Address to Council on Tabling of the 2022/2023 Budget     

31 May 2022 in Where We Govern

A Budget for Hope
City colleagues
Members of the public and guests,
members of the media,

Good Morning, Molweni, More, Assalamu alaikum.

After many months of meetings, both here, in this building, and in our many communities with our residents, business sector, religious organisations and many NGOs, we table both the 2022/2023 Annual Budget and a brand new Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for this administration.

You have heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again, the best way to tell what a government cares about is by looking at its budget.

Speaker, the budget that we table today begins to make real and visible investments in delivering on our pledges to the public.

This budget offers hope for Cape Town residents that are fearful of violent crime, with a massive investment of over 150 new officers, and crime fighting technology.

It offers hope of more plentiful affordable housing for all Capetonians in well-located areas. It offers the hope that we can stop load-shedding in our City. It offers hope for unemployed Capetonians that need our economy to grow at a much faster pace.

It offers the hope of an improved public transport system that is clean, safe and reliable.

I want to say ‘thank you’ to each resident that got involved in the public participation process for both the budget and the IDP. Over 35 400 inputs were received during the IDP public participation process. This is an increase of 25% in participation compared to 2016. We also received more than 380 submissions consisting of over 1 300 specific comments on the draft budget.

We listened carefully to what you had to say and, where possible, we incorporated what many of you asked for.

Some proposals are at a level of detail beyond that of the IDP, and will be prioritised for analysis and action at the policy and programme level. We also received some excellent suggestions that require further analysis before we can create or expand a programme to respond.

Those will be considered in the annual review of the IDP, and budgeted for accordingly.

Speaker, last week I spoke of a coming winter of discontent for South Africa. So as to confirm this analysis this weekend, Nedbank announced it is lowering its growth projections for 2022 to just 1,6%, while other countries are bouncing back from Covid and are already at pre-Covid economic levels. Most alarmingly, the CEO of Tiger Brands, Mr Noel Doyle, has said that he has not seen this level of food price inflation in his 20 years at the company – and that we should brace ourselves for double digit food inflation in bread, maize, oats, cereal and oil, and all other products that contain those.

We hear and agree with the call of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament to reduce the fuel tax and de-regulate the fuel pricing model to allow for prices to come down, at a time when petrol, diesel and paraffin prices are set to smash through previous record levels.

Fuel taxes are a regressive tax, which hit the poor more than the better off, because the poor spend a much larger portion of their income on transport and groceries, the prices of which are very sensitive to fuel price increases.

We as a government agree with the call of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, and call for fuel taxes to be reduced.

Out-of-control price increases across the globe are decimating people’s living standards and causing serious hardship for so many.

But however cold and long this winter of discontent is, we in Cape Town can bring the warmth and light that optimism about the future, matched with real action to get there, brings to all who see it and feel it.

That is why we are proud to table a budget with among the lowest tariff increases in the country, all at or below inflation.

We are doing our part to keep inflation down, and to protect the incomes of struggling Cape Town families, while still expanding our free services to the poorest residents.

So we will work harder to grow the economy and help people into jobs and out of poverty.

Where possible, we will push for more powers to be devolved from the national government to the City.

Government officials sitting in Pretoria don’t know what is best for Cape Town: they are too far away from the problems on the ground and they don’t have the solutions.

Our message to the national government is simple: we have built a capable state in Cape Town, so let us deliver to the people of Cape Town.

This budget includes allocations to start facilitating the devolution of various national powers to the City including energy production, policing and crime prevention, and passenger rail.

Today’s proposed R7,47bn capital budget is on par with Johannesburg metro, who are also bravely trying to accelerate their capital investment to make up for lost time.

In the years ahead, we will push to see Cape Town’s capital investment pipeline far ahead of any other metro in the country.

Like many Capetonians who commented on our draft budget, I am not happy about the 9,5% increase in the electricity tariff, which I know will hit people hard. With the support of tens of thousands of Capetonians, we challenged Eskom’s original request in January for the 20,5% increase that they wanted residents to pay, and we managed to bring this down significantly. But there are limits to what we can do to counteract Eskom’s unaffordable and unjust increases.

This is why we are pushing with such urgency to reduce our reliance on Eskom, lower the cost of electricity, and end load-shedding in Cape Town.

Speaker, today’s budget demonstrates the practical manifestation of this government’s commitment to:

  1. End load-shedding in Cape Town over time by investing in new and renewable sources of energy
  2. Making Cape Town the easiest place to do business in Africa
  3. Making Cape Town safer by deploying hundreds more law enforcement officers, with at least 150 new officers budgeted for in this budget alone
  4. Investing in better public transport, through a multi-billion rand expansion of the MyCiti network to Khayelitsha and plan for the coming devolution of passenger rail to the metro
  5. Do the basics better so that every person can live in dignity
  6. Release more land for more affordable housing development in Cape Town, and just last week you heard more about our plans in this regard,
  7. Clean up Cape Town’s public spaces, streets and waterways

Our package of free basic services to indigent residents will include 15kℓ of water per month per household and 60 kWh of electricity if the household buys less than the basic amount of 250kWh in a month. Furthermore, discounted rates and waste services provision will help to ensure that residents without means are supported. I know our Mayoral Committee Member for Finance will share more details about our social relief package too.

The cost of our social package for the 2022/23 financial year amounts to R4,7 billion, and includes R2,292 billion for Indigent Relief and R1,457 billion for Rates Rebates, and is one of the most extensive packages of support for the poor in the country.

Speaker, everything I have spoken of today in terms of our commitment to delivery is encapsulated in the City’s brand new Five-Year Strategic Plan, our Integrated Development Plan (IDP), that is also being tabled today. This planning document is the central strategy of our city, and communicates to residents, businesses and investors our long-term vision, and how we plan to achieve it through both a strategic plan and an implementation plan.

Speaker, I know that my colleagues will be speaking in more detail about each of their budgets and IDP programmes, and I hope our residents are as excited about these plans as we are.

This budget and IDP lays the foundation for Cape Town becoming a city of hope for all; a prosperous, inclusive and safer city where people can look to the future with a sense of optimism again.

We thank our ratepayers for their continued support of our goal to make Cape Town a flourishing and prosperous City, and recommit ourselves to being clean, honest, and accountable custodians of their rates contributions.

I want to thank the CFO and his budget team – Zukiswa Nqanqali , Naiemah Ishmail and Karen Fourie, and outgoing Budget Director, Mr Johan Steyl, for all their hard work to make sure this budget reflects the priorities of this government. And I’d like to thank everyone in our Policy Team, which is headed up by Hugh Cole  for their hard work on putting together our comprehensive IDP.

I also thank my Mayoral Committee, the city’s Executive Management Team, and every councillor here and official in this administration – because, in each of these priorities, we have already made progress in the first six months of this term. That is not to say there isn’t a lot of work still lying ahead– we have only just started and there is so much more that we need to do, and do it with urgency – but I am grateful for the progress that we are starting to make.

Speaker, the City’s 2022/23 annual budget is hereby tabled for adoption and implementation. Thank you