‘We need answers’ — opposition

2016-05-30 11:23
Yusuf Bhamjee

Yusuf Bhamjee (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Opposition parties in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (uMDM) feel the district is too dependent on grants and called the mayor to answer to issues not covered in his speech.

A glowing State of the District address was delivered last week by uMDM mayor Yusuf Bhamjee who highlighted the district’s successes.

However, DA councillor Bongumusa Nhlabathi said the party objected to the budget as it left out key factors that needed to be addressed.

“The DA made several comments around the Mandela Marathon and the R3,5 million funding it. We support the marathon but Mandela himself believed in clean governance. There are questions that have not been answered and remain unanswered today,” Nhlabathi said.

He also added that the DA did not accept the budget as Treasury did not accept the draft budget initially.

He said that although Treasury gave a negative report, “their suggestions have not been changed in this budget”.

Delivering his address at the council chambers in Langalibalele Street, Bhamjee said the district achieved six unqualified audits and two successive clean audits and he saw no reason why the district could not achieve another clean audit.

He said the district would source their funding for the 2016/2017 year through its own revenue of R637 946 708 and through loans of R99 683 000.

Operational and capital grants are expected to amount to R6 128 000 and R149 865 000 respectively.

Referring to the water and sanitation tariffs, Bhamjee said Umgeni Water issued an increase to the bulk tariff of 6,013%.

“Ideally, the municipality is to transfer the bulk cost to the customers, however, a 100% bulk cost transfer is projected to lead to increased non payments which will worsen the collection rate,” Bhamjee said.

Therefore the district is proposing a six percent increase in tariffs across the board for both customers and businesses.

He said went on to urge individuals to preserve water.

“The devastating drought … is threatening to reverse the gains of service delivery over the years. Dam levels have dropped and as a result we have been forced to introduce the 15% water restrictions throughout our local municipalities,” he said.

He said the onus was now on each person in the municipality to conserve water.

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