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The City of Cape Town has approved its R30 billion budget for the next financial year, with public transport and the roll-out of a broadband network ranking high on the priority list.
There was a specific emphasis on the Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system, which was allocated R1.2bn.
The budget for the 2012/13 financial year was passed during a full council sitting on Monday.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said the MyCiTi service would start operating in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha next year. She also announced that the project had received a R500 million cash injection from the national government. She said the backbone of the service along the south-east route would be in place by next June. The full service roll-out would be complete by December 2013.
Yet the MyCiTi service came under fire from opposition councillors. Andre Fourie of the Freedom Front Plus said each passenger journey was being subsidised to the tune of R38.
Ferlon Christians of the African Christian Democratic Party said the running costs had to be questioned.
However, Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for roads, said it had always been public knowledge that the service was subsidised. Most public transport services, except the taxi industry, were.
“The service will become financially stable over time. But it was never intended to make a profit. It would be morally reprehensible to run a public transport service that makes a profit.”
Another focus will be the broadband network. Demetri Qually, mayoral committee member, said the network would link businesses with limited access to the internet.
In Corporate Services, R76m is budgeted for the project this year.
Utility Services received over R12bn in its operating budget, close to the biggest chunk. On the capital budget, the department was allocated R2.2bn. This will see new waste-water treatment works in Bellville and the upgrading of Cape Town ’s sewerage network.
De Lille added that the Expanded Public Works Programme had a R45m allocation in the next financial year under the mayor’s special job creation fund. This weekend, in one pay run, more than R8m had been paid to 7 000 people working in this programme, which provides occasional employment.