Johannesburg - The City of Joburg spends more money running the mayor’s office than its emergency services.

The city’s budget for 2014/15 – the financial year which started this week – provided R719 million to run the Joburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS). In comparison, the city will spend R1.2 billion running the mayor’s office.

The eight municipal votes with the biggest operating budgets are, from the biggest: City Power, Johannesburg Water, group finance, Joburg Metro Police Department, Pikitup, municipal entities’ accounts, the mayor’s office and the transport department. Each of those votes spends more than R1bn.

EMS is 13th on the list in terms of size of the operating budget.

The capital budget for each vote was added to those operating budgets.

Last year’s EMS capital budget was originally R70m, later boosted to R145m, while this year’s is R103m. The mayor’s office capital budget this year is R113m.

Joburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said the mayor’s office included a range of work.

“The budget for the mayor’s office takes into account group audit, risk and compliance, group strategy, policy, monitoring and evaluation, citizen relations and urban management, group legal and contracts, group marketing and communications, group governance and mayoral committee support, and the office of the executive mayor,” Modingoane explained.

“The bulk of the allocation to the office of the mayor relates to the citizen relations and urban management for the implementation of citywide ward-based interventions. And improved citizen relations to ensure prompt response to service-delivery requirements as they arise.”

The mayor’s office capital spending budget includes R50m a year for the next three years for ward-based planning interventions.

How EMS will spend its money

Emergency services’ capital budget for 2014/15. The list of projects includes:

* R30m over three years to replace ambulance equipment;

* R20m for the renewal of central fire station in Marshalltown;

* R11.2m to fix the Protea Glen fire station;

* R11.2m for upgrading communication systems;

* R7m for the Martindale depot wash bay;

* R6m for fire and rescue medical equipment tracking system;

* R5.2m for CCTV cameras;

* R5m for rescue equipment, including the jaws of life, rebreathers for the Gautrain and air lifting equipment;

* R5m for generators;

* R5m for software; and

* R1.4m for protective gear for 150 firefighters.

Spending for next year includes R20m for the Alexandra fire station.

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The Star