DA outlines financial record for Cape Town ahead of elections

2011-04-18 14:39

The Democratic Alliance today again held up its management of Cape Town’s finances as a benchmark for voters, ahead of the May 18 local government elections.

“Voters in the upcoming municipal elections deserve a frank assessment of how different parties perform in this critical area of governance, which has the potential to profoundly affect the lives of those at the bottom end of the economic ladder.

Good record
“It is for this reason that we are today outlining our record in managing the City of Cape Town’s finances,” the party said in a statement, released following a press conference at Parliament.

One of the most important measures of a government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens was how it managed its finances, and spent the public’s money.

“As stewards of the nation’s wealth and future hopes, our leaders are expected to collect the people’s money fairly and efficiently, manage it honestly and prudently, spend it wisely and effectively, and account for it openly and transparently.”

When this did not happen, critical functions of municipalities – such as the delivery of services and building of infrastructure – simply could not happen.

“Unfortunately, many local governments in South Africa fail to live up to their obligations, a fact that can only change if voters decide to lend their votes to a different party,” the DA said.

Infrastructure
Among other things, the DA had, in the areas it managed, spent 99% of its municipal infrastructure grant, “compared to the ANC, which only spent 75% of their municipal infrastructure grants last year”.

On capital budget spending in Cape Town, the DA said that since taking over the city in 2006/07, this had increased substantially.

“Under the previous ANC administration in Cape Town, less than two-thirds of its capital budget was spent, on average, between 2002 and 2006.

“But the DA has substantially increased that rate... The ANC averaged 65.6% expenditure; the DA’s administration has averaged 83.7% yearly,” it said.

Cape Town vs Joburg
The statement also draws a comparison between rises in property rates, water, electricity and service charges in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“In Johannesburg, service charges for electricity are rising 35% in 2011/12; in Cape Town, they are rising 19.9%.

“In Johannesburg, service charges for water are rising at 13% in 2011/12; in Cape Town, they are rising 8.3%.

“In Johannesburg, service charges for refuse collection are rising at 6% in 2011/12; in Cape Town, they are rising 5.5%.

“In Johannesburg, service charges for property rates are rising at 6.7% in 2011/12; in Cape Town, they are rising 5.9%.”

Good credit rating
The good management of Cape Town’s finances was reflected in the Moody’s International credit rating the city had earned.

“Last year, Moody’s showed confidence in our finances by assigning to the city an issuer rating of P-1.za. This is Moody’s highest rating.

“Moody’s also confirmed the city’s double-A long-term credit rating for the fourth consecutive year, highlighting the city’s ‘buoyant budgetary performance and its comfortable liquidity position’. No metro in the country has a higher rating.”

Moody’s had further added that “Cape Town’s key financial metrics and its budgetary position are expected to remain sound in the medium term and is supported by an overall prudent financial policy and a relatively robust economic base”.

Unqualified audits

The DA said the most important indicators of the city’s financial performance was the auditor-general’s yearly reports.

“Cape Town has received an unqualified audit opinion for every year that we have been in office, an indication of the DA’s commitment to sound financial leadership and accountability,” it said.

With a month to go before the local government elections, it was timely to consider the way in which various local administrations in South Africa had managed their finances.

“We highlight these differences to show voters that where the DA governs, it governs well.

“We brought open, transparent and prudent fiscal management to the City of Cape Town and other municipalities, and, given the chance, we can bring it to all that we govern,” the DA said.

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