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Exempt all Sassa beneficiaries from paying municipal rates and services: Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema wants social grant beneficiaries to be exempt from paying municipal rates and services.
EFF leader Julius Malema wants social grant beneficiaries to be exempt from paying municipal rates and services.
Image: EFF media team/Twitter

EFF leader Julius Malema wants all social grant beneficiaries to be exempt from paying rates and services.

About 18-million people are receiving social grants in South Africa.

Municipalities across the country have an indigent programme for poor and low-income households, giving qualified households 6kl of free water and 50kWh of free electricity monthly. Recipients need to apply to their municipality for the subsidy.

TimesLIVE reported in 2021 that more than 2.2-million indigent households were benefiting from free basic water services and 1.8-million scored free basic electricity. On top of this, 1.5-million received free sewerage and 2-million benefited from free solid waste management.

Malema, speaking at the party’s rally in Tswelelang near Wolmaransstad in the North West at the weekend after winning a ward during recent by-elections, said he would like to see more exemptions. 

“We want the municipality to make a list of pensioners and everyone getting Sassa [South African Social Security Agency] grants and incorporate that into their municipal database and automatically disqualify those people from paying rates because they are poor.”

Amid mounting calls for the R350 social relief of distress grant to be retained and stipends for unemployed graduates, National Treasury last month warned that government was spending beyond its means.

Many municipalities have also cautioned against spending increases, saying they had for years been struggling to balance their books due to low revenue collection stemming from non-payments from residents and businesses for services.

Bloomberg reported in March that debt owed to municipalities and cities leapt to more than R300bn in the final quarter of last year, compounding municipalities' struggles to meet revenue targets. Residents owed R305.8bn by December 31, compared with R261.5bn a year earlier, with households accounting for 71% of the total, data published by the National Treasury showed.



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