City of Joburg's coffers are looking good‚ says mayor Herman Mashaba

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba at his offices in Braamfontein.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba at his offices in Braamfontein.

The City of Johannesburg has strengthened its financial position according to its unaudited financial statements‚ mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday.

He said the city closed the 2017/18 financial year‚ which ended on June 30‚ in a stronger financial position compared with that achieved at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

Mashaba said in a statement that the ANC’s claim that the city faced imminent financial collapse did not materialise‚ and that the city continued to strengthen its financial position.

He said the capital expenditure level was at 89% of its expenditure budget according to the unaudited statements‚ and that it had improved from 78% in the 2016/17 financial year. Mashaba said the city had spent 98% of the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG).

He said the USDG made up the vast majority of the grant funding‚ and supported municipalities' work in infrastructure development. “This is particularly critical given the massive infrastructural backlogs impacting service delivery in Johannesburg‚” Mashaba said. In terms of the housing department‚ he noted that it had spent 89% of its capital budget and 100% of USDG funding‚ “despite being in a weak position only a few months ago.” Mashaba had appointed the African Christian Democratic Party’s Meshack van Wyk in May as housing MMC‚ after he axed Mzobanzi Ntuli of the IFP from the post.

Mashaba said central to the improved performance was intensified efforts in revenue optimisation. “Since coming into office‚ we have placed our focus on those who can pay but do not and the massive corruption in the revenue space. These efforts saw revenue levels increase from R32.4bn in 2016/17 to R35.2bn in 2017/18‚” Mashaba said. He said the city’s “Operation Buya Mthetho” resulted in the collection of R581m in revenue. He also said the city paid back R6bn in loans which were due in 2017/18.

“While these numbers are subject to the changes arising from the audit process with the auditor-general‚ there can be no doubt that these changes represent sizeable improvements from 2016-17‚” Mashaba said.

He added‚ however‚ that even though the improvements were promising‚ that “we cannot afford to regard even this to be good enough. It does‚ however‚ demonstrate strong upward movement in our performance‚ demonstrating that we will continue to improve the city’s performance to the benefit of our residents.”

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