Local Government: Indigent Support in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality


  • To qualify, total household income must not exceed the equivalent of two social assistance grants, excluding the Foster Child, Child Dependency, and Child Support Grants.
  • Conducting business on the property will disqualify an account holder from receiving free basic services.
  • The municipality may make an unannounced visit to the premises of a beneficiary in order to verify statements on the application. 
  • Applicants and beneficiaries must keep the council informed of any changes in financial status.
  • Family member who still occupy a house that the account holder has left suddenly, remain eligible for the subsidy


Your Rights

If YOU are poor and resident in the greater Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Dispatch municipal area, YOU may apply for Free Basic Services through the municipality’s Assistance to the Poor Policy.

What free basic services are provided to poorer people by the municipality?

  • Free basic electricity
  • Free basic drinkable water;
  • Free sanitation services;
  • Free refuse removal.

What are the qualifying criteria?


YOUR household income from all sources of income (e.g. wages, salaries, old age pension, private pension, etc), shall not exceed the equivalent of two state social assistance grants;


The following child grants received by a household will be excluded from determining household income, provided proof of such social grants is supplied by YOU as the applicant: 

  • Foster Care Grant (FCG)
  • Care Dependency Grant (CDG)
  • Child Support Grant (CSG)

What are the terms and conditions to access assistance to the poor?

  • The account holder must apply in person and must reside on the property in respect of which assistance is sought.
  • The applicant must be an account holder and reside on the property in respect of which   assistance is sought.
  • The applicant must not own more than one fixed property within the Metro. This includes ownership of Title Deed, Deed of Sale ownership and occupation.
  • A tenant can apply for the benefits in respect of the charges he/she are billed for and the landlord will still be liable for all ownership related charges such as rates.
  • The account of a deceased estate may be subsidized under the scheme, if the surviving spouse or dependants of the deceased, who occupy the property, apply for assistance. All other conditions of the scheme will still apply.
  • The applicant notifies Council immediately should his/her financial position change or if any of the abovementioned criteria are not being met, thus enabling Council to reconsider the status of the household as a poor household.
  • The Municipality reserves the right to visit the premises of an applicant at any reasonable time for the purpose of verifying the information on an application whenever it is deemed necessary.
  • Normal rates, fees and in the requirements to pay an account will apply, should a household account exceed the scheme benefits.
  • Council reserves the right to review and revise the scheme conditions, criteria and benefits, as it deems necessary and must review the scheme at least annually.
  • Disqualification as a result of fraud or non-disclosure of facts will make the account holder liable for the immediate payment of all benefits received and he/she may be prosecuted. Any type of business conducted on the premises of an account holder or by any other person, will also disqualify the applicant from receiving assistance.
  • Notwithstanding the above, Council reserves the right to exclude applicants from the Scheme at the discretion of the Chief Financial Officer: Budget and Treasury Directorate.

Additional conditions approved by the Mayor on 19 May 2008:-


Family members occupying premises where proof can be submitted that the relevant account holder/property owner has absconded and their whereabouts are unknown, be granted subsidy;


A lessee occupying premises, where proof can be submitted that the account holder/property owner has absconded and their whereabouts are unknown, be granted subsidy;


The unemployed family relatives, as defined by community norms, culture and traditions and where no rent is charged to the said occupants of the property by the owner who occupy the "family house", be granted subsidy;


Where the Housing and Land Directorate has confirmed that a property owner/account holder was allocated 2 (two) adjacent erven in respect of the RDP Housing scheme as a result of the size of said properties, such property owner/account holder be permitted to apply for subsidy.

What are the benefits?


Households qualifying will receive the following monthly benefits pertaining to charges appearing on a Municipal account:

  • A full credit for property rates;
  • A credit to the maximum of 8 kilolitres of water per meter reading cycle (approximately 30 days) provided the Municipality may take measures to restrict water consumption should the customer exceed this allocation. In the case of unmetered supplies the fixed charge will be deemed to be the credit;
  • A credit for the monthly charge for the sewerage service irrespective of the service type, provided in the case of waterborne sewerage removal (with metered or unmetered water supplies) the maximum credit in any month will be the minimum charge for the service (based on 11 kilolitres);
  • A full credit for the monthly charge in respect of the refuse collection and environmental fee. In the case of the environmental fee the property valuations will determine the maximum.


That all households who qualify for benefits from the Assistance to the Poor Policy, and who consume electricity by means of a prepaid meter, will be issued with a token for 75 kWh of electricity without charge at the beginning of each month;


That all households who qualify for benefits from the Assistance to the Poor Policy, and currently waiting for Council to replace their credit electricity meter with a prepaid meter, receive a monthly subsidy to the value of 75 kWh of electricity on their monthly bill until such time as a prepaid meter has been installed.



Exclusion criteria for households who automatically qualify for assistance under the revised Assistance to the Poor Scheme as a result of the property valuation criterion, but whose household income exceeds two state welfare pensions;

No household earning an income from whatever source, in excess of two State pensions shall be entitled to any subsidy in terms of this Policy, irrespective of the municipal value of the property such person occupies;

That reliable methods be devised to identify people employed in the private sector and other state departments whose income levels exceed the equivalent of two State welfare pensions.

PLEASE NOTE: Automatic qualification based on the municipal valuation of the property has been discontinued with effect from 8 May 2008, due to the market related value process which was implemented on 1 July 2008.