Msunduzi leaving indigents out in the cold

Issued by Mergan Chetty MP – DA KZN Deputy Leader
21 May 2020 in Press Statements

The ANC-led Msunduzi Municipality is oblivious to the plight of destitute residents and their added burden due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the municipality, on behalf of the current existing indigent beneficiaries, requesting that their applications for the 2020/2021 period be renewed automatically due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the restrictions regarding the movement of people and the gathering of large numbers.

It is unbelievable that this Council will rather look for excuses not to assist the under-privileged during these trying times.

These applicants are mostly elderly and vulnerable residents who are high risk to the Coronavirus. It must be noted that the circumstances due to Covid-19 have placed an extra burden on these beneficiaries as their income was also subsidized in some cases by other family members who now, due to the lockdown, have found themselves also in financial difficulties.

The response from the council is to cite the relevant financial management legislation and the query by the Auditor General as reasons not to automatically renew the current Indigent beneficiaries for the upcoming 2020/2021 financial year. Ironically both eThekwini Metro as well as the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, have both announced their decision to automatically renew their current indigent beneficiaries.

The municipality’s shortsightedness further vindicates the DA’s call for the council to have been dissolved, as Msunduzi together with other municipalities are experiencing a current shortfall in revenue collections and the automatic renewal is beneficial to the council for its equitable share that it receives from National Treasury. The DA further requested an extension for these applicants due to the impact of the restrictions during the lockdown and even this request fell on unsympathetic ears.

Mayor Mzi Thebolla needs to stop his grandstanding in the media and practice what he preaches. His recent media stint, “ #AskTheMayor ”, is yet another talk shop. Actions speak louder than words, Mr Mayor. The DA will be writing to both the KZN MEC and the Minister for CoGTA, requesting them to issue a provincial-wide directive for all municipalities to implement an automatic renewal for the 2019/2020 indigent beneficiaries for the upcoming 2020/2021 financial year