Landlords and tenants of flats will be able to access subsidies through the Expanded Social Package using a voucher system that will be rolled out in July.
A VOUCHER system that will enable a more effective and transparent distribution of the Expanded Social Package (ESP) Siyasizana benefits to multi-dwelling buildings – blocks of flats – is on the cards.
Jak Koseff, the City's director of social assistanceJak Koseff, the City's director of social assistanceThe voucher system, which will make it easier for tenants and landlords to access ESP benefits, is expected to roll out in July.
Jak Koseff, the City’s director of social assistance, said the voucher would simplify the distribution of ESP to tenants of buildings who were charged for services through bulk accounts.
“If the landlord chooses a simplified voucher option, the system will generate a rand value voucher per person, which will tally back to a total rand amount subtracted from the bill,” said Koseff.
Siyasizana is a basket of benefits the City allocates to residents based on their level of poverty.
Koseff explained the workings of the new voucher system: landlords would register with the City through an interface under which they would provide all relevant account numbers, door numbers and maximum occupancy per apartment.
“The landlord can choose whether the Expanded Social Package benefits for water and electricity owed to tenants should be distributed as kilolitres rebated from total service use or to use the simplified voucher approach.”
Groups such as the Property Owners and Managers Association were consulted, and they identified a strong preference for vouchers with a specific rand value that generated an easily quantifiable discount against the utility bill.
If an apartment was at or near its cap for rebates, a rand value voucher would not be issued, explained Koseff. However, people would still receive proof of ESP registration to access other benefits such as Job Pathways and the Expanded Public Works Programme.
“The landlord will at any point be able to review an online breakdown of benefits per apartment, reconciling to a total for any given month,” said Koseff.
He added that the voucher system would help the City determine the number of flats in a block.
Siyasizana, the Expanded Social Package, was introduced in June 2009. It is linked to the Integrated Social Information System which combines data from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the South African Social Security Administration, and the departments of Housing and Home Affairs.
It allows subsidies for registered individuals or indigent households, tenants, backyard dwellers and those living in inner city flats for electricity, water, rates, and sanitation and refuse removal.
Registration for the ESP is open to any resident of Johannesburg in possession of a valid South African identity book, as well as and non-national permanent residents, with a personal income of less than R3 660 per month.
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