South Africa : Cape Town City tables a record R23.8 billion draft budget

By Proffesor Ndawonde

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has tabled a draft budget of R23.8 billion for the 2009/10 financial year which begins on 1 July 2009.

According to the city this amount is made up of a capital budget of R5.5 billion and an operational budget of R18.3 billion.

"The bulk of the capital budget is aimed at eradicating infrastructure backlogs which developed over the years and which are required to advance economic growth," said Alderman Ian Neilson, Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Economic and Social Development and Tourism.

The Utility Services Directorate, which provides basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and refuse removal, will receive the biggest part of the capital budget of over R2 billion.

According to Mr Neilson the capital budget includes a R220 million allocation for the development of landfill infrastructure and R199 million for electricity upgrades across the metropole.

Meanwhile, an amount of R105 million has been budgeted for the Fisantekraal waste water plant and R705 million for the development of the Integrated Rapid Transport System.

The city has also affirmed that total revenue for 2009/10 is projected at R16.82 billion, an increase of 8.6 percent.

He said there will be an increase in electricity tariffs over the next financial year.

"A 33 percent increase has been proposed for the electricity tariff, which is subject to an assumed 35.9 percent increases in Eskom tariffs.

"The proposed tariff increases of other utility services are in line with the current inflation rate and a 10 percent increase is proposed for water and solid waste fees whilst a 7 percent increase for sanitation tariffs," Mr Neilson said.

However, he said the city has taken into consideration senior citizens and disabled people.

"To assist people on fixed incomes, we have increased the threshold of rates rebates for senior citizens and disabled people. For a 100 percent rebate, the city has proposed that the threshold of household income be increased from R2 880 to R3 000 per month," he said.

The upper limit on this rebate is being increased from R7000 to R8000 per month.

"A 100 percent subsidy up to 6kl of water per household per month will apply for all domestic tariff categories. Households which do not use more than 400 kWh of electricity per month will receive a free basic allocation of up to 50 kWh.

"Properties valued at R100 000 will continue to receive free refuse removal services," he said, adding that there is a sliding scale of refuse rebates for properties up to R300 000.

"We urge residents who cannot pay their monthly municipal accounts to register for the city's comprehensive indigent grant," Mr Neilson said.

The draft budget can be viewed at all public libraries and is open for public comment until 30 April. The final budget will be approved by Council at the end of May 2009. - BuaNews