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Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillors debate 2019/2020 draft budget

Apr 9, 2019
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillors debate 2019/2020 draft budget

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillors raise concerns about increases in 2019/2020 draft budget

Port Elizabeth -  Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillors are currently debating the Metro's 2019/2020 draft budget as well as an item relating to the paying of the legal fees of three Democratic Alliance (DA) councillors.

At the start of the meeting, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, told Councillors that she will provide the house the information relating to the status of African National Congress (ANC) councillor, Bongo Nombiba, and his appeal to the Constitutional Court.

On Thursday last week, there was drama in the Council Chambers as opposition parties protested at the presence of Councillor Bongo Nombiba, who is a convicted fraudster and apparently had a warrant of arrest issued against him.

Mafaya also told Councillors there will be no catering in Tuesday's meeting, which is a continuation of the Thursday meeting.

After Tuesday's meeting, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council will be going on recess as Councillors will campaign for their respective parties ahead of the upcoming 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

Councillors began with a debate on the Metro's Integrated Development Plan (IDP), which was scheduled for public participation meetings this week.

However, it emerged in the Council Meeting that the IDP meetings have been postponed.

Coming back after an adjournement, Patriotic Alliance (PA) Councillor Marlon Daniels told Councillors that he was warning certain Councillors that they have disregard for the people of the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth.

However, the ANC's Bicks Ndoni hit back and told Daniels; "He only brought 2 000 votes. You're not a spokesperson for the Northen Areas - you are failing that 2 000 people that voted for you."

United Front Councillor, Mkhuseli Mtsila, also accused Daniels of grandstanding.

Debate on Nelson Mandela Bay 2019/2020 draft budget

As the draft budget was being tabled, by Acting Chief Financial Officer, Jackson Ngcelwane, DA Cllr, Retief Odendaal, voiced his concerns about the state of the budget, stating that there are too many errors in the document and it needs to be rewritten.

"This is really embarrassing to all of us and I am ashamed to have this document as a representation of us," he told Councillors.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Councillor, Lance Grootboom, also agreed.

"Because of this mess, and Eskom it is the rate payers that must fork out money because of Eskom. We need to look at improving the life's of people and not so much on infrastructure. This budget is unacceptable."

Grootboom said that the increases on the budget will add strain on ratepayers, who have to pay up for the mistakes of the ANC-led coalition government.

"Our people are hungry and are not safe. We need to improve the lives of people and this budget is oppressing the people," he said.

"This budget is unacceptable."

However, ANC Cllr, Andile Lungisa, hit back saying that the DA is playing politics and getting help from their "children at the back", referring to Grootboom.

"We're reviewing the document and prioritized our own communities," Lungisa said.

"We are biased towards our own communities such as KwaNobuhle, Rosedale and Soweto-on-Sea."

Odendaal also claimed that the document presented before Councillors was a copy and paste of the document presented last year when the then DA-led coalition was running the Bay and does not reflect on the challenges facing the City.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, responded that Odendaal is wrong about the budget being a copy and paste document.

He tells him to look at the signature at the bottom and notes that it is his his own (Bobani's) signature - and that is is not copied.

"We stand the risk of losing tens of thousands of Rands if we do not spend the full budget for this year, which is going to be difficult," Odendaal continued.

"We have to contain our wasteful expenditure because we need to focus our money on service delivery.

"This budget is going to have to change significantly."

Ngcelwane told Councillors that the Bay's 2019/2020 draft budget has many challenges to address including loadshedding and library services, which is not really the Metro's function by law.

He warned that the draft operating budget is showing 22% deficit and emphasised on the need for the Metro to improve its revenue collection efforts -  which currently sits at 94%.

Councillors also had an opportunity to pay their condolences to the two IRONMAN competitors, who lost their lives on Sunday.

The public and media gallery has been cleared - apparently so that Councillors can have a serious debate.

The meeting has already witnessed several adjournments.

More to follow...

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