City’s Expanded Social Package needs you, MMC tells residents

Dr Mpho Phalatse

THE City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Dr Mpho Phalatse, visited Region B to encourage indigent residents to register with its improved Expanded Social Package (ESP).

Also known as Siyasizana, the redesigned programme was launched at the Jabulani Civic Centre in Soweto, in Region D, on June 11, to provide improved and much-needed relief to the city’s indigent and vulnerable households.

The move speaks to the City’s pro-poor agenda being championed by Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba. During the roadshow, MMC Phalatse told residents that ESP was aimed at vulnerable people such as the unemployed, youth, people with disabilities, displaced people, senior citizens, women and children.

“If you consider the fact that we have a population of around five million in the city and currently have just over 300 000 people on the register, it doesn’t add up. We’re now reaching out to communities to educate them about the programme. We’re creating awareness and going into communities, loud-hailing and distributing the pamphlets, telling people how they can access ESP and how it will benefit them. The idea is to cover the entire City and give everyone an opportunity to register.

“In the past, registrations were only done through Revenue Customer Service centres. We’ve now realised it was not adequate because the centres often faced challenges to administer the registrations,” said Clr Phalatse.

Phalatse also said residents would also be able to access it at clinics, in the near future. People with different levels of need would qualify for different levels of subsidy in line with the City’s measure of poverty.

Benefits range from free basic water, free basic electricity, rebates on property rates and taxes, and rebates on waste removal.

“Now we’re cleaning up the database because in the past people did not have to produce any proof to qualify for the programme. When we capture you on our system it will automatically place you in one of our three bands,” Clr Phalatse said.

Band 1 is aimed at those on the borderline of poverty, Band 2 is for those who earn formal income but whose earnings fall below the survival level and Band 3 is for people living in the most-deprived conditions.

To qualify for the ESP, residents must be South African citizens, reside within the boundaries of Johannesburg and have a monthly income not exceeding R5 308.20.

“After six months from the time you register, you need to come back and re-register because over time people’s circumstances change. A person could be unemployed now, and get a job three months down the line, but someone else who may be employed now could lose his or her job after three months. So we want to ensure that people on the register are people who are supposed to benefit from ESP,” explained Clr Phalatse.

For free daily local news in the south, visit our sister newspapers Alberton RecordComaro ChronicleSouthern Courier and Get it Joburg South Magazine.

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  AUTHOR
Lucky Thusi
News Editor

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