City of Johannesburg Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - It’s a good-news 2016/17 budget for Joburg residents. The City of Joburg has listened to the concerns of its people regarding the proposed huge increases in municipal tariffs.

On tuesday morning, the city’s member of the mayoral committee for finance, Geoffrey Makhubo, in delivering his R55 billion budget address, announced lower tariffs than those proposed last month.

The proposed increases have now dropped as follows:

Pikitup has gone down from between 17.6 and 128.5 percent to 6 percent and no cleaning levy.

Water, sewerage and sanitation is down from 13.9 to 13.2 percent depending on consumption; electricity is down from 7.61 to 6.93 percent.

Rates remain at 5.9 percent.

Makhubo said: “We heard you, the citizens. We planned, we implemented and we monitored.”

DA councillor Tim Truluck, who was instrumental in exposing the huge increases, said he was glad the city had seen the massive increases were “iniquitous”.

Other good news is that Joburg residents can expect increased spending in public transport.

Makhubo said the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System would be expanded and announced a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the improvement of productivity and a boost in economic growth.

Housing, particularly social housing, and the electrification of informal settlements received top priority along with empowerment projects such as [email protected], Vulindlel’ eJozi, Digital Ambassadors and the green and blue economies.

With the budget speech coming at a time of economic turmoil in the country, when unemployment is rising and the cost of living is going through the roof, Makhubo tried to balance the needs of the city with the plight of many of its ratepayers.

The city has also intensified its efforts to cushion the lives of its vulnerable residents by increasing social spending.

“We improved food security through our food bank, food gardens and expanding the number of small farmers. We reduced the percentage of the poor who go to bed hungry, from 42 in 2011 to 24.5 percent,” he said.

A little more than a week ago, Moody’s raised both the city’s national and global scale ratings, saying it had noted the metro’s financial prudence.

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The Star