Western Cape

Cape Town tables by far the largest infrastructure budget of all metros

26 Apr 2023 in Where We Govern

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that Cape Town will outpace all other cities on infrastructure investments. The City is set to invest more in infrastructure than Johannesburg and Durban combined over the next three years. The Mayor was addressing City Council on Wednesday 26 April regarding a comparison of the tabled draft budgets of all metros for the 2023/24 Medium-Term Revenue Expenditure Framework (MTREF). Read more below:

‘We might not be South Africa’s biggest city by population or territory, but Cape Town has tabled by far the biggest capital budget of all metros at R11bn. Our ambition is clear. We are building a City of Hope for all our residents, no matter where they live in Cape Town, and no matter their background.

‘We in Team Cape Town are proposing the most ambitious infrastructure investment pipeline ever undertaken by this City, while also considerably strengthening the safety net of care and relief for our poorest fellow Capetonians. In this way, we aim to position Cape Town for economic growth that helps more people into work, and builds towards the vision of a City of hope for all.

‘Often, when people celebrate the work that Cape Town is doing to build a City of Hope in South Africa, that celebration is accompanied by a “but”, usually followed by some variation of the perception that Cape Town does not serve the city equally, or favours some communities over another.

‘When tabling our budget last month, we did not yet have the perspective of all other metro budgets. These make for some stark comparisons, with the evidence clearly showing that Cape Town is delivering the most for the poor in South Africa,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Cape Town’s 2023/24 infrastructure budget is 35.2% larger than the next metro, eThekwini (R8.1bn), and 59.7% larger than the third biggest budget for 23/24, Johannesburg (R6.9bn).

On a per capita basis adjusting for population, Cape Town will over the next three years spend 145% more on infrastructure than Joburg – SA’s most populous city.

Cape Town will invest more on infrastructure than Johannesburg and Durban combined over the three-year medium-term budget framework (23/24 – 25/26), with a 91.2% larger capital budget than Joburg (R43,2bn vs R22,6bn), and 116.9% larger budget than eThekwini (R19.9bn).

‘Besides the improvements to basic services, and personal and community dignity, the scale of our R43nm infrastructure pipeline will create an estimated 135 000 jobs in the city over three years,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Care for the poor and vulnerable

‘In this year, we have worked out that roughly 73% – or just over R8bn – of Cape Town’s R11bn capital budget goes towards critical infrastructure that benefits lower-income households, informal settlements, and poorer communities in our city.

‘Cape Town’s foundation of good governance is enabling us to make unrivalled investments in the future, while also strengthening the safety net for the vulnerable,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Hill-Lewis said the City’s budget shows big increases where it counts, including a 226% increase in water and sanitation spending over three years.

‘Over R750 million will go to the Cape Flats and Philippi main sewer upgrades, making a direct and meaningful difference in the lives of those residents, and positioning communities for economic growth.

‘So too with our campaign to quadruple sewer pipe replacements, which is already performing ahead of target.

‘There is also a 330% increase in capital budgets for sewer pump station upgrade budgets, overwhelmingly in poorer communities, with the most major upgrade at the massive Langa pump station.

‘So too with our multi-billion rand upgrade to Zandvliet Wastewater Works, serving the community of the greater Khayelitsha and surrounds, Potsdam, serving Du Noon, the Macassar Wastewater Works, and the Athlone Wastewater Works,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Other big investments benefitting lower-income households, in many cases exclusively, include:

  • Clinics, libraries, sports facilities and community hubs
  • Human settlements projects in various parts of the metro
  • new waste trucks and drop-off facilities
  • precinct upgrades to under-performing CBDs in lower-income areas
  • informal settlement electrifications and street-lighting upgrades
  • informal trading infrastructure upgrades

Mayor Hill-Lewis further said that no other metro offers a more comprehensive support package. Of metros linking their social packages to property value, Cape Town has the highest:

  • Free basic water: 15kl
  • Free basic electricity (<250kWh usage): 60 units
  • 100% rates rebate property value inclusion threshold: R450 000
  • 100% rates rebate household income threshold: R7 500

Cape Town is also the only metro to offer the first R450 000 of property value rates-free for all properties under R5m in value, and to raise the pensioners income qualifying limit to R22 000 a month to ensure more people get more rates rebates.

‘We know there are still many, many people living in poverty in South Africa and in Cape Town, and many of these fellow residents live in incredibly tough conditions.

‘I know we have a long way to go – while poverty and unemployment are slowly ticking down in Cape Town – none of us can possibly be satisfied seeing the depth of poverty etched onto the faces of struggling mothers and grandmothers, or meeting young fathers who can’t find any work, or seeing families who have lost loved ones to violence.

‘We feel deeply the responsibility and weight of doing all we can – working harder, investing more, pushing for more powers – so that we can better improve these living conditions, and make this a more inclusive and more caring city,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

Fairness for Ratepayers

Cape Town is SA’s metro with the lowest rates for both commercial and residential properties in 2023/24.

Commercial property rates are 35% lower than Johannesburg (0.014742 vs 0.022689 c/R), and 54.6%

lower than eThekwini’s 0.032473 c/R.

On residential property rates, Cape Town’s 0.006273 is 31% lower than Johannesburg (0.009076 c/R) and 51% lower than eThekwini (0.012890 c/R).

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank our ratepayers who enable us to subsidise services for the poor and vulnerable of our city. We are working together to create a shared future for all – regardless of race or economic background. Here in Cape Town residents can feel assured that we are delivering and caring for the poor, building hope for the future, and doing it while ensuring fairness and respect for ratepayers,’ said Mayor Hill-Lewis.