Durban - Tariff increases were some of the key objections when the mayor of KwaDukuza, Lindile Nhaca, delivered the R2.6 billion 2022/23 municipal budget at the KwaDukuza Town Hall on Monday.
Nhaca said all parties that objected to the budget raised one common issue – the electricity tariff increase. She said those who objected did not provide an alternative, and lacked a proper understanding of how electricity tariffs worked.
Explaining the tariff hike, she said KwaDukuza District Municipality provided 75kWh of free basic electricity to indigent groups to cushion them against the rising electricity costs.
These tariffs were within acceptable National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) guidelines and considered the cost of providing the service to the community.
Nhaca said the councillors who objected to the budget did not consider these facts but a predetermined position to object without analysis of the tariff structure prevailed.
“No municipality has given their customers a zero-percent increase, which the DA in KwaDukuza … wants us to do. This proposal of a zero-percent increase is populist in nature, and it is a building block towards the financial meltdown of the council.
“It is important that as councillors, we clearly indicate where we should get money to subsidise any decrease in the proposed tariffs. After proposing, we should further consider the sustainability of such sources and the financial viability of the municipality,” Nhaca added.
She hoped to address the revenue “leakages” in the municipality by:
• Radical reduction of energy loss.
• Focus on the rate of revenue loss – caused by not billing all properties and billing properties under the incorrect categories, and refuse removal revenue loss. The ongoing under-billing and under-collection by finance of refuse/ waste management fees was a serious challenge.
Nhaca also focused on unlocking human settlements projects to deal with housing challenges; maintenance of infrastructure; improving good governance and ensuring consequence management; improving waste removal services and monitoring of contractors and service providers to get value for money.
“The accounting officer must ensure that those responsible for contracts and contract management deliver as expected. In cases where there is poor performance, a lawful process must be followed which will include terminating contracts, blacklisting poor performers and ensuring that there is consequence management for our staff,” Nhaca said.
She said the municipality would also ensure that a clear process plan on funding damaged infrastructure emerged. It had engaged with stakeholders, including ratepayers.
KwaDukuza Municipality, assisted by the Department of Human Settlements, has acquired land using both the willing-seller, willing-buyer principle and expropriation. The municipality has land parcels still under planning for human settlements located in Ward 23 (Hyde Park Project), Ward 29 (Rocky Ridge Project) and Ward 3 (Hyde Park).
“It is a fact that KwaDukuza Municipality expropriated land for the Ballito Taxi Rank from Shell South Africa.”