Ekurhuleni Finance MMC delivers budget speech for 2018/2019

Finance MMC Doctor Xhakaza delivered the budget speech at Eden Park on May 24.

The City of Ekurhuleni’s Finance MMC Clr Doctor Xhakaza tabled the city’s budget speech at Eden Park on May 24.

He termed the budget as being anchored around the pro-poor agenda, rallying all sectors of the society to unite behind the common action of development and change and connecting the past to the present.

Achievements in past 20 months

• Installation of 2 021 street lights to provide lighting and help minimise crime in areas such as Brakpan, KwaThema, Tsakane, Benoni, Daveyton, Etwatwa, Tembisa and Katlehong.

• Installation of 75km of an underground electrical network to ensure the security of supply.

• A total of 6 290 families receiving electricity for the first time following the electrification of households in Ekuthuleni, Villa Lisa Extension Two, Langaville Ext Six and Eight, Marikana, Thintwa informal, Phola Park, Winnie Mandela and Holomisa informal settlements.

Over 11 000 more are currently being electrified in, among others, N12, Gugulethu, Everest, Comet and Peter Mokaba.

• A total of 12 451 new water service points were installed across the region.

• Extension of the rollout of wheelie bins to an additional 147 877 households.

The city has distributed 1 427 title deeds to give our people the security of tenure over their property.

Budget Figures

For the 2018/19 financial year, the budgeted operating expenditure is expected to be R37.5-billion comprising of revenue generated internally (R29.2-b), operating grants (R6-b) and capital grants (R2.3-b).

Capital and infrastructure projects are expected to be R6.9-b in 2018/19, an increase of R300-million from the 2017/18 financial year. The capital budget will comprise of revenue generated internally (R976.1-m), government grants (R2.3-b) and loans (R3.6-b).

• Expenditure on capital projects from 87% in 2016/17 to 92% in 2017/18.

• A record 98% grant-spend for the financial year 2016/17 on the USDG, a trend we plan to maintain.

• An unqualified audit for the year with a reduction in the number of factors of concern to the Auditor-General.

• Reduction of unauthorised expenditure from R65-m to zero.

• The City’s cash position remains above the R5.0-b mark at R5.2-b.

Tariffs

The tabled budget proposes the following tariff increase:

• Assessment rates to increase by 6.9% after no increase was effected last to ease the burden on ratepayers.

• Electricity will increase by between 5.32% and 8.5% – subject to usage, whilst the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has announced a bulk electricity purchase tariff increase of 7.32% for municipalities.

• Water to increase by 12.96%, the same percentage increase pronounced by Rand Water.

• Sanitation to increase by 9%, which is informed by the cost of sewer purification processes undertaken by ERWAT.

• Refuse removal to increase by 7.5% for all users.

Social package

The city has allocated R3.7-b to the most vulnerable and indigents, an increase of R600-m compared to the previous financial year.

The budget tabled by the MMC for Finance Clr Xhakaza proposed to increase the value of property exempted from property rates from the first R150 000 to R250 000.

Various other grants on assessment rates, such as pensioners’ rebate, rebate to low-income earners, properties zoned for religious purposes, will continue in the new financial year.

The complete package of indigent relief:

• 100% rebate on assessment rates;

• Free refuse removal;

• First 100kWh of electricity per month is free in line with national government policy;

• First 9kl of water and sewer per month is free;

• Special rates on emergency services such as ambulance and firefighting; and

• Free indigent burial.

Department support

Economic Development

In order to re-industrialise, the Department of Economic Development is allocated R491-m over the MTREF, with R169-m for the 2018/19 financial year.

Key projects that will drive this strategic theme are as follows:

• Springs Fresh Produce Market Expansion Project is allocated R52.4-m in 2018/19 and R92.4-m over the MTREF;

• Ekurhuleni Business Centre, situated in Kempton Park, is allocated R25-m in 2018/19 and R83-m for the next three years; and

ICT

We are investing R330-m in the new financial year and almost R1-b in the MTREF in the area of ICT. This intervention will improve our billing accuracy, assist in the introduction of e-government services and improve the turnaround time to payment of suppliers.

Critically it shall broaden connectivity to the digital world to many of our people as we enter the fourth industrial revolution.

We are further allocating R66.6-m for broadband rollout, and R35.5-m is going to fibre.

Work Readiness Programme

In the endeavour to prepare our youth for the work environment, the City’s investment of R61-m in the work readiness programme sustained the placement of 2 500 youths in various learnerships and internships.

Human Settlement

Human settlements are allocated R1.2-b in 2018/19 and R3.8-b in the MTREF.

Some of the major projects in this area of our work include:

• Acquisition of land and properties for human settlements is allocated R270-m in 2018/19.

The total allocation over the MTREF is a staggering R890-m;

• Electrification of informal settlements is allocated R220-m in the next financial year and R720-m in the MTREF;

• Maintenance of hostels and rental stock is allocated R70-m (R47-m for hostels and R23-m for rental stock).

Energy

Energy infrastructure has been allocated R576-m this year and R1.7-b over the MTREF.

Roads

Roads have been allocated R678-m in the new financial year and R2-b in the MTREF.

This will go towards the following projects:

• Construction of Daveyton CBD/N12 interchange – R105-m;

• Upgrading of roads in the Eastern part of the City is allocated R27-m over the MTREF.

• Fixing of potholes, clearing of stormwater drainage systems and resurfacing of already existing roads are allocated R615-m.

Water and Sanitation

The City has budgeted R623.7-m for the 2018/19 financial year towards water and sanitation.

Over the MTREF, we have set aside a total of R2.1-b.

• R100-m budget for the Pomona Eastern Out Fall Sewer phase three;

• An amount of R400-m for repairs, upgrades and extension of water pipelines and construction of new reservoirs as well as towers.

• R84-m for replacement of large water consumer meters and R131-m for aged domestic meter replacement; and

• Invest R344-m for the refurbishment of ageing infrastructure, fixing of water leaks, sewer blockages and maintenance.

LISTEN: #TheMoneySpot – This is how the budget affects you

Transport

We are channelling R727-m in the new financial year and R2.1-b in three years to transport.

• The Bus Rapid Transport project will receive R1.4 billion over the MTREF.

Community safety

We are allocating R337-m for the new financial year and R901-m over three years to both EMPD and Emergency Services.

• The EMPD receives an allocation of R81.5-m in 2018/19 and R68.8-m for specialised vehicles and upgrading of its various offices and car registration centres;

• R20-m for the recruitment of new emergency services personnel; and

• Installation of CCTV system for Safer City project is allocated R17.6-m in 2018/19 and R20-m in 2019/20.

Health

The Department of Health receives an allocation of R42-m in the new financial year and R289-m over the MTREF.

• The new level two chief Albert Luthuli Clinic Extension (in Ward 24) is allocated R3-m in the next year and R23-m in the MTREF

• The new clinic in Ext Nine, Lindelani, is allocated R3-m in 2018/19 and R21-m in the MTREF.

Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture

We are allocating the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture an amount of R113-m in 2018/19 and R400-m in the MTREF.

• Construction of the new Etwatwa library – R15-m.

Waste and Environmental Management

We are setting aside R1.3-b in the MTREF and R472-m in the 2018/19 financial year for the Waste and Environmental Management Department.

The noticeable projects that are intended to drive this theme include:

• Rehabilitation of the Boksburg Lake – R20-m in 2018/19 and R55-m over the MTREF.

• The ERWAT Waste Water Treatment Works – R50-m in 2018/19.

• R150-m over the MTREF.

Cemeteries and open spaces, road reserves

For the upkeep and beautification of our open spaces, road reserves and the maintenance of cemeteries we are allocating approximately R2.6-b over the MTREF.

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  AUTHOR
Khutso Maphatsoe
Journalist

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