Councillors reject budget

Councillors for Sub-council 23 met for their monthly meeting at their chambers in Lentegeur.

Sub-council 23 councillors have vowed to reject the City of Cape Town’s 2018/19 draft budget of R49.1 billion.

The proposed budget was presented by Mayor Patricia de Lille last month, and is open for comment until Friday May 4.

However, Sub-council 23 councillors have already made it clear that they are opposed to the budget.

Ward 43 councillor and sub-council 23 chairman, Elton Jansen, urged the community to put pen to paper and comment “effectively to influence this proposed budget.”

Mr Jansen said several problems regarding the draft budget were raised during the City’s public participation meeting at the Lentegeur Sub-council chambers, on Wednesday April 18. The sub-council consists of four wards from Philippi to Mitchell’s Plain and parts of Khayelitsha. The area includes the suburbs of Colorado Park, Lentegeur, Woodlands, Westgate, Ikwezi Park and Philippi Park.

The sub-council also includes major routes such as Jakes Gerwel Drive, Morgenster Road and AZ Berman Drive.

Mr Jansen said councillors and residents at the meeting agreed that the budget should be rejected and should be re-evaluated.

“We cannot do what we want to do in our communities without money,” he said. Mr Jansen said there should be enough money to sustain the municipality. “We cannot do this at the expense of our residents and middle class people,” he said.

Mr Jansen said proposed municipal tariff increases, came shortly after the implementation of Level 6B water restrictions on Thursday February 1 and did not allow enough time for residents to adjust.

“We need money in the crisis we are in. We need money to maintain our pipes and bring new water for our community, but we cannot do this at the expense of the people,” he said.

Eddie Andrews, councillor for Ward 78 in Wolfgat, Sub-council 12, and Mayoral committee member for area South, called the proposed increases “a necessary evil”.

“The draft budget proposed attempts to respond to the needs of those most vulnerable while simultaneously ensuring allocations towards much needed infrastructural investment. In this regard the proposed social package has approximately
R2 billion rands worth of rates rebate relief.

“The increase in water tariffs is a necessary evil to ensure the municipality has the necessary infrastructure to ensure Cape Town’s water resilience.”

Danny Christians, councillor for Ward 81 and member of the City’s finance portfolio committee, said now is the time for residents to speak up: “Comment and interrogate the budget.”

Mr Christians said the draft budget was “rather slim”, with re-
gards to Mitchell’s Plain.

President of Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janine Myburgh, has also criticised the draft budget.

“The City is running into trouble and rates and tariffs are now so high that many people, especially the retired, will have to down-size or move to other centres,” she said.

She continued: “The key problem is the high cost of governance. The City employs 27 249 permanent and temporary staff and has another 2 486 vacancies. The City has budgeted for another three years of above-inflation pay increases plus notch increases.

“The staff keeps growing but the workload is shrinking as computers take over the administrative work.

“Even electricity accounts are disappearing as the pre-payment system takes over. Unless the City does something to control staff numbers it will find itself in the same position as the hugely overstaffed Eskom and South African Airways.”

However, Mayor Patricia de Lille, in statement has said that all City departments had a say in drafting he budget.

“The process before the City’s draft budget is tabled is also stringent and set out in law.

“Too often people have incorrectly labelled it as ‘De Lille’s budget’ or ‘the Mayor’s budget’. This is not true. As the executive mayor I am not responsible for drawing up the City’s budget or setting the tariffs alone.

“These are set and proposed by the various departments such as water, electricity or sanitation department based on their needs for the new financial year. The finance department also proposes a budget for indigent relief to provide rebates to vulnerable residents in need of financial assistance.

“The proposed tariffs and the proposed social package of indigent relief lso follows a stringent process as outlined in the MFMA.

“Before the draft budget is tabled in council, it is presented to all sub-councils and caucuses who approve it to be tabled in council. All mayoral committee members are also part of this process.

“When I presented the draft budget on March 28, I emphasised that we were now embarking on a crucial step where communities had to give their input because this is not the final budget. “

Public comment on the draft budget must be submitted by 4.30pm on Friday May 4. You can do so by filling out the online form at http://www.capetown.gov.za/City-Connect/Have-your-say/Issues-open-for-public-comment/comment-on-the-draft-budget-for-2018-2019 or deliver your comments to the city manager, 5th Floor Podium, Civic Centre, 12 Hertzog Boulevard, in the city centre or post it to: The City Manager, 2018-2019 IDP/ Budget, Private Bag X9181, 8001, fax it to 021 400 1332 or email budget.process2018@capeTown.gov.sa