Makhubo slashes service delivery budget while giving himself a raise
7 July 2020
A letter from the Speaker of Council, Cllr Nonceba Molwele, has revealed that Mayor Geoff Makhubo has been given until this Friday, 10 July 2020, to approve the City’s annual budget, with a Council Meeting now scheduled for this Thursday to attempt to do so.
This proposed budget is nothing short of a disaster for the residents of Johannesburg, and promises the complete collapse of service delivery infrastructure.
The budget proposes cuts that will impact the electricity, road, water and sewer networks. The near zeroing-out of the site and service project will prevent the large-scale housing relief to those living in informal settlements.
Johannesburg residents can now expect more electricity outages at a time when businesses are already suffering, more water losses, deterioration of our roads and less housing for those desperately in need. The next 12 months are going to be a period of regression, and suffering for the people and businesses of Johannesburg.
Below are merely a handful of examples of how the last circulated proposed budget, to be tabled this Thursday, will disinvest from the critical service delivery infrastructure in Johannesburg:
City Power capital budget reduced from R1,021 billion to R738 million
Department of Transport capital budget reduced from R1 billion to R683 million
Electrification of Informal Settlements – reduced from R250 million to R98 million
Installation of new public lighting – reduced from R50 million to R30 million
Site and Services - Formalisation of informal settlements across the City – reduced from R300 million over 2 years to R15 million over 3 years
Road Rehabilitation & Reconstruction – reduced from R300 million over 2 years to R113 million over 3 years
Resurfacing of Roads Renewal Roads – reduced from R300 million over 2 years to R139 million over the same period
Johannesburg Central: Planned Replacement: Sewermains – reduced from R180 million over 2 years to R10 million. This item has also been reduced to zero in the outer years.
Johannesburg Central: Planned Replacement: Watermains – reduced from R80 million over 2 years to R10 million. This item has also been reduced to zero in the outer years.
Midrand: Planned Replacement: Watermains. – reduced from R70 million over 2 years to R5 million.
Roodepoort/Diepsloot: Planned Replacement: Watermains – reduced from R90 million over 2 years to R5 million.
Sandton/Alexandra: Planned Replacement: Watermains – reduced from R100 million over 2 years to R20 million
Diepkloof Hostel Renewal – reduced from R40 million to R16 million in 2020/21.
Inner City Upgrading (Transitional/Emergency and Rental Stock) – reduced from R100 million over 2 years to R78 million
High-Risk Transformer replacement program – reduced from R125 million over 2 years to R55 million over the same period
Recabling of Traffic Signals – reduced from R80 million over 2 years to R40 million.
There is no question that the current ramifications of Covid-19 have impacted municipalities. What is equally clear is that no effort has been made to reprioritise expenditure in Johannesburg. The approach has simply imposed drastic cuts to service delivery priorities of all Johannesburg residents.
To demonstrate this, the budget proposes increases in salaries for the Mayor and Chief Whip which are above the maximum remuneration limits set for these office bearers set by COGTA. So, while Mayor Makhubo is willing to slash spend on service delivery priorities of the residents, he managed to propose a salary increase for himself beyond the maximum prescribed in the regulations, and far above inflation.
This budget promises suffering for the people of Johannesburg, across the board. Infrastructure backlogs will increase and this will manifest in the collapse of service delivery in Johannesburg.
At a time when economic recovery is essential and people are suffering, Mayor Makhubo has tabled a budget that offers them nothing but the decline of service delivery in Johannesburg.
The fact that Mayor Makhubo has been given until 9 July to pass this budget, into the second week of the new financial year, can only mean that they have secured the votes to pass this budget. As to which political parties would turn their back on the residents of Johannesburg and vote to impose this suffering, only time will tell.
Issued by Herman Mashaba, Founder, The People’s Dialogue, 7 July 2020