- The City of Cape Town will petition the Local Government Bargaining Council not to award salary increases to staff and councillors in the new financial year.
- The ANC caucus labelled the move a "direct and disingenuous attack on organised labour".
- The proposed annual budget for 2021/22 is R56.48 billion, of which R48 billion is allocated to the operational budget, while R8.4 billion is allocated to the capital budget.
No salary increases should be awarded to City of Cape Town staff and councillors in the 2021/22 financial year, according to Mayor Dan Plato.
He made the announcement during the tabling of the City's proposed annual budget which will be issued for public comment.
Plato said while he understood it had been a "hard year for everyone … we all need to make sacrifices to achieve longer-term sustainability".
"While the private sector continues to take strain, there is simply no way that the public sector, by virtue of being subject to collective agreements, should impose further strain on the residents we serve," he added on Wednesday.
The City will petition the Local Government Bargaining Council not to award the salary increases.
"Should the bargaining council not agree to our request, and bind us to making ill-advised increases, the City's staff numbers will have to be decreased as there simply are not enough funds for both," Plato said.
But the ANC caucus in the City labelled the move on Thursday a "direct and disingenuous attack on organised labour".
"The norm is that organised labour negotiates with Salga [SA Local Government Association] about increases. Once a decision is made, it's expected to be announced by the Local Government Bargaining Council in July," spokesperson Fiona Abrahams said, adding Plato "wants to anger the unions".
"Plato plays no role in this process. His announcement is an indication of the poor calibre of leadership we have in the City of Cape Town."
Plato said the City's cost containment policy had reduced its dependency on consultants and other contracted services and it continued to re-assess the use of office accommodation "in response to the relative success that we have had in shifting some City functions onto electronic platforms".
He added the budget, presented on Wednesday, was prepared during a time of global uncertainty amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The proposed annual budget for 2021/22 was R56.48 billion, of which R48 billion would be allocated to the operational budget, and R8.4 billion to the capital budget, Plato said.
Through "extensive expenditure cuts", the rates and tariff increases had been "kept to an absolute minimum" with a 4.5% increase for rates, 5% increase for water and sanitation, and 3.5% for refuse removal, he added.
The electricity tariff would be increased by 13%, with "residents being spared the full increase of 15.6% imposed by Eskom", Plato said.
"In light of the pressure on the national budget, and the national government budget cuts, we will also have less funding available to fund our activities.
"Despite these constraints, we have ensured the prioritisation of our capital expenditure programme, repairs and maintenance provision and expenditure that is required to ensure ongoing delivery of basic services to all residents.
"We need to ensure that we can deliver these services as cost effectively as possible and will continue to pursue actions, which mitigate service delivery cost increases, including a concerted effort to minimise the incidence of unlawful land occupation and vandalism, which places an inordinate burden on service delivery."
He added the budget had been a "careful balancing act" between meeting the service delivery needs of all businesses and residents "in these trying times", and stemming further economic decline.