PUBLIC COMMENTS ON THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN DRAFT BUDGET (2018/19)
The Executive Deputy Mayor pointed out that the City received extensive public input on the draft budget for 2018/19 and that these mainly relate to the proposed increase in the water tariffs.
The Executive Mayor informed the meeting that, due to the vast number of comments received, a disc containing all comments and/or objections would be made available to all councillors.
It is RECOMMENDED that:
- the public participation process conducted in respect of the draft budget for 2018/2019 be noted;
- the changes resulting from public comments already included in the budget be approved;
- the budget be further amended as a consequence of the public comments received where appropriate and/or necessary;
- appropriate responses be given to all respondents on the budget, where possible;
- comments be referred to the relevant Directorates for consideration in terms of their available resources or realignment of their implementation plans;
- the comments/ objections received be considered in current and future budget processes
Due to the vast number of individual comments and/or objections which were received and the limited time available for processing same, Directorates were further engaged in scrutinising and responding to comments at the time of finalisation of this report.
The major area of concern, which emanated from the Budget Public Participation Process, was the increase in the Electricity, Solid Waste, and Water and Sanitation, tariffs as well as the increase in the Property Rates.
Residents proposed that the fixed charge of R150-00 for electricity be scrapped and proposed that the electricity tariff increase should be CPI based.
WATER AND SANITATION
The main objection received from the residents was the proposed increase in the water tariff being excessive, notwithstanding the fact that they had reduced their water consumption by almost half, as they had been requested to do by the City.
Residents also vehemently objected to the increase in the Sanitation tariff alluding to the perceived fact that this was not justified as evidenced by the high frequency of blocked drains and ageing sewerage infrastructure that needed to be upgraded and regularly maintained.
Residents objected to the proposed percentage increase, as same is considered in the context of their total municipal bill/account.
It was proposed that the formula for calculating property rates be based on household income and not property value. This is due to the increase in the value of the property over many years which outstrips the increase in disposable household income. It would apply particularly in the instance where a resident does not qualify for indigent relief and whose household income is insufficient to bear the cost of the increase.
Residents proposed that the rates for removal of refuse should be based on the CPI.
The filming industry expressed opposition to the tariffs on the basis that it will have a negative impact on the industry. This was referred to the relevant Directorate for consideration.
An array of comments called for interventions in specific areas (wards and suburbs) and cover a broad range of needs including, inter alia, upgrading and new community centres, making funds available for arts and culture in disadvantaged wards, upgrading of informal settlements and services to backyarders, improved and new human settlements, economic development, safe and secure environments, access to better health facilities, recreational facilities development, restoring dignity, public infrastructure upgrades, investing in the youth and improving mobility, and increased Metro and SAPS visibility, in order to reduce and manage crime in various communities.