Mashaba's Joburg budget finally passed

It was a case of third time lucky for Mayor Herman Mashaba, as the council of the City of Johannesburg finally gave his budget the green light.

Previous attempts to get the budget approved by council had failed, with opposition parties rejecting the proposed tariff hikes for water and electricity.

The ANC and other smaller opposition parties that opposed the budget, arguing it was not pro-poor, did not return to the council chambers to vote on it.  

The EFF, which has an ongoing agreement to support the DA in council gave the budget its seal of approval, after the issues it had raised where resolved. 

It wanted electricity tariffs to be reduced from 7.37% to 7.1% and for water increases to be changed from 14.2% to 13.2%.

Getting the nod from 137 councillors

137 councillors approved the 2018/2019 budget, which was pegged at R59bn, in spite of the absence of the ANC, the Patriotic Alliance and Al-Jamah.

Mashaba told journalists after the sitting that he had mixed feelings.

"It's that the ANC didn't want to really be part of this moment, so we can pass this budget and serve the residents of the city of Joburg," said Mashaba. 

"[I'm] really disappointed in the ANC for not being part of this, even if they were against it. They could have just voted against it," he said.

Mashaba acknowledged that it had been a tough process getting his budget approved.

The City faced the possibility of being placed under administration if the budget was not passed by end of June.

An anti-poor budget

The ANC has continuously criticised the budget, labelling it anti-poor. 

"The DA administration is quite blatantly ignoring the inputs of residents including the political parties represented here in council. All they are doing is to take the inputs of the EFF into budget," said the ANC's Johannesburg spokesperson, Jolidee Matongo.

"As the ANC, we decided that we are not going to be part of a process that totally ignores the vast majority of the representatives of the people of Joburg, and therefore decided not to be part of this process," he said.

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