Taking part in the City’s budget decisions helps residents to hold councillors to account on how money is spent.
This is what the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents Association (MURA) and Development Action Group (DAG) said at a presentation on the municipal budget allocation on Saturday March 25 at the Mitchell’s Plain SAPS offices.
The session was to help residents understand how the City’s budget is allocated and how to take part in the public participation which opens today, Wednesday March 29.
“It’s important to participate in this, it does have an influence on people. If you’re a ratepayer, it will affect you,” said Ryan Fester, project coordinator at DAG.
This is also how people can know how the money is spent and when projects are not completed; “we can hold them to account”, he said.
“Communities need to understand how they can read the budget and what’s been planned,” he said.
MURA chairperson, Norman Jantjes, said they also discussed the different sections of the budget and how it was used.
“MURA exists to educate the community, help people understand their rights and help them make informed decisions. We must influence the things that are done in the community. We’re ratepayers but we can only have a say if we make informed decisions,” he said. “By the time the people come to a meeting, then it’s too late to influence the budget but if we know the procedures and at what stage things are, we can make informed decisions.
“The role of the ward committee member is also very important and influences decisions that influence their wards. Such as, does it really match our needs? They represent the community, they come from different sectors but we must work together to stay in the know.”
Michael Jacobs, MURA deputy chairperson, said: “Once a ward gets money allocated to it, it is still up to the councillor what they will distribute. If we don’t stand together Mitchell’s Plain won’t prosper.”
Debra Bailey, MURA sector head, said the people must be served.
“Ward committee members must influence these allocations, speak to their councillors and make it happen. The budget is difficult to influence but become more active and vocal about this,” she said.
Mr Jacobs said: “So many millions are coming into this space. We need to engage with our communities, connect and come together.”