The City of Johannesburg is reminding its most vulnerable residents, including the unemployed, displaced persons, senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women and children, to apply for the Expanded Social Package (ESP).
The ESP is a basket of benefits that the City allocates to poor individuals and the households in which they live, based on their level of poverty. Currently, these are subsidies for benefits like water, electricity, rates, sanitation and refuse removal, Northcliff Melville Times reports.
The system also refers people for skills development, social service interventions, food resilience, youth programmes and intervention programmes for the homeless.
Who can benefit?
City spokesperson Virgil James said rebates also targeted pensioners older than 60 who own property valued under R2.5 million.
“They qualify for rates, sewer and refuse removal rebates,” he said.
He also said working-age citizens between 18 and 59 years old would also qualify for these rebates if they were registered account holders and their property value was not more than R500 000.
Registration for the ESP is already open at any one of the City’s revenue centres, including some clinics, recreation and skills centres, where no revenue office exists.
“Individuals are encouraged to register on or before the 15th of the month in order to receive benefits in the next month. It is critical that individuals re-register every six months for continuous benefits. [Remember] only one property can be registered to benefit,” James added.
He cautioned that once the metered service rebate was exhausted, beneficiaries would be liable for additional consumption.
The system also targets South African citizens living within the boundaries of Johannesburg with an income not exceeding R5 578.91 a month.
One must produce the required documents electronically for relevant calculations to be made and rebates adjusted accordingly.
Applicants need their ID, Joburg rates and taxes account, City Power prepaid account number, Johannesburg Water account and prepaid account number, Eskom account or prepaid account number and proof of income, including that from Sassa, and three months’ bank statements.
James said sworn affidavits must be produced in place of unavailable documents, and warned that any false declaration will result in prosecution.
Fingerprints and an identity-sized photo will then also be taken as a secure form of identification and will be a citizen’s ongoing way of identifying themselves to the system, James said.
Registered residents can expect to receive 6kl free basic water plus an additional rebate on the service, dependent on water consumption and band subsidy.
Free basic electricity is capped at 150kwh.
If the registering person is also the owner of the property, they will receive a 100 percent rebate on rates, sanitation and refuse removal also dependent on the band subsidy.
Different levels of benefits:
Residents will qualify for one of three different levels of benefits, depending on how high they score on the City’s poverty index.
These three different levels are known as Band 1, Band 2, and Band 3. The ESP system will work out a poverty score and the qualifying band.
- Band 1 is the lowest level of subsidy, aimed at helping those on the borderline of poverty
- Band 2 is the middle level of subsidy, aimed at those who earn some formal income but whose earnings fall below the survival level defined by the poverty index
- Band 3 is the highest level of subsidy, aimed at those with no formal income living in the most deprived circumstances.
The number of subsidies a household gets will be based on the number of people that have declared the household’s account as their address when they register, James said.
The subsidies are added together and the total is taken off the household’s bill, up to a capped amount.
James explained that the maximum amount of subsidy is higher for households whose members have very high scores on the City’s poverty index.
Details: For information on the registration centres, log on to www.joburg.org.za and click on the ‘campaigns’ tab.