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Customers urged to utilise relief programmes

Customers are encouraged to approach their nearest Sizakala Centres or Customer Services Centre, to settle their debts or enter into a payment plan. The Municipality will not hesitate to disconnect services, if necessary.

Head of Revenue Management, Peet du Plessis, said: “This is a very positive stance by the Municipality to assist consumers that are battling with arrears and will assist in consumers managing their affordability. The City has not disconnected services because we understand the plight of consumers, but we will implement the Credit Control Policy if we deem it necessary.”

Customers may settle their debt through the City’s Debt Relief Programme or they can register for indigent support and receive free services. The Debt Relief Programme ends at the end of this financial year, June 2021 and will not be extended further.

A customer may benefit from the Covid-19 Relief Programme and enter into a payment plan agreement, not exceeding 24 months, with the Municipality. Based on affordability, a down-payment of 5 percent to 10 percent of the total debt may be required to be paid upfront. The historical unpaid interest accumulated will be written off. No future interest will be raised on this debt until it is paid in full, provided the customer complies with the conditions of the agreement.

Du Plessis said: “This option is open for all customers of eThekwini Municipality, business or residential.” Qualifying customers may apply for indigent support and be entered onto the City’s indigent register.  Customers who occupy properties valued at R500 000 and less and have a household income of R3650 or less, may benefit from this programme and receive free monthly services which include 6kl of water restricted by a flow limiter, 150 kWh of electricity, sewage and refuse disposal, property rates exemption, total write-off on historical debt and exemption of interest on any future debt.

The qualifying criteria for the indigent support registration outlines that the customers total household income must not exceed the amount determined by the Council, which is R3650 currently, their property’s maximum market value must not exceed R500 000 and they must be a registered customer of the residential property.

In addition, the applicant must convert to the prepaid metering system and must complete a prescribed application form and attach all required documentation. “We urge customers in debt to take advantage of our debt recovery programmes so that they are able to consistently pay their utility bill. This will eliminate the scenario of their debts escalating each month,” Du Plessis concluded. 

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