ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
31 May 2016
 
EThekwini's 2016/17 Financial Year Budget Adopted
 
Durban’s ambitious service delivery and development plans
 
EThekwini Municipality plans to step up efforts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor by creating sustainable economic growth and development opportunities for the youth and women.
 
Also high on the Municipality’s agenda is to create an alternative agricultural value chain which will benefit existing and emerging farmers, thus responding to issues of food security.
 
Delivering the City’s 2016/17 Budget speech and service delivery track record over the past five years to a packed auditorium at City Hall today, 31 May 2016, Mayor James Nxumalo said the City had moved from the Manase report to a clean audit achieved in the 2014/15 financial year.
 
“We are pleased that during our term of office we witnessed an upward trend in compliance with key legislation. A good example of this is that there are no councillors doing business with the City. We hope that this achievement will be carried through in the new administration,” said Nxumalo.
 
Nxumalo also outlined the plans for the City going forward including the catalytic projects that will transform the City’s landscape and promote future growth and development.
 
The budget, covered the theme “together advancing people’s power in eThekwini” - which effectively means empowering residents so that they are able to contribute to the mainstream economy and not be perpetually dependent on the state.
 
He said the budget has grown from R31.7 billion in 2011 to R41.6 billion this year. The City’s capital budget has grown from R5.3 billion to R6.7 billion. Coupled with this achievement, the City has over R6 billion in terms of cash-on-hand, Nxumalo added.
 
BUDGET FOR 2016/17
 
Nxumalo said the City’s budget was a strategic response to the economic climate but also represents the views of residents, business and other stakeholders including the development needs of the new areas to be incorporated into eThekwini Municipality’s boundaries.
 
He said the priorities to be addressed during the 2016/17 financial year include service delivery backlogs, human settlements, youth and women empowerment, economic growth and development, financial sustainability, climate change and mitigation, water and drought challenges, access to public transport, human capital development, job creation, fighting diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS as well as creating a safer and socially cohesive City.
 
Nxumalo said the targets for the next three years, among others, includes:
 
•Building 15 500 houses;
 
•Providing 12 538 serviced sites;
 
•Provide 1090 gap market housing opportunities;
 
•Upgrading 1 400 pre-1994 housing stock;
 
•Installing 37 500 water connections including newly incorporated areas;
 
•Installing 24 000 sewer connections;
 
•Providing 10 500 rural sanitation;
 
•Providing 90 000 electricity connections;
 
•Upgrading 174 clinics;
 
•Creating 90 000 Expanded Public Works Programme opportunities;
 
•Converting 38 kilometres of gravel to black-top; and
 
•Construction of four fire stations.
 
•He said the 2016/17 consolidated budget of R41.6 billion supports government’s commitment to broadening service delivery, attracting investors and expanding infrastructure.
 
He said the operating budget, which funds the continued provision of services provided by the Municipality, increased from R30.1 billion in 2.14/15 to R33.1 billion in 2015/16. This amount will increase to R34.9 billion in 2016/17.
 
Furthermore, R100 million has been set for youth programmes, he said. This includes the artisans’ programme, which seeks to facilitate the training of 10 000 youth over three years as skilled artisans which will cost R471 million. The adopted Expanded Public Works Programme which seeks to address unemployment and poverty alleviation has created over 11 000 work opportunities.
 
Nxumalo said with over 1 500 kilometres of optic fibre cables laid, free WiFi was available at all Municipal libraries. Before the end of June, the City expects to launch free WiFi in all the major townships, rural areas and areas around universities or where there is a high concentration of students, he said.
 
Nxumalo said the City has established the City Planning Commission, the first in the country. The main objective of the Commission is to guide the Municipality on a wide range of issues pertaining to the development of its long term growth and development strategy.
 
TARIFF INCREASES
 
Nxumalo said tariff increases have been drafted taking into account the current economic climate, increase bulk purchases cross subsidisation, slow growth percentages and the decrease in consumption of water and electricity.
 
It should be noted that the rates increase is in-line with inflation. The increase to the water tariff linked to the increase in the Umgeni water tariff increase of 11.2%. Electricity tariff increase is due to the increase of 7.86% from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. The tariff for sanitation is linked to the increase of the bulk water purchase.
 
He said the main tariff increases for the 2016/17 financial year are:
 
•6.9 % for assessment rates;
 
•12.5 % for residential water;
 
•15.9 % for business water;
 
•7.64 % for electricity charges;
 
•9.9 % for sanitation and;
 
•7.9 % for refuse removal.
 
Lastly, Nxumalo said commitment was needed from all stakeholders going forward to achieve the City’s collective aspirations.
 
“We must act strongly against those that destroy public facilities in the name of democracy. We are also against so-called businesses that want to stop work and prevent Council employees from carrying out the work required by residents. We also appeal to workers not to use unreasonable means to demonstrate their grievances,” he said.
 
Nxumalo said in the same vein the City must also act speedily and honestly to address issues that affect employees to ensure a harmonious labour relations environment was created.
 
“Everything we have done since we have been in office has been geared towards changing the materiel conditions of our people. This budget is really our instrument to enhance that,” he added.
 
The Municipality's budget for the 2016/17 financial year was approved by Council.
 
ENDS
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
 
For more information members of the media can contact Municipal spokesman Thulani Mbatha on 031 311 4820 or email: thulani.mbatha1@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za
Please read this confidentiality disclaimer: http://www.durban.gov.za/Pages/edisclaimer.aspx