Lies and misinformation spread like wildfire – Dan Plato

Cape Town Mayor says it is not true city made massive profits from water tariffs last year

Council speech by the City's Executive Mayor, Dan Plato 

28 March 2019

Speaker, councillors, members of the public, media, good morning.

It has been four months since the new Mayoral Committee was appointed, and I have seen the renewed energy in this caucus. I have accompanied a number of the councillors in the communities that they serve to various public meetings, engagements and events, and this is what I like to see – our councillors getting out there, being visible and available to the public.

Earlier this year we allocated more funding during the adjustments budget towards safety and security, which means our residents will be seeing more law enforcement officers on the ground and more patrol cars on their streets. The South African Police Service (SAPS) which falls under the national government remains the primary safety structure, but we are doing what we can towards increasing safety in our city. The draft annual budget is being tabled today and I will be making some more announcements about delivering on the safety commitments I made when coming in to office last year. 

We also allocated more funding towards cleaning up our city in the adjustments budget, and this resulted in the launch of a city wide clean-up campaign this month. Our officials are going to have to be on top of their game, because over the last year our communities were not as clean as they should have been. At the same time, we need our residents to work with us to keep our neighbourhoods free of grime and litter, and I want to applaud those community members who have organised their own clean ups! I am glad that we are already seeing an improvement in some areas.

When it comes to social housing, I am sure our residents will be very pleased with what we have planned, and what we have already started, including the recent sod turning event for a development in Goodwood that will yield more than one thousand units. 

As many of you will know, I have always had an open door policy, because we are here to provide a service to the public, and we must be available. I meet daily with concerned residents, community organisations and many others. I’m also out in the communities, meeting residents, hosting public engagements and attending meetings where I am invited by the residents. Sometimes residents will have complaints, because things do fall through the cracks. We cannot be perfect all the time, but we try our best, and where we need to be better I am happy that our residents tell us. This is what makes us a caring city, and an accountable city. I’m a firm believer in open and honest engagement. 

However, I am seeing a very worrying trend on social media where lies and misinformation spread like wildfire. 

One of the latest examples of misinformation being spread is that the City has made massive profits from the water tariffs last year. This is complete nonsense, and we are actually more likely to see an under-recovery on our water tariffs, not a profit. But it is easy to make up information and spread it all over the internet.

The public must be careful about what they read on Twitter and Facebook. You trust that information at your own peril. The internet is abused by more people than ever before, which is perhaps why the ANC and other political parties are so keen on using and abusing it, to spread their misinformation and lies. 

Talk is cheap for the ANC because after all the looting and corruption and stealing from the tax payers, it’s all they can afford now. There is no more action or delivery from the ANC because they have no money to deliver services; it’s all in their politicians’ pockets. Just look at the train services. The President of South Africa had to wait three hours to catch a train last week. What an embarrassment. Our residents have to deal with this every day! 

Cape Town needs more trains, a safer rail service and a better run rail service. One just needs to ask any of the thousands of commuters who are forced to use the failing service every day. They have had to endure this poor service for years, and arrive at work two hours late, sometimes being fired because they are repeatedly late. This is not acceptable.  So I am glad to see that talks are happening with the National Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande about the City of Cape Town taking over the running of the rail network in the Metro. I have seen a change in tune over recent days, but I am confident that everyone will do what is best for commuters and put politics aside. I have faith in my Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase to see this through. 

Speaker, as the Mayor of this city I want to acknowledge our residents, and thank them for being the active and resilient citizens that they are. At our recent public hearing around the Bo-Kaap Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ), we had a full day of speakers from the community. They participated in a democratic process and today a report will serve before Council, recommending the granting of HPOZ status for the Bo-Kaap. 

The engagements I witnessed at the public hearing showed me that our residents can make their voices heard peacefully and effectively. 

Speaker, before I discuss the draft annual budget being tabled today, I want to address the load-shedding that the national government and ANC have unleashed on communities across the country and across our city. 

Eskom is broken and our president, who was tasked with turning it around several years ago as the head of the Eskom task team, clearly failed to make any impact. 

If Mr Ramaphosa couldn’t even fix Eskom, what chance have we got of him fixing the country? He’s even bringing back all the ministers implicated for corruption under the Zuma administration to serve in his new cabinet after May. But let’s not waste too much time talking about what we already know; that the ANC continues to be morally bankrupt and has nothing to offer the people of this country. 

As we too are reliant on Eskom for electricity delivery, we have tried to find ways to be less reliant on Eskom. One of those ways is to buy power directly from independent power producers. At the moment, national government will not allow us to do this, so we are taking them to court. 

Our residents have a right to electricity; it doesn’t matter where it comes from. If Eskom cannot provide it, then we should be able to make other plans, and that is exactly what we intend to do. This is why we have written to the High Court, requesting that our application to buy electricity from independent power producers be made urgent. There is a solution under the Democratic Alliance for the people of Cape Town and national government must not hold us back! We can keep houses running and businesses operating when the ANC turn the lights out.

Speaker, I would like to now address the proposed annual budget of the City of Cape Town, which will be tabled later today. For the 2019/2010 financial year, a proposed amount of R40,709 billion has been allocated for operating expenditure and R8, 313 billion for capital expenditure. 

The draft Service Delivery Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) One Year Corporate and Entities Scorecards for 2019/20 and the Draft Directorate Executive Summaries for 2019/20 will also be tabled today. The SDBIP gives effect to the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and the budget of this municipality, and is an expression of the objectives of the City of Cape Town in quantifiable outcomes that will be implemented by the administration for the 2019/2010 financial period.

This budget provides the detail of the funded commitments of the City to deliver on our IDP through programmes, projects and other initiatives, to ultimately improve the lives of all in the city. Deputy Mayor, and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Ian Neilson will cover the proposed budget in more detail later today, but let me touch on a few points. 

Draft 2019/2020 Budget:


Capital Budget

Operating Budget

Community Services & Health

307 694 644

3 764 770 709

Corporate Services

139 165 301

1 799 050 425

Economic Opportunities & Asset Management

388 275 152

1 333 719 404

Energy & Climate Change

862 558 445

11 960 195 157


40 968 920

2 978 586 987

Human Settlements

829 562 654

1 446 361 188

Office of the City Manager

913 290

206 354 231

Safety & Security

103 649 699

3 453 536 964

Spatial Planning & Environment

69 203 262

593 110 221


1 040 815 276

3 649 350 542

Urban Management

43 131 819

862 250 332

Water & Waste

4 486 958 722

8 662 510 682


8 312 897 184

40 709 796 216

What we are tabling today will require the public’s input, because as an open, transparent and accountable City, we work together with our residents. The annual budget document will be available for public comment until the end of April, at which point we will assess the feedback received, and table the final budget at our council meeting in May. 

The City’s budget takes into account the fiscal pressures facing government and residents and reflects the need to continue delivering effective services as well as to improve efficiencies so as to not put undue financial pressure on our residents.

The budget attempts to deliver on our responsibilities to Cape Town’s poorest residents, ensuring that funding is available for the delivery of the services that our residents deserve and respecting our ratepayers whose contributions we cannot do without.

This is an enabling budget; enabling in terms of creating the environment where job creation can continue, where housing is delivered, and where we deliver services so that our residents can enjoy their homes, their neighbourhoods, and the places where they relax and where they work.

Housing delivery remains a top priority of this administration as reflected in this year’s budget, where R2,3 billion is allocated to the newly established Human Settlements Directorate. The upgrading of our informal settlements has received a significant budget allocation with R589 million going towards the mainstreaming of basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers.

In order to decisively overcome the legacies of apartheid, the development of truly integrated human settlements must be prioritised. The bulk of the housing opportunities being developed are on well-located land close to public transport, jobs, government services and public amenities. This demonstrates how we are realising the objectives in the Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF) in terms of densification and prioritising projects located in the urban core. 

The rollout of title deeds, which has empowered communities across the city, will continue to be supported and accelerated, and I was very pleased to attend some of these in recent weeks and see the many happy faces of the recipients.

Speaker, in 2018 the City and its residents truly embodied our vision of ‘making progress possible, together’, by working together to avert the water crisis. Cape Town has now become a global leader in water conservation and we must all continue to be water-wise. 

I would like to see our city learn from our collective success of overcoming the water crisis, and apply these learnings in other areas that could become problematic in the future. One such area is traffic congestion. This is a problem that is not going to go away without a concerted effort from all parties. 

Most big cities have a well-functioning public transport system, but unfortunately across South Africa our rail network is collapsing under the national government. Yes, we want to take over the rail network, but that will not happen overnight. Very soon, together with the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, we will be announcing how we plan to work with our residents to alleviate traffic congestion on our roads.

As part of our efforts to tackle congestion, we have allocated the following to the Transport Directorate:

- Congestion Relief Projects - R165,8 million

- IRT Phase 2 A - R190,3 million

- Metro Roads: Reconstruction - R86,5 million

- Non-Motorised Transport Programme - R126,8 million

- Public Transport Interchange Programme - R98,2 million

- Roads: Rehabilitation - R91 million

I am looking forward to seeing the impact of this budget and the plans we will announce in the coming weeks.

To more effectively deliver services in the city, the revised Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP) was adopted alongside the establishment of the new Mayoral Committee. The new organisational structure is already bearing fruit, as it has allowed for more effective and efficient service delivery to the people of Cape Town and allowed for a renewed focus on the meeting of basic needs, because this is what our communities want. 

There is often a lot of focus on the new infrastructure that we are delivering, and we continue to deliver in this regard, but it is equally important that we also ensure the optimal maintenance of existing infrastructure and that we play our part to protect it from vandalism. We will be working with communities to engage them in helping to play their part too in protecting this infrastructure so that our limited resources are not unnecessarily diverted and to ensure that all communities have access to high quality and functional infrastructure.

Speaker, I want to repeat here today what I have said before - crime and grime go hand-in-hand and create an unsafe environment for communities across the city. While education, skills development and job creation remain the fundamental means through which we can increase safety, we unfortunately also need to pick up the slack from the under-resourcing of the SAPS. 

This is why, in addition to the extra 100 Law enforcement officers we announced earlier this year, the budget that is being tabled today will allow us to recruit a further 200 officers across the Law Enforcement, Traffic and Metro Police departments, for the people of Cape Town. We will also ensure that the new staff are equipped with the necessary vehicles to assist them in carrying out their duties.

We need our residents to feel safe and in the countless public meetings I have attended in recent years and in recent months as Mayor, this is what they have been asking for. 

I must take this opportunity to say a special thank you to the thousands of neighbourhood watch members across this city, who volunteer their time to help keep our communities safe and act as a critical force multiplier. They do this, often after a long day of work, and at night into the early hours of the morning. We hosted an awards ceremony over the weekend to honour their selfless dedication and I was truly humbled to see how many of our residents are playing their part to keep their neighbourhoods safe.

I want to thank all the councillors and the City officials for all the hard work that they do. I have seen the renewed energy in this administration, and I am sure our communities are feeling it too, so thank you for going the extra mile for the people of Cape Town. 

In conclusion, I want to emphasise that this budget is focused on and committed to directing resources where they are needed most and where they will have the biggest impact, so that we can continue to make progress possible together.

Issued by Lyndon Khan, Mayoral Media Officer, Office of the Executive Mayor, 28 March 2019