Johannesburg – City of Ekurhuleni Finance MMC Nkululeko Dunga announced that the proposed revenue of the overall budget is R55.3 billion.
Dunga, who is an EFF Gauteng leader, delivered his maiden 2023/24 budget speech today. He said the amount is made up of R22bn from the sale of electricity, R8.6bn from property rates, R6.7bn from water revenue, R3.2bn from sanitation revenue, R1.8bn from refuse revenue, R1.3bn from interest earned on outstanding debts, and just under R5bn from interest earned on investments, rental of facilities and equipment, licences and permits, and other sources of revenue.
"We also receive R6.2bn from other revenue sources, such as national and provincial governments, in the form of equitable shares and conditional grants.
“The equitable share allocation is determined by population and developmental factors such as poverty, and we, as council, are at liberty to decide on when and how we spend it, and this must be done in consultation with the people of our city,” said Dunga.
He said conditional grants are provided by national and provincial governments to achieve specific objectives, hence the name conditional grant.
Dunga said part of the context of the People’s Budget is that it is informed by the revised Integrated Development Plan (IDP), which is the demand of the people and has been consulted on over time.
“This budget is not a product of some high-level round-table discussions of the elite, but a product of and response to the demands, interests and aspirations of our people. This budget will reflect what has been the demand of the people through the IDP consultative period,” he said.
“The people of Tembisa, we heard you very well when you said you want clean and drinkable water. The people of Kathorus (Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus), we heard you very well when you said you wanted reliable electricity.
“The people of Kempton Park, we heard you when you said you wanted regular refuse collection. The people of KwaThema, Reiger Park and Germiston, we heard you very well when you said you want sustainable jobs for the youth.
"The people of Tsakane, we heard you when you said you wanted a 24-hour clinic. The people of Katlehong, Brakpan, Springs and Boksburg, we heard you when you said you are tired of crime and vandalism of electricity infrastructure. We have heard you. Your views will find expression in the People’s Budget. This is your budget,“ Dunga said.
Over the past few months, parts of Ekurhuleni saw an increase in power crises, which led to a number of service delivery protests.
Dunga said it would be foolhardy to think that they could present a budget without prioritising the crisis of electricity in South Africa.
“This budget and everything else we are going to present here today depend on the availability of electricity,” he said.
Dunga said the city was one of the most important and strategic economic and, particularly, industrial centres in Gauteng and perhaps in all of South Africa.
He said the city was home to one of the most strategic ports of entry into South Africa, the OR Tambo International Airport.
“Millions of travellers to and from South Africa have to come through our city.
“A dependable and reliable electricity supply to a modern industrial economy is essential for its continued development and sustainability. We cannot continue to produce goods and services, and we will be unable to expand the revenue base for both the municipality and the entire South African revenue base if we do not have a reliable electricity supply,” Dunga said.
He added that the national government had already declared through the 2023 Budget speech and through the Eskom rescue bill that it had no intention or interest in generating additional electricity. An unequivocal conditionality was set for Eskom: the R260bn allocated to ease the power utility’s balance sheet must not be spent on electricity generation.
When it came to revenue enhancement, Dunga said the budget that they were tabling for approval was R57.6bn, of which R54.9bn was for operating expenditure and R2.7bn for capital expenditure.
He said it was not enough to respond to the demands and needs of the people.
“We are going to engage in purposeful additional revenue enhancement mechanisms. We are not just going to spend what has traditionally been allocated to us through the equitable share, grants, and our usual streams of revenue,” he said.
Most roads across the city of Ekurhuleni, especially in Thokoza and Katlehong, were in poor condition, with potholes seen in every corner.
In addressing this, Dunga announced that a dedicated pothole repair team would be established within the municipal works department. He said the team would identify, prioritise and repair potholes throughout the city. He also said there would be strict adherence to regular road maintenance schedules, which would help to prevent the formation of potholes.
“We have allocated R256 million to prioritise road and stormwater construction. Part of this money will be used to rehabilitate our roads and clean our stormwater drainage,” he said.
Dunga announced they would be reviving the bursary scheme that the DA scrapped earlier this year, which affected poor students.
“Consistent with the commitment of the executive mayor in the State of the City Address, we are going to revive the bursary scheme that was operated in the mayor’s office. We have allocated R15 million for the mayoral bursary scheme,” Dunga said.
He announced that the city was proposing a 5.3% tariff increase for key municipal services in line with the inflation rate.
Dunga said higher water and electricity increases were determined and imposed by Rand Water and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), despite their demands for lower tariffs.