AS of April 5, our municipality commenced with the annual democratic exercise of taking to the communities the five-year Integrated Development Plan and the council approved draft budget and for the communities’ constructive input prior to its final adoption. The municipality is consulting the Ugu community on a people’s draft service delivery budget of R1 115 239, 769, made up of a capital budget of R314 019 172 which will aid key municipal strategic focus areas which included among others; asset management, development and recuperation of municipal water and sanitation infrastructure and an operational budget of R801 220 597, with the main driving costs being provision of quality water and sanitation services.The municipality has made a sizable allocation for free basic water and sanitation services to the indigent communities at R64 529 000 for Umdoni Municipality, R57 040 000 for Umzumbe Municipality, R146 778 000 for Ray Nkonyeni Municipality and R42 632 000 for Umuziwabantu Municipality.For the development of water and sanitation infrastructure, R57 176 000 has been set aside for Umdoni Municipality, R85 130 000 for Umzumbe Municipality, and R99 952 000 for Ray Nkonyeni Municipality as well as R43 631 000 for Umuziwabantu Municipality.Taking into cognizance the country’s current inflation rate, we have a proposed tariff charge increase of 5,3% across the board.Much emphasis has also been made in the allocation of funding for the continuity of special programmes aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty, unemployment and inequality. To highlight a few, we have set aside R9 345 495 for the EPWP programme which is aimed at fighting poverty by creating employment opportunities, R500 000 for the Mayoral Bursary Fund, R550 000 for HIV and Aids programmes and R8 500 000 for community skills development.At the conclusion of this consultative process, community inputs will be taken into consideration and will inform the final budget for the 2018/19 financial year to be adopted by May 2018. As the District Municipality together with our family of local municipalities, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the communities that we have visited thus far for showing great interest in the proposed budget and for making some meaningful contributions on behalf of their communities. The communities still to be visited are also encouraged utilise this democratic process to their maximum benefit as we work together in moving Ugu District forward.