Tshwane’s R50,6 billion budget passed amid serious criticism

The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Celliers Brink.Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Celliers Brink.Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 10, 2024


The City of Tshwane’s R50,6 billion budget was passed on Thursday with 112 votes of councillors amid at least three objections and serious criticism against the multiparty coalition government.

This took place during a council meeting at Tshwane House council chamber in the absence of both the EFF and ANC councillors, who walked out of council because of water shortage in the building.

Councillors cited their stay in council would be out of keeping with occupational health safety regulation, which dictated that there should be running water at workplaces at all times.

Good party councillor Sarah Mabotja, who voted against the budget, pointed out that there was no continuation of commitment to deliver services in the municipality.

She said lack of continuation in service delivery was discovered after she compared the budget tabled last year with the one this year.

For example, she said a minor increase in the capital budget compromised infrastructure investment.

“During 2023/24 prepaid procurement was allocated R62,1 million with the intention to procure 25 735 prepaid meters. This year allocation has been increased to R75m but there are no numbers of prepaid meters to procure and areas identified,”Mabotja said.

Republican Conference of Tshwane councillor, Lex Middelberg, criticised the City for starting a new budget period with a deficit of R6.1bn incurred from the previous financial year.

“This money must be paid and it must be paid within a year. And to do so it means we will be taking R6.1 bn from votes in this budget, intended for this year’s delivery to rate-paying residents instead of spending it on services we promised them. This budget and the budget speech are illusionary,”he said.

In response to Middelberg’s criticisms, Mayor Cilliers Brink labelled him a doomster, but said his door was always open to him to share suggestions that are likely to improve the City’s current financial situation.

He said: “We are in a difficult situation and we have never been in denial about it. The key question is: what do you do about it? What do you do as an alternative to the allocations that we have made? Do you wind up the municipality? No, we can’t do that. We are in government. We have constitutional obligations. Do you retrench everybody? No, we can’t do that.”

In a media statement, Brink said the budget encapsulated the coalition government’s message of building a capital city that works for all its people.

“The passing of the budget is an important victory for our coalition government and Tshwane residents as it starts the process to fund the service delivery plans that were outlined during the state of the capital address and the budget speech,”he said.

He said the rollout of services with the approved budget will begin in the new financial year starting from July 1, 2024.

“The total council approved budget is R50,6 bn, consisting of an operating budget of R48,3 bn and a capital infrastructure investment budget of R2,3 billion for the 2024/25 financial year,”he said.

Worth noting, he said, was that R1,1 bn (49%) of the capital budget has been allocated towards the prioritisation of the electrical grid and water infrastructure in the City.

He said his administration has put a strong focus on achieving financial recovery, energy independence and driving visible service delivery through an urban management plan.

“We’ve made key allocations towards public lighting, road maintenance, housing, waste management services, health, and other core services. We’ve also ensured that our proposed increases in rates and tariffs, when compared to other metros, are the most reasonable,”Brink said.

Pretoria News

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