Msunduzi draft budget: communities to have a say on how city spends R2.6bln

2012-03-29 00:00

IN the next six weeks every­body in the Msunduzi municipal district will have a turn to say how their city should spend R2,9 billion.

After the council adopted its initial spending plan for 2012/13 as a draft budget yesterday, speaker Babu Baijoo told councillors to go out into their wards and engage with their communities.

“People must not just look at what is only affecting them in the budget, but must study the document as a whole in order to come up with constructive suggestions or input,” he told The Witness.

Baijoo said the coming six weeks would give ward councillors a chance to empower their ward committees on budget issues.

Organisations like the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness, the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business and ratepayers’ associations should also engage with council, Baijoo said.

He said that by today the draft budget should be on the Msunduzi website, www.msunduzi.gov.za, and it would soon be available at all municipal offices.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Dolo Zondi warned that in its present form the draft represented a budget that would further oppress the poorest of the poor.

“The poor are mostly dependent on water and electricity, so the council should have increased tariffs on rates, sewerage and refuse because those are services mostly used by the rich and affluent as they can afford them,” he said.

He said the IFP was totally against the proposed water and electricity tariff increases.

“But now it has been left to the people of Pietermaritzburg to thoroughly engage the council in the next six weeks on this draft budget.”

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert said after yesterday’s council meeting that the role of the ward committees was paramount.

“They represent their various communities and they must come up with constructive input,” he said.

National Freedom Party caucus leader Ntokozo Bhengu said its councillors thought it was “a good [draft] budget”.

However, he said the municipality needed to do more in terms of revenue collection, which played a huge role in assisting with improving service delivery.

 

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