In the press: Council passes 2018/19 budget

Council Passes Budget Championing the Needs of Johannesburg Residents.

Statement by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba

On 12 June 2018, Council passed the multi-party coalition government’s Operational and Capital Budgets and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the 2018/19 financial year in full compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act.

This is the second budget passed under the combined leadership of the DA, IFP, ACDP, UDM, COPE and VF+, with the support of the EFF, as well as the AIC who chose to support this budget.

After engagement between political parties in Council over the past few weeks, an approach was taken to reduce the tariffs for water and electricity. By doing, Council has achieved a caring and sensitive approach to household income which is under strain from various decisions of National and Provincial Government.

Equally the tariffs approved will enable the City to generate its revenue that will drive the fundamental change – Diphetogo – to our communities.

The Diphetogo project, at its core means real transformational change, and prioritises investment in the service delivery backlogs that plague our communities.

We have taken the decision to deprioritise the non-essential elements, cut unnecessary expenditure and re-directed these savings to battle our service delivery infrastructure backlog.

Some of the key highlights in the budget include:

· 2018/19 sees the largest share of the capital budget for roads, transport, housing, electricity and water, going up from 54% in 2016/17 to 69% in 2018/19.

· R120 million to site and service schemes, double the previous year’s allocation, to provide serviced sites onto which beneficiaries can be settled with full ownership;

· To accelerate the formalization of informal settlements, R14 million is allocated for the purpose of embarking on a consolidated planning program for informal settlements across the City;

· R50 million has been set aside for the upgrading of Inner City emergency housing and rental stock.

· R60 million for the renewal and refurbishment of the following hostels: Diepkloof, Meadowlands, Helen Joseph and Madala hostels.

· R46 million has been set aside for the acquisition of buildings in the inner city for the purpose of creating affordable housing for residents.

· R117 million for the electrification of informal settlements

· R45 million for the installation of new public lighting city-wide, including our informal settlements, as well as an additional R20 million for the repairs and maintenance of existing public lighting within the City.

· Johannesburg Water is allocated a capital amount of R3.1 billion over the medium term and R10.6 billion in operating expenditure which will reduce the number of pipe bursts by 6,000 leaks.

· Pikitup is allocated a medium term budget of R771 million as well as R2.3 billion in operational expenditure. This will support additional cleaning shifts within the inner city as well as address the dilapidated conditions of Pikitup facilities. Pikitup’s operating budget will also pave the way for the filling of 1400 funded vacancies in their frontline service delivery capacity.

· R30 million in operational expenditure has been allocated to the Departments of Health and Social Development to fully capacitate the City’s free Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centres.

· R20 million is allocated to continue running extended operating hours within 11 of our clinics.

· Public Safety has been allocated a medium term capital budget of R260 million for both Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD). This budget will also be utilised for the continued training of 1500 JMPD recruits who will soon join our law enforcement efforts.

· The Department of Economic Development receives an operating budget of R223 million and R30 million in capital budget over the medium term. This includes funds to complete the development of the Job Seekers’ Database which will effectively replace Jozi@Work, and do away with middle-men determining access to these opportunities.

· R25 million to construct informal trading facilities in Rosebank Linear Park, Dobsonville and the inner city to support informal traders and provide them a space to grow their businesses.

· R627 million of the national Public Transport Network Grant to finish the Rea Vaya Phase 1C services which will run between Sandton, Alexandra, Greenstone and the CBD.

· R250 million for road rehabilitation and reconstruction and R181 million for the rehabilitation of bridges.

Through the implementation of the proposed tariff increases, we will work harder to improve access to quality water, electricity, sanitation and refuse services in our city.

I am pleased that through our coalition government working together, we are able to bring a diversity of views to the table and convert it into pro-active solutions to the challenges our residents face.

Together, and following extensive public consultation, we were able to construct a budget that will ensure Diphetogo when implemented.

For the first time, this public consultation was split into a listening tour of the City in October 2017, followed by engagements with the draft budget in April and May 2018.

Over 9500 residents formed part of the IDP outreach process, with the City receiving close to 3500 written and electronic submissions.

I would like to thank our coalition partners, the IFP, ACDP, UDM, COPE and the VF+ for their development and support for this budget.

I would also like to thank my own caucus for their unwavering support and dedicated hard work; and the EFF for their vigorous engagement with our administration.

I would also like to acknowledge the AIC, who has broken ranks with the ANC and supported this budget as a testament to their commitment to change in Johannesburg.

While the approval of this budget & IDP is an important milestone for the residents of this administration as well as the residents of this City, what really matters is how well we implement our budget.

This is the budget that will begin the large-scale turnaround of Johannesburg and place government at the service of our people.