Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has moved from its disastrous financial situation into a clean bill of health in a space of two years, executive mayor Solly Msimanga announced on Thursday.
Delivering his second annual State of the Capital Address at Tshwane House, he said his DA-led administration inherited a cash-strapped municipality with a R2billion deficit, but its fortunes had since improved.
Msimanga took stock of successes achieved by his administration since it came to power in 2016. Service delivery programmes implemented under his watch were “made possible by simply having money in the bank”, he said.
“Our finances are in good standing. Since taking over the running of the City, cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year improved from R1.1bn in the 2015/16 financial year to R2.1bn in the 2016/17 financial year.”
He said unauthorised expenditure had been reduced from R1.6bn in the financial year 2015/16 to R634 million in 2016/17.
“The stabilisation of the capital's finances is the critical foundation on which to continue making progress in the delivery of services to our people.
"This will, in turn, be to the benefit of attracting investment in our beautiful city,” he said.
Msimanga outlined plans to implement big projects for the 2018/19 financial year, including managing the reduction of water losses, for which R70m had been set aside.
At least R500m will be pumped into electricity distribution upgrades on feeders, cables, lines and mini-substations.
“Upgrade of the waste water treatment works will cost R99m in 2018/19; R190m in the next year and R227m in the third year.
"These are just some of the investments we are happy to make to ensure that our VIPs - the residents of this city - receive the quality services they are entitled to,” Msimanga said.
Despite the City’s achievements, he said his administration continued to bleed from the ill-fated prepaid electricity smart meter contract. It was unlawfully awarded to Peu Capital Partners by the former ANC-led administration.
“Peu was initially appointed on a tender to give advice to the City on how to save money. But the deal soon transmogrified into something completely different, by-passing competitive bidding processes.
"From the outset the DA pointed out that the tender and the deal were irregular.”
He said initially the City paid Peu 19.5c for every R1 of electricity, which ran through its 12 900 meters.
The contract was nullified by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, last year in a matter lodged by AfriBusiness. It sought to interdict the City from paying Peu a R950m contract termination fee.
The AfriBusiness application also sought a review of the original contract between the two parties and its subsequent cancellation.
The then-ANC municipality terminated the contract with cancellation terms stipulating that Peu would reduce its management fee from 19.5c to 9.5c for every R1 vended, citing that it deemed the contract not financially viable.
However, ANC spokesperson in council Lesego Makhubela afterwards accused Msimanga of telling lies when he said the City's financial situation was sound.
“It was a speech riddled with lies. The mayor reports that our finances are in good standing, but at every council sitting the mayor needs approval to go and borrow money. When your finances are in good standing you don’t borrow money from the banks,” he said.
Makhubela said the DA-led administration had failed to spend money for service delivery, but chose to keep funds in its coffers.
“We need to engage the provincial and national governments on the grants given to the City which are not spent,” he said.
He said Msimanga’s speech was full of promises, but no proof of service delivery despite the fact that he presided “over a more than R120bn budget”.
EFF leader in council Benjamin Disoloane said Msimanga’s speech comprised of promises made by the EFF in its 2016 local government manifesto. “There are so many issues that we pushed to be implemented. These include the delivery of electricity and water, especially in informal places Whatever the mayor is speaking, he is speaking the manifesto of the EFF,” he said.
Msimanga also spoke against illegal land grabs and urged people to desist from those activities.
Disoloane said: “As the EFF, we are supporting people that whenever they see land that can be utilised then it must be utilised.
"We are saying to the mayor he must come up with alternatives to make sure our people have residential places.”
4417 title deeds issued as of February.
More than 120000 job seekers registered on the City’s database.
Chartered Accountants Training Programme for 10 trainees from previously disadvantaged communities per year.
Free transport for unemployed youths in the pipeline.
More than 2000 people enrolled on the Community-Oriented Substance Use Programme
Access to clinics increased, with services available from Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm now extended from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays at 14 of 24 health facilities.
A total of 27 sinkholes were recorded for the 2017/18 financial year and R100million will be needed to fix all of them.
Eldoraigne 132/11 kV sub-station and the Mamelodi 3 132/11 kV sub-station have been completed.
40 buses are running on compressed natural gas.
At least 1498 instances of cable theft and vandalism experienced since last November.
R5.1million made out of the sale of the mayoral mansion in Muckleneuk to be used to build 40 RDP houses for poor families in Atteridgeville Extension 19.
Cash improved from R1.1bn in the 2015/16 financial year to R2.1bn in 2016/17.
Unauthorised expenditure reduced from R1.6bn in the financial year 2015/16 to R634m in 2016/17.