eThekwini budget not passed, parties want expenses tightened up

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Nicole Graham, the DA's caucus leader in the eThekwini Municipality.
Nicole Graham, the DA's caucus leader in the eThekwini Municipality.
Thabiso Goba
  • The eThekwini budget was tabled, but failed to be passed.
  • Opposition parties raised concerns after an all-day sitting.
  • They say there are still too many frivolous expenses and called for more to be done.

In an all-day sitting of the council, the R55.4 billion eThekwini Metro budget was tabled, but not passed.

There were calls, led by the DA and IFP, for further consultation to tighten up some expenses.

In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the council now has seven days to potentially make changes.

Councillors also raised concerns that they only received a copy of the budget over the weekend, which allowed for little time to peruse the numbers.

The ANC supported the move, saying there was a need to "firm" up certain expenses.

The DA's caucus leader, Nicole Graham, said several budgetary issues raised by the party were not addressed in its present form.

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"In its current format, the DA will not support this budget. There are too many worries and our concerns have been discussed, but not addressed. We are looking for solutions and concessions that communities desperately want.

"We ask that urgent engagements be held over the coming days in order to find these solutions and we will reconsider our options," she said.

ANC deputy secretary Nkosenhle Madlala concurred, saying their concerns had to be addressed.

"Councillor Graham said there were frills in the budget. We need time to deal with those issues and see how we can firm that up. What we are doing [during Tuesday's sitting of the budget] is consideration. We must give ourselves time... it says [law] that we have seven days to approve the budget tabled and deliberated upon.

"When we come back, we would have firmed up on the concerns arising. Waiting for three months and readjusting will take too long. It needs to happen now. There are areas to move money to have things correctly."

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the budget had to be re-evaluated.

"This is not a good budget. There are so many issues of overtime, water sanitation concerns and many others. It is not fair that we are going to pass the budget with all those issues. We must table the budget, but come back in seven days to correct it."

He said there was a need to bring public consultation to the fore.

"When you look at our budget, we talk of R4.9 billion capital budget, which means there is a huge amount that is operational. During public consultation, people were complaining about services. When will we give them those services?"

The council will reconvene on 7 June.

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