METRO 'CHEATED'

FOR the past three years hundreds of Ekurhuleni residents received discounts on their municipality bills - fraudulently.

FOR the past three years hundreds of Ekurhuleni residents received discounts on their municipality bills - fraudulently.

The metro says it was ripped off by residents who claimed to be indigents.

About 46000 people were on the indigent register between the 2007 and 2009 financial years, but after a verification process for the 2009-10 financial year it dropped to about 22000 people.

Municipal spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said: "The massive drop was due to the fact that many did not qualify in the first place. Some indigents were cancelled because applicants were businesses, some were duplicates and others did not have accounts ."

Dlamini said it was difficult to say how much money was lost because they were busy verifying the figures.

Since October fewer than 4500 people have applied but have to be verified.

"Households who earn less than the equivalent of two pension grants a month, currently R2020, qualify," Dlamini

"But they must be consumers of municipal services and receive a municipal statement every month. And the applicant must be the registered owner of a property.

"The unemployed should bring a municipal statement, copy of an ID and birth certificate and an affidavit stating their employment status.

"Pensioners must have proof of their pension and a monthly bank statement if they receive their payout through a bank."

Dlamini said the municipality was encouraged by the 2008 figures, which showed that unemployment had dropped from 38 to 34percent.

The poverty levels in the metro had also dropped from 28 percent to 24 percent, Dlamini said.

X