The City of Bulawayo has encouraged senior residents who are 70 years and above to apply for the rate rebate scheme, as most pensioners struggle to pay their bills risking losing their properties.
The rebate applies to the rates component only and not the overall council bill.
This resolution was passed by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in 2019 that senior citizens aged 70 years and above would be eligible for a 50 percent rate rebate.
Bulawayo Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, released a statement informing the elderly to take up this scheme and urged other residents to pass the information to deserving candidates.
“The City of Bulawayo on May 6, 2009, resolved to introduce a Rate Rebate Scheme that seeks to provide rates’ relief to vulnerable elderly residents in the city,” he said.
Dube said the terms of eligibility were that prospective beneficiaries should apply at the City of Bulawayo Revenue Offices by completing an application form.
“Applicant’s details are then forwarded to Housing and Community Services Department for assessment by Social Workers,” he said, of which the successful applicants are then recommended for a 50 percent rates rebate.
Dube added that applicants are visited at home by Social Workers for assessment purposes.
“Applicants must be 70 years and above, own and be residing in the property registered under their name. Only those who are found to be vulnerable are recommended for assistance,” Dube said, noting that “the 50 percent rebate is on the rates component only, not the overall bill total.”
Meanwhile, during virtual budget consultation meetings, Bulawayo residents urged the local authority to revise the senior age limit from 70 years to at least 60 years, saying most people in the city were facing economic hardships.
Residents said although people were classified as the elderly at 65 years when one reached 60, they should be suitable to receive a tax cut in light of the increasing rates.
According to Section 82 of the Zimbabwe Constitution, the elderly is defined as people who are over the age of 70 years while internationally, the age is set at over 60.