Cape Town - Cape Town ratepayers will now have to fork out more for rates as proposed in the new R61.5 billion 2022/23 budget which was tabled on Thursday in the City Council by mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
The budget proposed a 5.2% average increase for rates, 6.5% increase for water and sanitation and 5% for refuse removal.
Furthermore, the electricity tariff will be increased by an above-inflation rate of 9.5%, which Hill-Lewis described as painful. These would take effect from July 1.
The safety and security directorate was allocated R5.4bn, with Hill-Lewis announcing 150 new officers and 80 new auxiliaries for the year with a new protection unit for front-line staff and community facilities.
The Water and Sanitation Department received the second-biggest chunk of the budget at R12.8bn, with economic growth receiving the least at R761 million. The mayor alluded to a lack of investment in maintenance, refurbishment and replacement of the sewerage infrastructure.
In its effort to end load shedding and reduce the cost of electricity, the Energy Department received the biggest chunk of the budget at R16.4bn. The mayor said Eskom’s unacceptably high increases in electricity prices were one of the two main reasons why the City was pursuing an independent power procurement programme.
A total of R1.4bn was allocated in rates rebates and R2.3bn for indigent relief, while R2.1bn was for debt write off incentives.
Stop CoCT founder Sandra Dickson said the tariff increases were higher than the expected average inflation rate for 2022/23 of between 3% and 5%.
“The recommendation from Treasury to municipalities was to keep increases to the bottom end of the Reserve Bank’s target inflation rate of 3-6%. The City of Cape Town also failed to adjust the cut-off levels for households to qualify for relief.
“Relief for pensioners, indigent and the disabled remained static despite the City’s steep tariff increases if compared to inflation,” she said.
EFF leader in the council Mzubanzi Dambuza said the budget was nothing but a “Mickey Mouse” budget and spit in the face of the poor whom he said continued to be put on the periphery of the economy.
“What we are seeing in this budget is nothing but a misdirection of funds, where the poor black people residing in concentration camps are still at the receiving end.
“We have seen the plight of homelessness due to the dire state of Covid-19 where people build shacks in unfavourable environments, however, the mayor of the City of Cape Town dares to allocate only R2.4 billion to Human Settlements while almost double the amount of money has been allocated to Urban Waste,” he said.