Informal dwellers lay their case ahead of budget share

2015-04-30 06:00
Elliot Magatya, of Endlovini, Khayelitsha, was one of the residents who handed-over submissions to Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, an official from the City of Cape Town, on Thursday, in Cape Town.

PHOTO: 
Mbongiseni Maseko

Elliot Magatya, of Endlovini, Khayelitsha, was one of the residents who handed-over submissions to Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, an official from the City of Cape Town, on Thursday, in Cape Town. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Residents from various informal settlements in Khayelitsha delivered their submissions to the mayor’s office on Thursday, in which they showed their dissatisfaction with the 2015/2016 draft budget for the City of Cape Town.

The submissions-written by hand-were hand-delivered by about 50 representatives from the settlements.

In the submissions they said they were informed by their personal experiences and conditions they live under in those areas.

They were accompanied by members of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU).

According to the statement released by the residents there were over 600 submissions that were collected from residents in a period of two weeks that were delivered on the day.

The public participation forms part of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) which instructs local government to include public comment before a final budget can be presented to the Council.

Ntuthuzelo Vika, 25, organiser and convenor of the march said they were concerned that there is too little budget allocated for informal settlements compared previous financial years.

“We noticed that a big budget is allocated for formal settlements and too little for informal settlements, but the problems that need serious attention are in informal settlements. Allocating huge budgets for established settlements has become a trend, at the expense of the poor,

Less money is spent on the disadvantaged now, with no service delivery taking place,”.

Vika said they faced on-going battles where they stayed.

“Chief among these is the issue of sanitation

“We are forced to us the bush when answering the call of nature, with our women and young girls falling victim to rapist who lurk somewhere in the forest...its the distance it takes for one when the need to relieve themselves,” said Vika.

In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), a local government must submit a concept or draft budget to the public for its consideration and comment before a final budget can be presented to the Council.

A statement on the budget speech released by Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town, in her Facebook page on 25 March, said the claims that most of the budget is not allocated for poorer areas were baseless.

“It is during this phase of the budget process that all those claiming that we do not spend the majority of our budget on the poorer areas of Cape Town should make their public submissions based on proof. In my years as Mayor, not once has any substantive proof to counter our evidence of pro-poor spending ever been offered. This draft budget proposal is fully balanced and fully funded,” the statement said.

The budget amounts to over R37 billion.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, an official of the city who was sent to collect the submissions, also said about 60 percent of the budget is always allocated for informal settlement. He said this is done regardless of the fact that residents in informal settlements do not pay rates.

“The city budget is pro-poor. We give a bigger budget to people who do not even pay a cent in terms of rates. We are not failing our obligations. There is no municipality in the country that delivers as we do,” Solomons-Johannes said.

Nomsa Ndzube, 53, of a resident at SST Section, said she has lived in the area for the past 15 years. “We live under bad conditions there. Toilets are always dirty and leaking. We have to clean them on our own. Our shacks are also leaking. We wish to be moved to decent houses. The budget should be used for building us houses,” Ndzube said

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