Port Elizabeth – The Nelson Mandela Bay Budget put forward
by new Mayor Danny Jordaan was passed on Thursday in an at times heated debate
between political parties.
The acceptance of the budget means Nelson Mandela Bay
residents will see increases of 9.5% for property rates, 12.2% for electricity,
13% for water, 12% for sanitation and 11% for refuse removal from July.
In terms of the tariff increases, Jordaan said the increases
compared favourably with other metros and pointed out that the current tariff
hike for electricity was lower than the hike in rates that the municipality
would have to pay Eskom.
“We did the best we could, with the little we had in the
little time we had,” he said.
“Let me just remind everybody I worked full time on the
budget, not part time,” Jordaan said in his opening remarks.
Jordaan acknowledged that the city had been battling
financially and was suffering a decline in economic growth.
“Our city is run inefficiently and we have been charging
consumers progressively higher rates without an improvement in the service
quality. We are making it difficult for businesses to invest and do business in
this city and at the same time our unemployment levels are at an all time high
and our relationship with our stakeholders is no good,” he said.
Jordaan said in order to address this, the municipality had
to address weaknesses in the administration, cut out inefficiencies, invest in economic
development and infrastructure.
Jordaan said the municipality would have to focus on service
delivery, water and electricity losses needed to be contained and the
municipality had to increase collection rates.
Jordaan pointed out that the municipality had lost R326m in
water and electricity losses were in excess of R208m for the last financial
“Each rand that we spend must add maximum value to the
wealth of the community and we have to extract maximum value from our
suppliers,” he said.
Jordaan also lamented the high levels of unauthorised
expenditure in the municipality and said that this would not be tolerated.
“The overwhelming majority of our staff members are honest
dedicated people who take pride in their work, however there are a few who
continue to waste resources in the municipality and heads must roll and I
intend to hold officials responsible,” he said.
Jordaan said the internal audit team had been instructed to
set up an anti- corruption hotline and he encouraged members of the public and
whistle blowers to make use of the hotline once it was established.
The meeting was disrupted by a small group of disgruntled
municipal employees who toyi-toyed in the foyer and stormed the council
chambers. Netwerk24 reported that they wanted assurances that a
national intervention team would not take over their work. Security guards were
called and teargas was fired in the foyer before they dispersed.