Pensioner says City of Cape Town’s indigent policy not working for him
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Cape Town - A Bothasig pensioner complained that the City’s indigent policy was not working.
Clifford van Heerden said he had been indigent before 2015 but was unable to register as such because he could not afford the upfront payment required to do so.
“The City is running up my account to a point where the City will eventually be able to attach my property to claim the money owing. I do not know how to get out of this predicament and fear losing my house. This flies in the face of the City’s public claim to be a caring administration helping the poor.
“The current policy being used is designed to exclude the neediest and poorest of the poor from accessing benefits the city boasts and brags about publicly.
“I have exhausted all avenues of sorting this out with the City. I plead for your help with this situation as I am a Sassa old-age pensioner looking after my 94 -year-old mother,” he said.
Responding to our queries, mayco member for finance Ian Neilson said: “His previous indigent application was not approved, as he had not submitted the required documents.
“Once these are submitted and the application approved, there will be a debt write off of R20 801,77 on his account.
“The City has been in regular contact with Van Heerden to explain what is needed from him.
He said that in terms of the City’s credit control and debt collection policy, Van Heerden must adhere to the monthly agreed-to payments and keep to the agreement, as the indigent application will not be approved without an arrangement in place.
This will then also allow the City to apply the additional write off of R20 801,77 as mentioned above, said Neilson.
Commenting on the issue ACDP councillor Demetrius Dudley said: “The City is not in the same precarious financial situation that many other municipalities find themselves in, but its citizens are.
“The City will say that those in need of assistance can apply for indigent status, but even those need more assistance.”
At the beginning of September the City announced that it has a comprehensive indigent policy and also a rebate system for pensioners.
It said R3.4 billion rand in relief is available to qualifying and registered indigent customers.