Patricia de Lille
Mayor Patricia de Lille says the city council’s budget of R47.7 billion is pro-poor as much of it will be ploughed into upgrading informal settlements, improving basic services and congestion relief projects.

De Lille announced in her budget speech yesterday that more than R4bn will go towards improving basic services at informal settlements, R95 million for electrification, R53m for street lighting, R21m for cemetery developments, R10m for the Manenberg Integrated Project and R240m for congestion relief projects.

A total of 139 councillors voted in favour of the budget, while 66 voted against it.

A further R155m will go for land acquisition.

De Lille said more than R8bn has been set aside for the capital budget.

After considering objections to the proposed electricity, water and rates tariffs increases, De Lille said it was decided they would be reduced.

The electricity tariff increase remains at 8.1%.

The sanitation tariff has been reduced from 26.9% to 19.9%. The refuse collection tariff increase remains unchanged at 5.7%.

Other key changes in the budget include an additional allocation of R45m for the appointment of traffic and law enforcement staff.

De Lille said properties valued at R100 000 and below will qualify for 100% rates and refuse removal rebates.

This will also apply to households with a gross monthly income of R4000 or below.

Properties valued above R100 000 and below R150 000, will get a 100% rates rebate, and 75% off refuse removal charges.

Properties valued between R150 000 and R400 000 will receive 10 500 litres of free water and 7 350 litres of free sanitation; and between 50% and 25% off their refuse removal charges.

There is also relief regarding electricity charges.

Where consumption is on average 250 units a month, residents will receive 60 units free. Where consumption is between 250 and 450 units, households will receive 25 units free each month.

Senior citizens and disabled persons will qualify for a rates rebate where the household income is below R15000.

“Many of our residents, especially pensioners, commented during the public participation phase about how they are struggling to make ends meet. 

"Our social package helps these vulnerable residents with rebates and free basic services such as electricity, refuse removal, water and sanitation to residents who qualify,” said De Lille.

The official ANC opposition in the city council said it was not happy with the budget.

ANC chief whip in the city council Xolani Sotashe said: “We should be asking ourselves where is the R47bn budget going to, a chunk of it is not pro-poor.”

Sotashe said the process followed to pass the budget “is flawed”. ACDP leader in the city council Grant Haskin said even though the budget was pro-poor in some aspects, as it allowed for rebates for people who cannot afford them, or earn less, rates for the majority of Capetonians were not affordable.

Haskin said it was a positive step that this year more than 50000 people commented in the public participation process compared to about 2000 the previous year.

“That the city (council) wants to spend R14bn on water plants that we know nothing about is a problem,” he said.