Give pensioners peace in their twilight years

By Zoubair Ayoob Time of article published Sep 25, 2021

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MANY people unable to battle with officialdom come to us, the media, to take up the cudgels on their behalf.

They may not have the resources, they may feel intimidated, they may hit a brick wall.

Whatever the reason, the media has often achieved results, where Jane and Joe Soap have failed.

Afraid of bad publicity, private and public institutions are quick to act when the media get involved.

Not in the case of eThekwini Municipality, though, which appears to be victimising a resident for coming to us with a problem, and lying about its resolution.

Gary Burke and his mother Paddy Chelin are not alone in their plight – many other pensioners have been thrust into the same rates debacle, having to suddenly come up with hundreds of thousands of rand, or have their services disconnected.

While Burke appeared to be trying to reaching an agreement with the municipality, within hours of us getting involved, it was rejected and a more onerous proposal put to him. Further, while the municipality says the agreement is “amicable”, but Burke says this is hardly the case.

Come on eThekwini. Why not go after the government departments – which, together, owe you nearly R1 billion – instead of the comparatively minuscule R177 000 owed by struggling pensioners?

Recoup some of the millions in debt, being ignored with impunity by the provincial and national governments, and you will be able to give pensioners some peace in their twilight years.

The Independent on Saturday

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