Executive Mayor Kekana tables R153.7 million budget for 2014/2015

AUGUST 1, 2014
Executive Mayor of the Cacadu District Municipality, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana, tabled an operating budget of R153.7 million for the 2014/2015 financial year before Council on the 28th of May.

Executive Mayor of the Cacadu District Municipality, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana, tabled an operating budget of R153.7 million for the 2014/2015 financial year before Council on the 28th of May.

She said that the budget has decreased by 17% from the 2013/2014 adjusted budget due to a reduction in conditional grant funding.

 “However, the financial position of the Cacadu District Municipality is still strong, although it has a weak revenue base,” Executive Mayor Kekana told Council.

 “The budget is more than a mere balancing of available revenue to meet expenditure needs. The budget is a policy instrument, which seeks to transform our society with huge developmental needs.”

According to the budget presented, the Cacadu District Municipality is prioritizing infrastructure development to address backlogs within the region.

Executive Mayor Kekana said of the R153.7 million available, Infrastructure Development and Planning will get the biggest share - R68 132 000 (or 44% of the budget), followed by Finance and Corporate Services, which received R43 341 000 (or 28%); Economic Development, R20 832 000 (14%); the Office of the Mayor, R13 439 000 (9%) and the Office of the Municipal Manager, which received R7 964 000 or 5%.

She also stated that a review of the municipality’s annual Integrated Development Plan (IDP) had identified a number of “key interventions that will help accelerate the principles contained in our Growth and Development Strategy”.

“The development priorities for the 2014/2015 financial year will remain the same, namely infrastructure development, capacity building and the support of local municipalities, financial viability, community services and institutional development,” said Executive Mayor Kekana.

“One major component will be the allocation that has been set aside for the rendering of Environmental Health Services. The budget for the Office of the Mayor also includes an amount of R1 million for the Unemployed Graduates programme.”

She said that the total project budget for the Offices of the Speaker and the Municipal Manager is R6.234 million. About R1 million will be used for the Moral Regeneration campaign, the training of ward committees, imbizos and outreaches as well as capacity building for councillors.

Around R1.25 million was set aside for special programmes such as women empowerment, youth development and support to people with disabilities as well as for the implementation of the district municipality’s HIV/Aids Plan.

“The District Municipality will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring that the Connect with Cacadu programme continues. This will ensure that all libraries in the district have access to free internet and email services as well as a range of other educational and information tools. An amount of R3 million has been set aside for this,” Executive Mayor Kekana said.

 She said from the R68 million set aside for infrastructure development, R38.27 million would go to projects. Of this, R15.318 million will be spent on improving fire services; local municipalities will get about R3 million and R1 million has been availed for a new fire station at Hankey in the Kouga Local Municipality. R1.3 million has been set aside to complete the Somerset East fire station that is currently under construction.

In the new financial year, the Cacadu District had also committed R4.5 million to the construction of another fire station at Sanddrif, in the Kou-Kamma Local Municipality. R2.4 million has been set aside for another station at the Bushmans River Mouth, in the Ndlambe Local Municipality.

She said R1.3 million has been allocated for procuring fire equipment as well as training fire fighters for the local municipalities. R1.8 million has been set aside for a project to standardise fire hydrants across the District.

“With regards to water and sanitation, two of the major projects are the Jansenville Water Treatment Works (in Jansenville, Ikwezi Local Municipality), which has been allocated R2.19 million and the Nieu Bethesda Water Treatment Works (in Nieu Bethesda, Camdeboo Local Municipality), which has been allocated R2 million,”Executive Mayor Kekana announced.

“An amount of R4.5 million has been set aside for the construction of the Inter-City Bus Terminal in Graaff-Reinet (in Camdeboo).” She said R2.1 million will be spent on a study into the District’s rural roads. R5 million has been allocated for the resuscitation of the Paterson Emergency Centre project, in Paterson, in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality.

“The Rietbron Expanded Public Works Project (EPWP) (in the Baviaans Local Municipality) is coming to an end early in the new financial year and an amount of R1.2 million has been rolled over for this project,” announced the Executive Mayor.

“The District Municipality will also be embarking on a new EPWP project in conjunction with the Sundays River Valley Municipality. An amount of R1.236 million has been allocated for this.”

 In promoting economic development, R4 million has been set aside for the Cacadu District Development Agency. Tourism development, which includes creative industries, was allocated R5.4 million.

 “Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMMEs) will benefit to the amount of R2.23 million. An amount of R2 million has also been set aside for the Agricultural Mentorship Programme,” Executive Mayor Kekana said.

 “The District Municipality will also be finalizing various studies and initiatives with regards to the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI). This will amount to R1.7 million.”

A major project from the amount allocated to Finance and Corporate Services will be to support local municipalities for improved audit outcomes. This project received R2.5 million from the budget.

“The Capital Budget of the District Municipality is R13.73 million. Of this, an amount of R10 million has been set aside for the relocation to Kirkwood. The remaining portion is primarily to deal with the procurement of furniture and equipment,” she said.

In conclusion, Executive Mayor Kekana said she believed that the budget met “the aspirations of our stakeholders, addresses service delivery challenges, responds to our legislated responsibilities, supports and capacitates local municipalities and addresses economic growth”.

She also stated that the Cacadu District Municipality has become “an institution of excellence” having not only achieved a record seventh consecutive unqualified audit report, but also in the way it goes about serving its residents.