone uses the services and we have won many battles for our community to date. If there is anyone who can assist in this regard, it will be greatly appreciated,” adds Barnes.

The advice office currently consists of two commissioners of oaths and one administrator­.

V For more information, call Hajera Davids on 079 825 5095 or visit the centre on the corner of Heideveld and Ascension roads, Heideveld.

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