Durban - The uMngeni Municipality said it was discussing an investment and attraction policy that will offer a wide range of discounts and incentives for businesses wanting to invest or expand their operations in uMngeni.
This policy aims to ensure that uMngeni becomes the premier small-town investment destination in KwaZulu-Natal, said uMngeni mayor Chris Pappas when he delivered his R537 million Budget speech and Integrated Development Plan for 2022/23, this week.
The uMngeni administration committed to five key basics: transparent, accountable, and fair government; focusing on infrastructure maintenance and investment; building safer communities; waste and the environment and jobs and a growing economy.
Pappas said that the financial situation of the municipality has improved.
Some of the highlights included: R16m collected from outstanding debtors; R5m better month to month performance on revenue; no Eskom debt; cash on hand has increased from R6m to R9m (0 months to 1.5 months); they have grown the indigent register from 133 people to 1 155 people; grant funding has improved significantly and most projects were almost complete.
Pappas said that the municipality will be fully capacitating the Audit Committee, as well as establishing a Municipal Financial Disciplinary Board.
These structures aimed to tackle past and future maladministration, corruption, and fraud.
“It has become custom that when the equitable share is paid to the municipality, the money quickly disappears and is committed to paying creditors.
“This is a result of poorly performing own revenue generation and collection. However, I am pleased to say that R30 million was paid to the uMngeni Municipality at the end of April and at the end of May those funds have not been touched,” he said.
Pappas said that there was still a window for those who have abused the finances of the municipality to quietly slip out before the investigations move to a different intensity.
Of the R537m budget, R31m has been allocated to maintenance, R41m is set aside for capital investments; 25% of the budget will be spent on staff-related costs and bulk purchases which sit at 30% of the Budget or R160.3 million. This is largely for Eskom.
Some of the highlights of this Budget: R220 000 to assist poor households with burials; R334 000 towards social programmes such as HIV/Aids, senior citizens, and people with disabilities; R277 000 towards the SPCA for animal care; R350 000 towards Working on Fire and R1.45m has been allocated to Youth Development.
To address the deteriorating condition of the road network, a total budget of R23.8m has been allocated to roads and R31m will be spent on maintaining and upgrading electricity infrastructure.
“We are aware of the electricity crisis that faces the residents of Hilton and have allocated R150 000 towards legal and consultant fees to assist with the takeover of Hilton electricity.
“This is not a short-term solution but involves a much longer-term plan. However, we are committing to moving things forward,” Pappas said.
He said that through Budget policies, the municipality had also provided much-needed relief to ratepayers who have seen an increase in their property prices. They have decreased the rate range by 25% from 1.7 to 1.2.