WE have concluded the IDP and draft budget road shows where we presented our service delivery draft budget of R1 325 004 007 to the Ugu district community for comment for the 2017/18 fiscal year this week.Council-approved draft budget received the nod across the district, however, further service delivery requests are to be considered before the final council approval this month.Requests raised for council’s favourable consideration included increased access to water and installation of VIP toilets in rural areas and the upgrade of existing water and sanitation infrastructure in the urban sphere of the district. Our community also showed great interest in our mayoralty programmes such as the Mayoral Bursary Fund, which has a proposed budget of R500 000. This programme has assisted 40 tertiary students, awarding bursaries worth R430 000. Of those, 37 were beneficiaries of R10 000 bursaries and three were awarded full bursaries worth R20 000 in this financial year. Another was youth development and the elderly.The highlights of the draft budget included the announcements of an operational budget of R964 853 007 which will see, among other operational programmes, the implementation of all water and sanitation infrastructure development. The Pipeline Replacement Project has a proposed budget of R33 500 000, total water budget of R217 351 000, a total sanitation budget of R61 500 000 and a total VIP installation budget of R15 000 000. Our water and sanitation service’s long-term goal is to ensure that all our infrastructure can meet the demand even during the busiest times of the year where we see an influx of visitors.Our capital budget of R360 151 000 will aid key municipal strategic focus areas, including asset management and the improvement of municipal infrastructure.During the IDP and draft budget road shows, we also identified a need to accelerate our poverty alleviation programme and handed over food parcels to 38 poverty-stricken families in the four municipalities under our district. Some families were given planting seeds with the aim of encouraging them to start vegetable gardens and fight poverty. With the winter approaching, we also donated winter blankets to needy families.Ugu District Municipality promotes working together to create an environment that is friendly, responsive, accountable, effective and efficient for local communities.