City of Joburg finally passes budget for financial year 2020/21 after delay
The City of Johannesburg has finally passed its belated budget for the financial year 2020/2021.
Finance MMC Jolidee Matongo on Thursday tabled a R68,1bn budget in a virtual council meeting.
Matongo’s budget before council included a capital budget of R7,5bn.
The country’s economic, which is run by an ANC-led coalition, failed to pass its budget by the end of June prompting cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Lebogang Maile to give them a deadline until Friday to do so. Their failure shocked the local government sphere as it had implications at worse of the council being dissolved and placed under administration.
In the budget, Matongo prioritised relief for pensioners in light of the financial pressures brought by Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the global economy upside down and the City of Johannesburg has not been an exception,” said MMC Matongo.
He announced that the city, after public concerns, decided to withdraw the proposed fixed charges of R200 for residential and R400 for commercial pre-paid electricity.
Property rates will increase by 4%, water tariffs by 6,6% and electricity by 6,23%.
“In addition to these tariff relief interventions, the pensioner income qualifying criteria has increased by 6%. This means a pensioner with a property value of below R2,5m and an income of below
R10,338 for the lower limit or below R17,719 for the upper limit, will receive a 100% rebate on their rates,” Matongo said.
Over R1bn was set aside for job creation and small business engagement through projects such as sewer upgrades, storm water upgrades, tarring of roads and housing developments. These will be implemented in places such as Orange Farm, Lakeside, Drieziek, Kapok, Ivory Park, Ebony Park, Mayibuye, Riverlea and Kliptown.
The city will employ 1,350 people across its 135 wards – an initiative that will see each ward have a minimum of 10 people working daily to augment the services provided by the council.
A total of 3,500 more housing units to will be built in in Region A, B, D and G in addition to the ongoing mega projects in Lufhereng, Fleurhof, South Hills and Lehae.
A total of R1,2bn has been allocated for the formalisation of informal settlements over the medium term.
New fire engines will be procured at a cost of R200m.
Seed funding of R50m has been set aside for youth development programmes in partnership with provincial and national government.
The city has also allocated R800m over the next three years for the purchase of new Rea Vaya buses.
Hostels upgraded will receive R156m over the same period and R105m will be spent on the upgrade of flats and old age homes.
Matongo said in addition to the R45m that was allocated in June this year for the roll-out of the free Joburg wi-fi, an additional R40m has been availed to expand access to free wi-fi to hostels, flats, student villages and old age homes.
An allocation of R780m over the medium term has been set aside for the tarring of gravel roads across the city.
Storm water upgraded will be upgraded at a cost of R820m, including Protea Glen.
The city further set aside R440m over the next three years for the construction and upgrade of bridges.
City Power has been allocated a three-year capital budget of R2,6bn which will fund the provision of public lighting at R205m, the electrification of informal settlements at R498m and the electrification of mega housing projects at R100m.
Pikitup received an operating budget of R3bn for a ward-by-ward approach to waste management in the city.
Co-operatives will be appointed across all regions and they in turn will appoint, on a short-term basis, at least 15 people per ward to keep the city clean.