The following remarks were delivered today at a press conference of coalition partners unpacking the 2018/2019 metro budgets passed in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. The representatives consisted of DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, Cope President Mosiuoa Lekota, ACDP National Chairperson Jo-Ann Downs, FF+ Leader Pieter Groenewald, and IFP Mayco Member for Transport in Johannesburg Nonhlanhla Makhuba.
In the 2016 Local Government Elections, after over 20 years of ANC government neglect, the people rightly fired the ANC and chose alternative governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. From the moment the coalition governments assumed office in these metros, they all set out with a shared vision: to aggressively crush corruption, wage an unrelenting war on crime, shape an enabling environment for job creation and deliver nothing but the highest standard of services to all.
While there is still a long journey and many more complex problems for these coalition governments to solve, huge progress continues to be made.
Last month, the coalition governments in the City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay in total passed more than a R100 billion in budgets for the 2018/19 financial year. What distinguishes these budgets from previous metro budgets under the ANC is that they are all singularly focused on pro-poor basic service delivery improvements, and on creating an enabling environment for job creation, defeating corruption, and winning the fight against crime.
Our aim is simple: our governments must distinguish themselves by delivering nothing but the best services to all residents of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Every coalition government has crafted a budget that prioritises basic service delivery over luxuries. This is evidence of coalition governments that are fiscally responsible with the people’s money.
Under the coalition government in Johannesburg, the City is well on its way to strengthening its hand as the economic powerhouse of Africa. The City of Johannesburg passed a R58.9 billion budget that is rightly aimed at fixing the financial position of Johannesburg, which was left close to bankruptcy by a billing crisis and rampant corruption. It has achieved this by prioritising spending on infrastructure investment, pro-poor development and visible service delivery.
To this end, the Diphetogo Programme has been the clarion call of the City. The Diphetogo Service Delivery Budget includes budget for infrastructural investment, pro-poor service delivery and the fight against drugs and crime.
Over the next three years more than R1 billion will be invested in the tarring of gravel roads through spending on average R357 million each year – a R40 million per year increase. Residents of Johannesburg can expect 6 000 less pipe bursts over the next year as the City has apportioned almost R1 billion to its water network. The City has doubled the amount allocated to re-cabling old intersections and installing traffic light battery packs, ensuring that traffic light faults at intersections will drop by nearly three quarters. Moreover, almost R200 million has been set aside to solve the residual backlog over the next three years.
This coalition government has stressed the fundamental importance of the people’s money being directed to people who need it the most – the poor and vulnerable. That is why next year’s housing budget of almost R1.5 billion is by far the largest ever in the history of the City.
To make residents feel safer, three Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centres will be built with the R12.5 million budgeted to do so. There is also an increase in capital expenditure for public lights to R45 million, which will see the installation of 2 300 new lights in public areas across the City.
The leadership team behind the Capital’s revival have ambitious plans for the people of Tshwane. The City of Tshwane’s vision will lead to the improvement of basic service delivery, strengthening of public safety, prioritise the poor, rapid growth of the economy and creation of jobs.
Almost R1 billion has been apportioned by the City for electricity, roads, storm water and housing respectively. That is how serious the City is about investing in major infrastructural projects that will power the City, ensure safe roads, modernise storm water and attract investment.
Nearly double the almost R1 billion that will be used for housing has been provided for general infrastructural maintenance and repairs – which is a 20% increase from the previous budget. Water and sanitation has seen nearly half a billion apportioned to it and R25 million has now be made available to fix sinkholes in the City.
The people have reason to feel safe under the Tshwane administration. Whether recovering from drugs and substance abuse or vulnerable to theft and vandalism, the City has put in place measures to ensure that the people’s safety is top of the agenda. R318 million has been directed towards a comprehensive security plan for security services at City facilities so that the amount of theft and vandalism that robs the people of Tshwane of basic service delivery is curtailed. And those who have fallen victim to drug and substance abuse can now know that there this is a City that cares with over R40 million having been budgeted for drugs and substance abuse programmes.
Those who have been left behind and the most vulnerable in our society lie at the heart of the City’s budget. Almost R300 million in capital expenditure will be used on upgrading informal settlements and R132 million to enhance to water and sanitation residents of these settlements. More than a quarter of a billion will be spent on the upgrading of roads and drainage
The operational expenditure budget for planning and feasibility processes over the next year has been increased to nearly R100 million, ensuring that arrangements to identify informal settlements that can be upgraded in the future are being planned and facilitated. The people of the Capital City can look forward to R36 million in infrastructure and social housing units being developed in Chantelle, Townlands and Sunnyside over the next year.
Over a billion rand is being injected into the economy, with job creation at the centre of this investment. Nearly R150 million has been made available to ensure that 23 000 jobs can be created through EPWP initiatives. More than R40 million has been approved for the inner city over the next year – with almost triple that amount planned for the medium term to tackle water, electricity, roads and water capacity constraints.
Over half a billion rand will be shifted to economic nodes as they are vital areas that need capital involvement to create an enabling environment for job creation. In partnership with institutions such as AIDC, SEDA, EOH, BPESA Gauteng Government, DTI and National Small Business Department, as many as 1 700 people will receive training through skills development centres.
Nelson Mandela Bay
No coalition government is easy to navigate, and Nelson Mandela Bay knows this reality. But never has this difficulty been made the people’s problem. Considerable support has been budgeted for low-income communities, the upgrading of housing and informal settlements, roads and lighting and community facilities.
Low-income communities will never be left behind under the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government. The coalition will continue to help Assistance to the Poor (ATTP) recipients with more than R2 billion budgeted over the medium term. And R1.5 million will be spent on infrastructure for informal trading (EDTA) over the next year.
The people of the Bay can expect to live in dignity under the coalition government. Almost half a billion rand has been apportioned to upgrading housing and informal settlements. R45 million of this will be used for the acquisition of land for housing development in the areas of Seaview and Lorraine; R183.4 million will be spent on various human settlements projects and a R30 million bucket eradication programme. Morevover, R167.9 million in informal housing and informal electrification programmes will be rolled out over the medium term.
The safety of Nelson Mandela Bay’s roads is a key priority for this government. To ensure this, more than half a billion rand has been put aside for roads and lighting. Over the medium term, R68.5 million will be directed to the resurfacing of roads and the tarring of gravel roads. Subsidised roads will be resurfaced at a cost of R30 million, R40 million in road rehabilitation will be rolled out, and R72.7 million will go towards public lighting.
Finally, almost R150 million will be injected into the upgrading of community facilities. R36 million of this will go towards the construction of three Multi-Purpose Centres. Libraries will be upgraded and restored for R32 million, R18.5 million in sports facilities upgrades will be implemented, a R6 million major park upgrade will be developed, and R49 million in upgrades and development of public open spaces will be rolled out.
In Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, we will continue to work hard to ensure that we govern in an open, transparent and people-orientated manner. After decades of neglect by previous ANC administrations, the people of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay can have hope in their governments that are focused on delivering for the people. Where we govern, jobs are created, corruption is eradicated, and services are provided to all.
In the City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, capital spending that focuses on basic service delivery has been prioritised over all ‘non-essential spending’. And this has led to fiscally prudent government spending in the Johannesburg and Tshwane where record-high budget surplus’ have been achieved.
These metro budgets are focused and responsible pro-poor budgets that seek to build a conducive environment for job-creation, crush corruption, win the war against crime and deliver excellent services to the people. And it is because of their vision and leadership that City-led economic growth continues to flourish in the country.