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A Woodlands pensioner wants eThekwini municipality to explain why he has been denied a rates rebate despite numerous applications.

Peter Smit, 69, said utility bills were set to increase from July, and he was struggling to keep his lights on because he had no other form of income other than his pension.

According to the municipality property owners over 60 are eligible for a rates rebate under certain conditions. 

The property must not be worth more than R2 million, the owner of the property must reside permanently at the property, it must be owned by a South African, and the rebate can be granted for only one property per resident.

However, Smit said despite meeting all the requirements he could still not get a rebate.

In a comprehensive email paper-trail dated January 2018 that Smit shared with City Watch, municipal officials acknowledged that his application had been received and said that the rebate would appear on his next statement.

However, since then he has still been billed for full rates on his R1.2m property.

The rebate policy states that a pensioner will receive a full rebate on the first R460 000 of their property value, and if a property is valued less than that they will receive a full rebate.

Smit said he pleaded with the municipality, saying he was finding it difficult to pay all his municipal bills.

“There has been no further correspondence in this matter. I am at my wits’ end in trying to obtain a rates rebate on my property, which I am legally entitled to. This is the first time that I have not received my rates rebate. I am a pensioner and find it very hard to cope with all the increases. Please, can you look into the matter and assist me in obtaining the rates rebate. If you are unable to assist me please can you direct me to the next avenue that I can follow,” Smit stated in one of the emails.

Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the matter would be investigated and Smit would be contacted to discuss the issue.

“The municipality is currently in a rates rebate renewal state and all those who qualify are required to ensure they submit a renewal form by April 31,” Mayisela said.

“Customers who qualify for a rebate after this date may apply for a rebate by filling in a new application (form) that can be found on the municipality’s website.”

Sunday Tribune