Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says the R418 million saving from austerity measures will be redirected to enhancing critical service delivery areas such as fixing potholes and upgrading informal settlements. Photo by Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

PORT ELIZABETH - The City of Johannesburg saved more than R400 million in unaudited savings through austerity measures, executive mayor Herman Mashaba said on Friday.

The city has consistently over the past three financial years made huge savings in non-essential areas such as self-promoting advertising, international travel, marketing and fees for consultants and professional services, according to figures released by the city. The biggest savings have been on advertising.

The mayor said the savings will be redirected to enhancing critical service delivery areas such as fixing potholes, maintenance of traffic lights and upgrading informal settlements.

"The savings achieved during the 2017/18 financial year will be redirected into bringing Diphetogo [real change] to our communities by enhancing critical service delivery areas," Mashaba said in the statement. 

On Wednesday Moody's rating services changed the outlook for the City of Johannesburg to negative from stable.

"Liquidity pressures have increased for the city of Johannesburg and we expect this to be the case until at least 2019 as it increases capital expenditure,"  Moody's analyst Daniel Mazibuko said. 

However, the city benefited from a large tax base and that its unqualified audited opinion for the fifth year running showed that financial management in the city had improved, the agency said.

Mashaba said that the savings through austerity showed his administration's improved performance on financial management was a shift from the chaos of the previous administration.

- African News Agency (ANA)