In an attempt to ensure that the community of Umzimvubu has access to basic services in a sustainable manner, ULM’s Budget and Treasury Department through its Revenue Section is charged with ensuring that the Free Basic Services Programme runs smoothly in the Municipality. Indigent Support, also known as Free Basic Services offers basic support to households that have been verified to have a total gross income of all occupants over 18 years of age not exceeding (Combined Gross) equivalent to or less than two times the Government Pension Grant. Acting Mayor Councillor Vuyiswa Bulana, accompanied by the Portfolio Head for Budget and Treasury Department Councillor Zukiswa Ndevu handed out boxes of 4x5litre Green Gels for stoves and another 100 boxes of 12 units in each box of Lamp Oil to 100 beneficiaries of Sigidini Village in Ward 04.

Present at this event were officials from the Municipality including the Deputy Chief Finance Officer Mrs. Nontobeko Siwahla-Mgedezi, Assistant Managers Revenue and Budget, Ms. Nonthathu Mnini and Mr. Sicelo Kweleta respectively; who gave up the comfort of their work spaces to spend time at the Ward assisting the needy. A partnership has been established with a Flammable Green Gel company that offers Green Renewable Energy Solutions to communities. Themba Ntuli, a representative from this company spoke to the assembly of beneficiaries and the rest of the community members emphasizing that the Government of today has pulled strides and made efforts through programmes such as the indigent support which during the oppression years was not an option.

The partnership was established three years back and bulk products of this nature have been distributed in other identified Wards of ULM. The products are an interim measure and not a permanent solution for energy needs in communities.

Acting Mayor Bulana expressed gratitude to the community members for patience and that the electrification programme has since been rolled out in the area. Cooperatives have been trained by the Green Gel Solutions Company. Mkhahlulwa and Mpumalanga Cooperatives of Wards 14 and 24 received 300 boxes which they will retail to community members at an affordable price. Beneficiary, Mamthi of Makolonini Village highlighted the joint efforts that led them to the sustained success of these cooperatives which they established in 2006 as an Agricultural focused project and has since been transformed into the Green Products offering. Lives have been changed for the better since the introduction of the Gel products. Mavis Ndima of Ward 04 says that she used to depend on wood for cooking and has since had an improved lifestyle because of this gel.