Herman Mashaba's City of Joburg budget not 'pro-poor'

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba delivers the state of the city address at the Winnie Mandela Council Chambers in Johannesburg.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba delivers the state of the city address at the Winnie Mandela Council Chambers in Johannesburg.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Opposition parties in the City of Joburg once again rejected mayor Herman Mashaba's budget yesterday, saying the tariff increases will further burden the poor.

The city was yesterday attempting to pass the R59-billion 2018/2019 budget that the opposition rejected last week.

The EFF was unhappy with water and electricity increases, saying the DA-led administration should consider the poor when making such increases.

"The budget must be funded by revenue-generating measures, so if those have been
revised, it means the entire budget must be revised.

"Consideration must be taken into account because the tariffs, as proposed by the executive, are too high and they must be reduced," EFF chief whip Musa Novela said.

He proposed that the water tariff increase be reduced from 14.2% to 13.2%, and the electricity tariff increase be lowered to 7.17% from 7.37%.

He accused the DA of claiming to be pro-poor, "yet there is nothing pro-poor" about the increased tariffs.

The ANC and Patriotic Alliance accused the DA of wanting to pass the budget without taking their views into consideration.

"You are not considering council's rejections, you just want to steamroll a decision," said former MMC for finance Geoffrey Makhubo.

The ANC said passing amendments should not be delegated to the city manager, but that it was council that had exclusive rights to consider amendments to the budget.

Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni acknowledged some of the criticism from the opposition, in particular the city's lack of adequately consulting members of the public on the proposed tariff hikes. He said they will do so in the future.

After adjournment of the special council meeting, Mashaba told Sowetan that as a coalition government they have accepted the EFF's recommendations and would fast-track a meeting with the budget steering committee.

If Mashaba fails to adjust the tariff increases by the end of this month, the DA-led City of Johannesburg risks being put under administration by the provincial government, which is led by the ANC.

The next special council meeting is on Monday.

X