FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 March 2016
ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY’S R41.6bn DRAFT 2016/17 BUDGET TABLED

EThekwini Municipality will allocate R14.8 billion of its 2016/17 capital budget to deal with infrastructure and household service needs and backlogs in order to advance economic growth. The Municipality acknowledges that structural poverty remains a challenge, with a large portion of the City's population still living in low to no income households, hence the R14.8bn being directed to new housing developments and interim servicing of informal settlements.

The City’s consolidated R41.6bn draft budget comprises a capital budget of R6.7bn and an operational budget of R34.9bn. One of the highlights of the capital budget is that almost 71% is dedicated towards providing basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and refuse removal together with housing. It reflects as a pro-poor budget and is focused on alleviating poverty and social imbalances through job creation, youth development and advancing the economy by creating an enabling platform for business to flourish.

Economic and environmental challenges currently being faced in South Africa will not deter the Municipality from achieving its goal of improving lives and catering to the needs of the people. Currently, about 75% of residents in the City have access to basic services, portraying that eThekwini Municipality boasts one of the best service delivery programmes in Africa.

EThekwini Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo, tabled the budget and said: “The draft 2016/17 budget is our financial plan to enable our Municipality to achieve its vision and mission through the Integrated Development Plan which is informed by our five-year programme and community or stakeholder inputs.”

“Provisions in this medium term budget continue to support government’s commitment to broadening service delivery, attracting investors and expanding investment in infrastructure, while taking into account the constrained fiscal environment,” said Nxumalo.

“The City's Social Package affirms our commitment to pushing back the frontiers of poverty by providing services to residents who cannot afford to pay. The cost of this social package is partially funded from the equitable share of R 2.3 billion provided by National Government. This package will assist poor households with access to water, electricity and sanitation.”

Job creation is one of the major priorities of government. The City has set a target of creating 29 000 work opportunities through the national government’s Expanded Public works Programme. An amount of R49.5m has been set aside in the 2016/17 financial year to facilitate youth development through initiatives like the Mayoral Student Relief Fund. A sum of R4.5million from this allocation will benefit 450 learners. Additionally, 680 000 permanent new jobs will be created through the City’s 65 flagship investment projects.

The recently adopted Economic Development Incentive policy seeks to attract development to the City by offering incentives with a long term view of growing revenue. The key focus here is on catalyst projects that will see the City investing about R2.5bn over the next three years in order to stimulate economic growth and job opportunities.

Water and electricity bulk purchases form a significant part of the budget. The current economic climate coupled with unfavourable external financial pressures on services has been taken into account when calculating proposed tariff increases for 2016/17.

The proposed tariff increases are:
  • Rates: 6.9%
  • Water: Domestic: 12.5%
  • Business: 15.9%
  • Electricity: 7.64%
  • Sanitation: 9.9%
  • Refuse Removal: 7.9%
The Municipal leadership will engage in extensive public participation and consultation at various venues throughout the City during April. The draft budget can also be viewed at City Hall or on the Municipal website www.durban.gov.za.

The community consultation schedule will be published in the print and electronic media as well as on all Municipal sites.
 
ENDS
 
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s spokesman, Thulani Mbatha.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za