Mandela Bay forced to slash budget

WHILE the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality loses millions as a result of cable theft every year, electricity maintenance projects to the tune of R5-million in the city's 2012-13 budget have been put on ice.

The Bay's budget and Integrated Development Plan were adopted on Friday night amid high drama at the Old Woolboard Exchange Building in Military Road.

Acting chief financial officer Selwyn Thys said R120-million had been slashed from the budget in order to get the approval of national Treasury.

Thys cut R18.4-million from the capital budget and R102-million from the operating budget. The cuts in the operating budget include: R32-million from the filling of critical vacancies, leaving R54-million; R50-million from the operation efficiencies work plan; and R20-million for sports development.

Budget amounts to R8.9-bn, of which R1.5-billion is for the capital budget and R7.4-billion for the operating budget.

The R18.4-million in capital projects that will have to be placed on hold until the city can maintain a 95% revenue collection rate include: R5-million for the maintenance and refurbishment of electricity in Summerstrand, Newton Park, Despatch, Walmer, Fairview, Hunters Retreat and the Western suburbs; R8-million for the Chatty stormwater improvements and repair of roads and bridges; R3million for the budget and treasury department budget; while R2-million for computers and software for the corporate services' budget has been cut.