PORT ELIZABETH – Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has approved its Integrated Development Plan and an R11-billion budget for the 2017/2018 financial year.

The budget was approved with 66 votes at a full council meeting on Friday.

 

Opposition parties the African National Congress, African Independent Congress and the United Front voted against the budget. The opposition parties cited that the budget was not pro poor, neither did they believe it would create jobs.

Tariff increases will see Nelson Mandela Bay residents pay nine percent for water, sanitation and refuse.

Major slices of the budget will go to capital projects – over R221 million has been set aside for housing delivery and R168 million for the Integrated Transport System.

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Another sizeable chunk of the budget, totalling R300 million, will go towards the tarring and resurfacing of roads across the Metro.

An amount of R40 million will go towards the Bucket Eradication Programme.

The Assistance to the Poor (ATTP) Programme has an allocation of R580 million as part the Municipality’s indigent support to Metro households.

Budget and Treasury MMC, Retief Odendaal said that the budget aimed to ensure that the metro became an inclusive city.

“Previous administrations did not provide sufficient budget allocation to many communities, especially those in Uitenhage, Kwanobhule, Despatch, Khayamandi and the Northern Areas. The result can be seen in the rapid deteriorating infrastructure,”

“Just because you live on the periphery of this metro, does not mean that you should feature on the periphery of this budget,” said Odendaal.

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The ANC however, said the budget was a “Cape Town copy and paste” and was an attack on the poor.

Councillor Rory Riordan said that the budget did not seek to create jobs while new development projects would be kicked off in the “white areas”.

Riordan said there was a complete abandonment of building new community facilities, particularly in the townships.

“It completely overwhelms the suggestion that this is a pro poor budget, it is in fact an engineer’s budget that has abandoned the poor,” he said.

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Deputy Mayor, Mongameli Bobani was unusually quite during the council meeting on Friday.

He spoke on one occasion when expressing his views on the budget.

Before voting in favour of the budget he said: “Certain people go outside and lie, I want to put it clear that the UDM is part of this coalition government, the [United Democratic Movement] UDM is not behaving badly. The UDM is independent of the DA and sometimes we disagree. The UDM is a part of this coalition whether someone likes it or not and as the UDM we support this budget,” said Bobani.

 

African News Agency