Siyamtanda Capa
2 minute read
19 Apr 2021
06:22

Failure to enforce indigent policy is costing Msunduzi

Siyamtanda Capa

Msunduzi is losing out on thousands of rands in revenue due to its failure to enforce its own indigent policy.

Msunduzi is losing out on thousands of rands in revenue due to its failure to enforce its own indigent policy.

The accusation was made by executive committee member (Exco) and DA councillor Glenn McArthur during a recent meeting.

McArthur proposed that the municipality embark on a campaign to register all indigent households, particularly in Pietermaritzburg townships.

“Indigent debtors were excluded from debt collection (process) but only after being approved as an indigent beneficiary. Indigent status is renewable yearly. Failing to do so will result in them having to undergo all legal processes in collection of their arrears.”
Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha

He claimed the municipality was failing to collect revenue from about 30 000 residents who qualify for indigent benefits but were not on the City’s database. “We currently have about 5 000 people registered as indigent when there should be 35 000 people registered as indigent.”

“This means we are also losing out on equitable share (from National Treasury) for the 30 000 people because the municipality is not charging people in township for services.”

Chief financial officer, Nelisiwe Ngcobo, warned that applying the policy to residents who did not qualify would lead to qualifications in the auditing period. “We were qualified when we had people who are nurses and teachers registered as indigent,” said Ngcobo, adding that the municipality was also making efforts to increase the number of residents registered as indigent.

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Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said the policy needed to be applied correctly to everyone who qualified.

Meanwhile, applications for indigent status are currently open and will close on May 23. Those who qualify will get a discount on their electricity, water, rates and other services provided by the City. To qualify residents have to earn an income of less than R4 700 per households. Pensioners and people with disabilities are also eligible to apply.

Municipal spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, encouraged residents whose accounts are in arrears to apply. Mafumbatha said: “Indigent debtors were excluded from debt collection (process) but only after being approved as an indigent beneficiary.”

She advised that people with arrear accounts reapply urgently to be indigent if they still qualified. “Indigent status is renewable yearly. Failing to do so will result in them having to undergo all legal processes in collection of their arrears,” Mafumbatha said.