UMDM: ‘too little revenue’

2011-05-02 00:00

OPPOSITION parties in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) are not convinced that the 2011/12 budget will do anything to change people’s lives for the better as its revenue enhancement projects do not take the municipality out of its financial dependence on state funding.

They were commenting after a final presentation of the 2011/12 budget by Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee.

Before the mayor went into the details of the budget, he reminded the council of the importance cherishing Freedom Day as a lot of sacrifices had been made to obtain democracy. He also paid tribute to the late Sri Sathya Sai Baba who was buried last week.

He said core business of a district municipality entails the provision of water, sanitation and environmental health.

The total projected income for 2011/12 financial year is R498,467 million. Bhamjee said income has increased by 11,8% from R445,756 million as per the adjusted budget at December 30, 2010.

The operational income is R423,495 million, 85% of the total income.

“The operational income is made up of equitable share [from the National Treasury] of R286,019 million, R79,287 million water and sanitation income, other operational grants R52 760 as well as other income of R5,429 million from parking fees and interest,” said Bhamjee.

He said the budget will be subject to mid-term review and will be adjusted if the circumstances make it necessary.

The caucus leader of the Democratic Alliance in council, Sibongiseni Majola, said his party does not believe that the budget will put the district in a better position than it is now.

“[The council] was downgraded from grade five to four because of gross maladministration and right now it should be focusing on creating projects that will pay attention to establishing a municipality that is not dependent on state funding,” said Majola.

He said the district has specific functions that are not focusing on creating a profit for the municipality so that it can deliver more services.

Majola said that from its revenue enhancement projects, the district gets only five percent profit, which makes it dependent on grants. “Cemetery, water, sanitation, landfill and airport … do not bring in the money.”

He said poor planning is the reason why the municipality will not escape being a charity case. He said the district must come up with revenue enhancement projects that will generate income.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Bukelani Zuma echoed Majola’s comments. “This budget is not enough to uplift the lives of the poor, especially in the rural areas, because it does not cover much in terms of infrastructure there,” he said. “Debt collection is poor because the district does not benefit from those [government] departments that have outstanding payments.”

He stressed that revenue enhancement must be prioritised to give the district a good revenue base.

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