eThekwini vows to uplift poor people

THE eThekwini municipality has vowed to continue providing a better life to the poor in a balanced and efficient manner.

The municipality said it was mindful that it would have to cross-subsidise areas that lack basic needs.

Tabling the draft budget to the council last week, city manager Mike Sutcliffe said despite the recession, the collection of rates for services was very reasonable at 95percent.

The 2010-11 draft budget, totalling R26billion, consisting of R20,5billion for operational expenditure and R5,3billion for capital spending, was welcomed by the council.

Sutcliffe said the municipality would continue to throw lifelines to poor ratepayers who in the main depended on social grants.

"The critical issues that affect our budgeting are water loss through illegal connections, electricity theft and cutbacks in subsidies from other spheres of government.

"We have a good financial planning model that informs the needs in respect of expenditure, in particular capitaland maintenance and the impact on rates and tariff increases," he said.