110608. Mayor Patricia De Lille leaving her Pinelands home ahead of the Budget today. Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - An official home for the mayor is just one the many things that the City of Cape Town has cut from its spending in an austerity drive.

On Wednesday, the city said in a statement that a host of cost-cutting measures had been introduced in the 2013/14 draft budget.

These will ultimately see a reduction of R103 million in the general expenses category as spending on travel for city employees, office furnishings, catering and public relations projects is cut. The use of consultants has also been reduced.

Acting mayor Ian Neilson said while many government departments reportedly spent significant amounts of public money on unnecessary items, the city would continue to look for ways to minimise spending.

“In these challenging economic times we who have been mandated to spend public money must do everything to be as prudent as we possibly can.”

The city said a host of benefits afforded to councillors under a government notice published by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in December would not be taken up.

These included a fully-furnished residence for the mayor and council cars for the deputy mayor and Speaker.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lauded the City of Cape Town’s efforts to reduce costs.

Chamber president Fred Jacobs said:

“We hope all other municipalities will follow suit… We look forward to real and deep cuts in municipal spending that will prove that the city is serious and not simply trying to make a new round of increases seem more acceptable to the public.”

[email protected]

Cape Argus