Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille tabled the 2017/18 draft budget, which totals R44.3 billion, but she did not allow for it to be debated, says opposition parties. File picture: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Cape Town - Mayor Patricia de Lille had allegedly for the first time in 17 years of council history shut down political debate on the tabling of the municipality’s multibillion rand draft budget in a perceived show of force, which left some opposition parties fuming.

De Lille tabled the 2017/18 draft budget, which totals R44.3 billion. But she did not allow for it to be debated, “unilaterally undoing 17 years of accepted practice in council,” Grant Haskin of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said.

Haskin said councillors received a printed version of the draft budget at 10am on Wednesday, allegedly leaving the opposition with no time to prepare a thorough assessment.

The ANC had also protested, but said it was looking forward to debating the draft budget at the next council meeting in May.

ANC spokesperson Khaya Yozi said they feared the proposed budget would “again not be in favour of poor communities like Nyanga, Hanover Park and Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay”.

However, in her address De Lille said the draft budget was “rooted in creating greater parity of services for all the people of Cape Town”. The proposed budget consisted of a capital budget of R6.8bn and an operating budget of R37.5bn, which De Lille called “the first of its kind for the City of Cape Town”.

“The 2017/18 financial year brings with it the introduction of the very first budget, which has been formed on the basis of the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP).”

The City’s ODTP focused on 11 “transformational priorities”, which include accelerated service delivery, economic inclusion and the building of integrated communities. The “main-streaming of basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers” and “efficient, integrated public transport” were also on the list. Good news for residents were notable proposed decreases in rates, electricity, refusal and disposal charges. The tariff hike for water, however, shot up from just under 10% to over 19%.

“Only those using in excess of 50kl will see a more than 19% hike in July if the proposed rates are approved in May.

“The severity of the drought necessitates the acceleration of our repairs and maintenance programme, as well as staffing strategy to ensure that service delivery and responsiveness expectations are being met.” Other proposals included indigent relief of up to R1.3bn and rates rebates of R1.4bn.

“We will be presenting this draft budget at two meetings each in all four quadrants across the city. I want to appeal to all residents to give us their input,” De Lille said. 

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Cape Argus