The Democratic Alliance will not be supporting the approval of the city budget in its current form in council tomorrow as it does not adequately address the demands of an opportunity city. We propose that the budget be referred back to the Budget monitoring committee so that the inputs of all parties can be properly considered.
The proposed double digit increases of 9,5% for property rates, 12,2% for electricity, 13% for water, 12% for sanitation and 11% for refuse removal are unaffordable. These increases, palmed off annually onto the public, continue a fiscally iniquitous trend of unsustainable increases over the past several years and will push many families and businesses, who are already struggling financially, to the brink.
The public need to be reminded that these increases are still likely to be accompanied by an additional significant electricity tariff hike from Eskom, once NERSA has considered submissions made.
The people of the metro are already buckling under the burden of increasing financial hardship hence we cannot support increases of such a magnitude. The public are unfairly being made to pay for the continued waste and inefficiencies that remain as yet unaddressed, such as water and electricity losses in the region of R500 million per annum.
Coupled to this yet another round of inadequate and failed public participation in respect of the budget and the Integrated Development Plan. The municipality has a dismal track record of public participation, which culminated in a court order last year, compelling the city to conduct proper, meaningful participation as is required by law.
Again this did not happen as meetings were frequently cancelled, not advertised in good time and were poorly attended. The response of the greater public to the entire process is a telling indicator of the level of confidence that our communities have in the institution.
Real freedom means living in a city where all disadvantaged communities are treated fairly in respect of the budget, where not only those who still suffer as a result of the historic imbalances of the past can be uplifted and services provided, but where those who pay for their services are equally assured of value for money in a municipality where waste and corruption are rooted out.
DA caucus leader Cllr Retief Odendaal will be unpacking in detail exactly why we will not be supporting this budget in council tomorrow morning.
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