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Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's 2019/2020 budget 'for the poor'

Jun 7, 2019
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's 2019/2020 budget 'for the poor'

Port Elizabeth - On Thursday, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, delivered the Metro's 2019/2020 budget speech at the at Woolboard Exchange in Port Elizabeth. Here are the take-aways from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality 2019/2020 budget.

"With this budget, we are addressing a number of serious challenges, made worse by leadership inadequacies after the August 2016 elections. Inadequacies that led to more audit queries in the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 financial years, than what we had in years prior to that election," Bobani told Councillors.

"It is undoubtedly the effects of short-sighted austerity politics when greater vision, faster implementation of major catalytic projects, efficiency and greater fiscal responsibility was required. Qualified audits increased from one annually to four under the leadership of the previous coalition government."

Adverse report from Auditor General's office

He said that the areas of concern in the Auditor General’s findings were:
1. Irregular expenditure, 
2. Exchange Revenue, 
3. Intangible Assets and
4. Property, Plant and Equipment.

The Mayor told Council that he has been assured by the administration that detailed Audit Action plans are now in place to address these audit queries.

"The political leadership collective will as a matter of course do our political oversight, monitor the needed implementation and provide support where necessary."

R12.6 billion Capital and Operating Budgets for 2019/2020

"It is after all, our collective duty to address inequality, increase our rates base due to the municipality’s unsustainable dependence on grant funding and to create employment," Bobani said.

"In this vein, the majority of funded projects are located in – or aimed at supporting development – in the poorest areas of the City. Of the R1.8 billion apportioned in the Capital Budget, R835 million is allocated to poorer wards.

"This represents 91% out of a total of R922 million allocated for spending in all our wards.

"We are doing so, mindful of the critical importance of uplifting our residents, especially the youth, women and other special groups, to become active participants and contributors to our local economy as part of a growing middle class."

Critical projects to bolster development in the Bay

The Mayor aid that there a number of critical projects to bolster growth and development. These are:
1. Developments at Bayworld/Happy Valley and the Boet Erasmus Stadium;
2. N2 Baywest Development;
3. Important linkage roads that connect the city and improve accessibility. These include, the Bloemendal / Arterial (connecting Njoli / New Brighton to Chatty Jachtvlakte), the Western arterial road (connecting the Baywest N2 area to Uitenhage and Chatty / Jachtvlakte), Standford road extension (connecting Uitenhage CBD to Bethelsdorp), and the massive R1,4 Billion PRASA Motherwell Rail Corridor connecting the CBD by rail to Motherwell and ultimately the Coega Special Economic Zone;
4. Baakens Valley Development; 
5. Urban development and township upgrading projects at Njoli, Red Location, Motherwell, Cleary Park, Uitenhage Central, Zanemvula and Jachtvlakte; 
6. Further developments in the Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth Central Business Districts, North End, Korsten/Schauderville area, Helenvale, Govan Mbeki and Kleinskool amongst others.

"In addition, we received Drought Relief funding of R233 million, R200 million from the Urban Settlements Development Grant and R7.1 million from the Emergency Human Settlements Grant."

There are a number of critical projects that need to find budget allocations. Amongst others, they are:

  • Florida Heights Mixed Housing Development,
  • Desalination Plant,
  • Waterfront Development, and
  • Smart City digital strategy.

Investment conference for the Nelson Mandela Bay

"Two strategic events will take place before the end of the year. An Investment Conference will be held to entice and encourage high-level private sector participation in growth opportunities," the Mayor said.

"It will also be a chance for all stakeholders to share ideas and strategize to build Colchester, Despatch, Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage for the common good.

"We see a city where investors can do business without unnecessary delays due to bureaucratic processes and uncalled-for red tape. Recent collaboration with National Treasury regarding more streamlined business processes to unlock investment opportunities led to necessary changes. We decided to change our approach to deal with catalytic projects and the implementation of a one-stop-shop."

Bobani said that the Office of the Executive Mayor will henceforth oversee the operations of a one-stop-shop for business and the streamlined implementation of catalytic projects.

"This is in line with national standards and recommendations from National Treasury to ensure no investment opportunities are lost due to preventable frustration and misunderstandings."

He added that the strategic focus and positioning of catalytic projects in the Office of the Executive Mayor came through collaboration with National Treasury as part of its City Support Programme.

"In addition the Special Programmes Unit will also be moved to the Mayor’s Office to ensure greater urgency during the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes and a special focus on township development. The War-on-Hunger under the Special Programmes Unit will be resurrected as we are fully aware that many of our residents are going to bed without anything to eat."

Nelson Mandela Bay Safety and Security summit

The Mayor said that a Safety and Security Summit is also planned to comprehensively look at crime prevention, law enforcement and other aspects of criminality.

"A prosperous city cannot continue to flourish if crime is not addressed efficiently. To this end, twenty-nine million rand (R29 million) is allocated to acquire specialised vehicles, plant and equipment in the fight against crime," he explained.

"MMC Litho Suka, parents, children and visitors must be able to enjoy parks and open spaces without fear of becoming victims of senseless crime. In addition to the summit, I am encouraged that a Strategy and Action Plan is being developed as part of a Safe City Concept aimed at creating a key strategic framework for the municipality and our broader stakeholders.

"Critical to this is the implementation of a broad range of crime prevention and community safety initiatives to ensure that our neighbourhoods are welcoming, inclusive and safer"

Other major Safety and Security initiatives include:

  • An anti-gangsterism stabilisation strategy,
  • An increased focus on traffic policing,
  • An increased focus on by-law enforcement,
  • A review of the Disaster Plan for the whole of Nelson Mandela Bay,
  • Establishment of a Search and Rescue Volunteer Corps,
  • Enter into a mutual assistance agreement with Sarah Baartman District Municipality. (Disaster Management), and;
  • Revival of the use of Motor cycles for patrols.

Public Health in the Metro

"Efficient Public Health strategies not only ensure cleaner townships and suburbs, it also prevents the outbreak of rodent infestations and other pests," Bobani told Council.

"A total of R49,5 million is allocated this financial year to upgrade three cemeteries, develop at least nine public open spaces and develop more waste disposal facilities amongst others.

"We received a heartwrenching letter from residents complaining that cemeteries are exclusively used by the rich and the poor are not allowed to bury their loved ones there. This has to stop. We cannot have the return of Apartheid meted out against our departed.

"We see a city where more waste co-operatives are established through the Expanded Public Works Programme to improve both environmental health and create much-needed jobs. Although unspent funds have been carried over for these co-operatives, I am concerned that the funds were not spent the first time around."

He said that every single opportunity to create jobs and improve the conditions of residents must be used when it is available.

"Under-expenditure must not even be part of our thoughts or vocabulary."

Support for SMMEs

The Mayor said that in order to create economic prospects for SMMEs, work opportunities to the value of R100 million will be provided over a three year period from 1 July this year to 30 June 2022.

"We see our municipality set a trend to grasp every opportunity at our disposal to improve economic conditions. All unspent funding by the institution for the previous financial year will be added to the 2019-20 Capital and Operating Budgets to specifically address the needs and concerns of the poor and unemployed. We will convene a Council Meeting to approve an Adjustment Budget towards the end of September to achieve this."

He told Councillors of the need to bring down the cost of running the municipality.

"The excessive outsourcing of work from our Legal Services Sub-Directorate deserves urgent attention in order to reduce the drain of legal fees on our municipal finances. I am assured that the Office of the Chief Operating Officer will give this critical matter the urgent attention it deserves."

Uitenhage municipal pound

Bobani said that after the negative sentiment and publicity received regarding the municipal pound in Uitenhage, operated on the City's behalf by a non-governmental organisation, R1 million is set aside to improve current infrastructure.

"The proposed establishment of a second facility in Markman Township is in progress, but has to be more than just a facility where animals are housed, in order to cater for our needs," he added.

"The new facility will also have space for other impounded goods such as vehicles confiscated by the Safety and Security Directorate."

The Mayor said that the City also recently invested R27,5 million in five Ambient Air Monitoring stations to monitor air quality and ultimately ensure a sustained clean environment.

Human settlements and electricity

Two-hundred million rands has been allocated for Human Settlements "as we see a city that restores the dignity of the landless by providing quality houses to all qualifying residents," Bobani said.

"This money will go towards the servicing of 2 000 housing sites and land acquisition.

"MMC Andile Mfunda, I am aware that nine thousand four hundred and thirty-one (9431) sites are ready for top structure development. This bodes well for our efforts to work towards the eradication of the housing backlog that currently stands at seventy-two thousand, four-hundred and eleven (72 411) units.

"We see a future where residents can be confident that their government will deliver on their housing needs with the necessary urgency."

He added that, although the Metro has a number of important interventions as part of its electrification programmes, this financial year, renewable energy must be looked at as part of our energy mix going forward.

"We see a city where sustainability and environmental considerations are taken during the implementation of every project.

"In the new financial year R223 million is set aside for the upgrading and construction of substations, electrification of houses and other important deliverables," Bobani said.

"To this end, R27 million will be used to electrify 1 297 RDP houses and R30 million to electrify 2 500 informal dwellings. A total of R20 million is set aside for 650 public lighting installations and R37,6 million for the refurbishment and reinforcement of existing infrastructure to improve the reliability of the current network."

He added that R23,9 million was set aside for the installation of smart metering infrastructure and to curb revenue losses through the tampering of electricity meters.

Creative industries, sports facilities and libraries

"We see a city where the municipality serve as a catalyst to unlock the creative economy to enable local artists to make a decent living and to create opportunities for budding sport stars to participate in sporting codes that could potentially empower them," the Mayor said.

R44 million is set aside for Sport and Recreation for the construction of multi-purpose centres in wards 17, 21, 34 and 42.

"Upgrades to our main library and some sporting facilities will also be carried out. Our iconic and award-winning Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium receives R5 million. We see a city where our facilities are used optimally and a culture of ownership exists amongst the communities where these facilities are located," he added.

Infrastructure, Roads and Engineering 

Bobani said that R482 million is allocated for the Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate.

"Roads, Stormwater and Transportation must ensure that the tarring of fourteen kilometres of gravel roads, resurfacing of fifteen kilometres of existing roads and the construction of sidewalks are implemented," he added.

"The rollout of the Integrated Public Transport System infrastructure and network is covered with a portion of this allocation. Some of this money will also be used to construct the bulk storm-water network in Colchester and the rest of the Metro as well as the rehabilitation of existing bridge and roads infrastructure. MMC Rosie Daaminds, we see a city where reliable public transportation is available like clockwork to residents in need of mobility."

Water and Sanition

The Mayor said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Water Services division receives R317 million for the upgrade of water treatment facilities, the rehabilitation of water reservoirs and the provision of bulk water service infrastructure to support housing delivery and economic development.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality tariff increases

The Mayor said that to take the City forward, "it requires sacrifice from all of us".

"Unfortunately, increases must be effected to comply with national requirements and to enable us to implement our vision," he added.

To this end, the proposed tariff increases are as follows:

- Property Rates Tax: 7.7%,
- Water: 7.5%,
- Sanitation: 7.5%,
- Refuse: 7.5%; and,
- Electricity: 13.04% (On average pending NERSA approval).

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