Rates, water increase for Cape Town

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IOL pic jan20 patricia de lille INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille File photo: Jason Boud

Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille tabled a R34 billion draft budget for the city on Wednesday.

“In total, the proposed opex [operating expenditure] budget is approximately R28bn, and the proposed capex [capital expenditure] budget is just over R6bn,” she told a special council meeting.

The proposed budget is for the city's 2014/15 financial year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2015.

In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, a local government must submit a concept or draft budget to the public for its consideration and comment before a final budget can be presented to the council.

“It is during this phase of the budget process that all those claiming that we do not spend the majority of our budget on the poorer areas of Cape Town should make their public submissions based on proof,” De Lille told councillors.

Among the budget's provisions are proposed increases in rates, electricity, water and sanitation, and solid waste removal.

“In terms of our proposed rates and service charge increases, we have kept our increases as low as possible and as close to the Consumer Price Index of 5.9 percent as we can...,” she said.

The proposed increases include: rates, six percent; electricity, 7.6 percent; water and sanitation, eight percent; and solid waste, 5.9 percent.

In terms of the proposed capex budget, the R6bn total had been split between new and existing assets.

“R3.5bn in the case of the new assets and projects, and R2.5bn in the case of existing assets and projects... a split that is consistent with the prescriptions of the National Treasury.”

Major proposed capex included funding of the Bellville Transfer Station; Integrated Rapid Transit system acquisitions; and a new electricity depot.

Other capital spending included land acquisition, council rental stock upgrades, the second phase of the Garden Cities project, and the Macassar and Gugulethu housing projects.

“Furthermore, approximately R200 million will go to the urbanisation department within human settlements for the financing of capex projects that directly relate to the provision of infrastructure for informal settlements.”

This was an addition to the roll-out of services across directorates for informal settlements.

Among the provisions of the proposed R28bn opex budget, De Lille said just over two-thirds would be targeted towards the poor.

Poor and elderly residents would also continue to benefit from the city's package of free basic services and rebates.

De Lille provided a breakdown of proposed spending by directorate. This includes:

- City health, just under R22m in capex, R907m opex;

- City manager, just under R7m in capex, R132m opex;

- Community services, about R242m in capex, R1.5bn opex;

- Compliance and auxiliary services, R13m in capex, R592m opex;

- Corporate services, just under R360m in capex, R1.6bn opex;

- Economic, environment and spatial planning, nearly R120m in capex, R545m opex;

- Finance, around R105m in capex, R2bn opex;

- Human settlements, nearly R700m in capex, R1.8bn opex;

- Safety and security: more than R70m in capex, R1.6bn opex;

- Social development and early childhood development, R18m in capex; R137m opex;

- Tourism, events and marketing, R37m in capex, R482m opex;

- Transport for Cape Town, nearly R1.7bn in capex; R2.2bn opex; and

- Utility services, more than R2.8bn in capex, R3.5bn opex.

De Lille said the draft budget was “fully balanced and fully funded”.

She said the equitable share the city received annually from the national government, was insufficient to meet Cape Town's growing service needs.

“This problem is made especially more pronounced by the fact that while people are moving to Cape Town in search of opportunities, as confirmed by the census, national government is giving more money to smaller municipalities away from the metros.

“This model is not sustainable, and while we have been able to get away with it for several years, the time for re-evaluation for all partners is now, especially for national government.”

De Lille called for increased devolution to metropolitan municipalities allowing them to source their our own energy sources and define their own spending of taxes.

She further called for increased allocations of revenue to enable Cape Town to cope with the service delivery demands it faces.

Sapa



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