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De Lille: Cape Town budget pro-poor

May 30 2013 07:03

Cape Town - The proposed total budget for the City of Cape Town's 2013/2014 financial year is R31.5bn, executive mayor Patricia de Lille announced on Wednesday.

"We have committed ourselves to creating the economic enabling environment that will allow investment to grow and jobs to be created, while providing immediate social relief for those who need our help the most," she said.

De Lille tabled the proposed city budget in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"Of that [R31.5bn], the operating budget is R26.144bn, or just over 82% of the total; while the capital budget is R5.45bn, or 17.25% of the total."

She said that in the proposed budget, operating revenue increased from R23.9bn in 2012/13 to R25.89bn in 2013/2014.

"This is a growth in revenue of just over 8%."

De Lille said local governments were able to charge a fee for the use of services they provided to generate revenue.

"The approach that we follow in Cape Town is to ensure that we generate enough revenue to be able to cross-subsidise services for the poor, more than any other municipality, while maintaining the highest standard of service possible for our ratepayers."

Burden of costs

However, the city did not believe it was enough to just shift the burden of costs onto ratepayers, especially not during these difficult economic times, De Lille said.

"The service charge increases we propose have therefore been calculated after conducting numerous cost-cutting exercises within the city to reduce unnecessary expenditure."

The proposed tariff increases for 2013/2014 were: a 6.10% rates increase; a 6.32% refuse increase; a 7.06% disposal increase; a 9.53% sanitation increase, a 9.53% water increase and a 7.86% increase in electricity.

"We will maintain the provision of an excellent standard of service to private consumers, both individual households and commercial properties.

"At the same time, we will be strongly pro-poor to ensure that this whole city succeeds and moves forward together," De Lille said.

It was proposed that free basic services be given to those with properties valued at less than R400 000, and also if there was a gross monthly household income of R3 000 or less.

It was also proposed that senior citizens would qualify for rates rebates where their gross monthly household income was less than R12 000.

Capital budget

In the capital budget, the most significant expenditure was in utility services, at just over R2bn; transport, roads and stormwater at just over R1.4bn; and human settlements at just over R600m.

"These three directorates constitute the core component of our delivery mandate for the city," De Lille said.

"Mr Speaker, I believe that the proposed budget gives sufficient resources to each of our directorates."

She said it was important to bear in mind that the budget sought to manage the balance between the city's priorities.

"But in as much as we recognise that we sometimes may not have all the resources that we require, we are committed to using all of the resources that we do have."

In closing, De Lille said the total service provision of the budget was about R19.6bn, and of that R11.17bn was being spent in the poorer areas of the city.

"That is a total service investment of around 56.8% in previously disadvantaged areas."

She said this was further proof the city had an overwhelming focus on the poor.

"So let us all agree that while we are creating the conditions for business to thrive, we understand that we can only succeed as a city if we provide for all of our residents, no matter what their income."

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