DA Delivery Daily Fact #7: DA’s Indigent Policy improves benefits to the poor
Lindiwe Mazibuko, DA National Spokesperson
8 April 2011
Since coming to power in 2006/07, the City of Cape Town has overhauled its Indigent Policy, dramatically expanding the qualifying group and improving benefits, thereby providing relief not only for the jobless but also for the category sometimes called the ‘working poor’.
The problem of poverty in Cape Town is enormous: Some 40% of City households live below the poverty line and the housing shortage is underlined by a housing waiting list nearly 400 000 strong. In 2006, the City had 105 000 shacks. 18 000 new poor households are added to the urban community every year as a result of in-migration, mostly from regions where service delivery is failing. This development issue has a massive spatial component, with the poor living not only without adequate services and housing, but also in urban locations far from economic opportunities.
Cape Town’s Indigent Policy caters for residents who are genuinely unable to afford rates and service charges. Once registered, they qualify for the following:
Under the previous City administration, the minimum threshold – used to determine whether or not someone qualified for support under the Indigent Policy – was whether or not you owned a property valued at less than R88 000. The DA-led City increased the minimum threshold dramatically, so that now anyone who owns a property valued at less than R199 000 qualifies. Obviously this benefits a far greater number of people living on the poverty line. Other policy benefits include free refuse or subsidised waste collection for all residential properties valued at R300 000 or less and a once-off arrears write off (for indigent people who are over 60 years of age, and in receipt of a disability pension/grant, or an occupant of a child-headed household).
- A 100% rebate on rates;
- an additional 4 500 litres of free water a month over and above the standard 6 000 litres; and
- 50 kilowatt hours of free electricity per month.