Indigent Relief Programme

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The City’s foundation is grounded in social regeneration guided by the principles of Batho Pele, among other values.

It is against this background that social packages form a key part of services rendered to our residents. Indigent relief programme is part of these services. Ekurhuleni is leading the way in making sure that it keeps improving on delivering much-needed services to its indigent communities.

Indigent management, therefore, plays a crucial role in supporting the financially strapped. Currently, approximately 144 000 residents benefit from the indigent package offered, which is in line with the City’s commitment to running a pro-poor administration.

The indigent register was updated during the last financial year to ensure indigent and child-headed households are registered, and further beneficiaries are expected to register this financial year.

“We further anticipate a leap in the number of indigent applications due to projected job losses and salary adjustments,” said Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Finance and Economic Development Cllr Nkosindiphile Xhakaza in reference to the effects of COVID-19.

Ekurhuleni Indigent Support Policy

The main objective of the City’s Indigent Support Policy is to assist indigent households who are unable to access or pay for basic services.

The policy defines the following:

“Indigent Household means individuals who live together in a single residential property and collectively qualifies for indigent relief in terms of the City’s Indigent Support Policy and an Indigent person means a person lacking the basic necessities of life such as insufficient water, basic sanitation, refuse removal, health care, housing, environmental health, and supply of basic energy, food and clothing”

The City is reguired by legislation to have an Indigent Policy, a tool designed to ensure that persons and households classified as indigent, have access to basic municipal services.

New improved digital system

The previous system entailed for a large extent of manual and paper-based processes, which in return prolonged applications, assessments, and approvals of indigent applicants.

The new digital solution seeks to reduce the manual capturing of information by field workers. This means a decrease in waiting time on feedback on indigent applications. In addition, automation of indigent approval processes the new system will reduce unnecessary administration, leaving more time to support indigent households. 

Mobile devices will be used on field visits that will have a direct cost saving on travelling and lesson some administrative work.

How will the new Indigent Management System benefit the City?

The City will now have information centralised and readily available for Customer Care Centres and other offices in need of the information.  This will enable the City’s indigent officers and/or Field workers to manage and ensure correct and relevant information is captured on the spot. This will go a long way to limiting errors when capturing data during visits to indigent households. 

Who qualifies as an indigent household?

  • Applicants must live in the City of Ekurhuleni.
  • Combined household income of applicants must be less than R5 090 per month.
  • Must be a South African citizen or in possession of a permanent residence certificate.
  • Applicant should be over the age of 18 years, but includes financially dependent minors of applicant.

The municipal account holder, or person in whose name the municipal services’ account is registered, must visit the nearest Customer Care Centre for assistance to apply.

What to bring along when registering as an indigent?

  • Latest municipal services account.
  • Birth certificates of all dependents.
  • Proof of any income or unemployment.
  • Pension receipts or statements.
  • Identity Document (ID) of the municipal account holder.
  • Identity Documents (IDs) of all members in the household.
  • Signed affidavit from your local police station stating your unemployment status.

Indigent application and registration process

It is important to note that application does not mean automatic registration. 

There is a strict verification process which also entails a home visit.  It is then important that applicants supply and submit correct information and documentation during the application and verification process.  

Only once the indigent co-ordinators from the City declare that the household qualifies as an indigent, will the application be approved.

Re-evaluation of Indigent Households

Once a household qualifies as an indigent it does not mean you are entitled to the subsidy for the rest of your life.  Indigent households are re-evaluated within a period of at least three years (36 months) after being declared an indigent household. 

To ensure there is no break in your indigent status, visit your nearest Customer Care Centre at least four months before your indigent status expires to reapply.

Report any change of your indigent status

All indigents are expected to notify the City immediately should their indigent status change. Failure to do so will result immediate cancellation as it is seen as misuse of the system, and there will also be some consequences.

Free basic services offered for indigent relief

The City’s Indigent households receive basic services for free, and it is important to know what is offered and how to put it to good use. In the current financial year (2020/21) the following applies:

  • 100% rebate on assessment rates.
  • Free refuse removal.
  • First 100 kWh of electricity per month is free. This is more than the provision made by national government policy and the City will bear the costs of the difference.
  • First 9kl of water, including sewer, per month is free.
  • Special rates on emergency services such as fire-fighting.
  • Free indigent burial.

Payment of services used above indigent limits

It is important that indigent households are aware that once they exceed the free services offered, they are responsible for payment thereof.  Failure to pay will result in the suspension of services.

Indigent Water Leak Programme

The City has a water leak repair programme for indigent households in an attempt to minimise water loss; 80% of the City’s water wastage is due to plumbing leaks.

Water pipes will be repaired in indigent households to help eliminate unaccounted water losses. These include:

  • Leaks within connection pipes
  • Leaking taps and toilets
  • All materials damaged or at the end of their service life
  • Leaking geysers (only for repairs not replacement)

The programme fixes all leaks for free, but this can only be done as a once-off service per household, thereafter indigents are encouraged to maintain the plumbing of their homes.

How does the leak programme work?

Step 1:   

Call 0860 543 000 to report any water leak, or report it on the My COE App.

Step 2: 

Technical investigation into the water pipes or fittings that need repair will be done at the by the City.

Step 3: 

Repairs are done depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Step 4: 

Households are required to sign documentation acknowledging their satisfaction with the quality of work done through the programme.



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