Another failed attempt to pass the Joburg budget

2018-06-04 13:44
Johannesburg (iStock)

Johannesburg (iStock)

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City of Johannesburg councillors will attempt to finally pass the metro's budget on Friday after another attempt to do so failed on Monday.

The metro has until the end of June - which is its financial year end - to do this or be possibly placed under administration by the provincial government.

A R59bn budget was presented before the council last week, but was not adopted as councillors rejected tariff increases.

While councillors from the ANC and the Patriotic Alliance rejected the budget, the EFF, which has supported the DA's bid to govern the City and in council, abstained.

"Let's not cut corners," said the EFF's chief whip in council, Musa Novela.

"Let's go revise the budget and come and table it again before the council."

COLUMN: Joburg has a new approach to budgeting - how it will improve service delivery

DA accused of attempting to 'steamroll' decision

The ANC rejected the proposal.

The City's former mayor Parks Tau said the budget, with its current tariffs, was not pro-poor. He also questioned the processes which were being used in getting the City's budget approved.

"I was raising matters of illegalities. I thought it was important that the executive remedies those," Tau later said outside of council.

He said that passing amendments could not be delegated to the city manager, but that it was council that had the exclusive right to consider amendments to the budget.

The City's former member of the mayoral committee for finance Geoff Makhubo accused the speaker of council, Vasco da Gama, of attempting to mislead people. He also claimed the DA was attempting to once again get a rejected budget approved.

"You are not considering council's rejections. You just want to steamroll a decision," claimed Makhubo.

Novela said the EFF would not discuss why it refused to vote in the previous sitting, but proceeded to announce his political party's proposals to the current budget.

Public consultations

"We recommend that instead of 7.37% increments on electricity, why can't the City consider lowering the tariffs to 7.17% to reduce the burden on residents of the City?

"On water and sanitation; if Rand Water gives you 12.2% and we [are] a pro-poor government, why do we say we will increase it by 14.2%? There is nothing pro-poor about that," he said.

The City's member of the mayoral committee for finance Funzela Ngobeni acknowledged some of the criticism, particularly on whether the City had adequately consulted members of the public on the proposed tariff hikes.

"Going forward we are engaging them," Ngobeni said.

"There are obvious rebates that we are offering as a City to cushion the poor residents, and those that cannot afford."

Da Gama adjourned council after announcing that a special sitting on the matter would take place on Friday.

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