Joburg budget speech must be approved or beleaguered city risks administration

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The City of Johannesburg budget must get approved on Wednesday, or it will be placed in administration.

This is the message given by the speaker and the chief whip of the council on Monday ahead of the budget speech on Tuesday afternoon.

The approval of the budget will be determined by a majority vote after the budget debate on Wednesday.

The budget speech has already been delayed by several changes to the government. 

Speaking to the media on Monday, speaker Colleen Makhubele said the debate was where the “rubber hits the road”.

Council whip Sithembiso Zungu said the budget was expected to be around R77 billion.

Still, it will depend on revenue collection and National Treasury, which will be supplying less than in the past.

“We’re hoping that at the debate, the different political parties put aside their differences and consider the residents.

“The City has neglected residents, and [on Tuesday] and Wednesday, the budget must be approved – failure to do so means we cannot service residents.

“We are taught at every [council meeting] that the city is degenerating and will continue to do so if the budget is not approved.”

Makhubele reiterated the budget was the prerogative of the mayor and the executives but her office and that of the chief whip were to ensure the delivery of the budget allocations.

“I can assure you that not everybody is going to be happy [with the budget] because we have limited finances … and the budget must cover at least the basic needs.”

Although Zungu could not speak on the budget details, he said the City was prioritising water and electricity.

He added the biggest challenge, however, was the “stop-starting of the government”, referring to the City’s leadership changes.

“All executives have plans to address the issues in the city, and then those plans get derailed [when the government changes].”

Zungu said the most significant water issues came in the south of the city, with areas like Kenilworth struggling.

“Outside load shedding, areas are battling three or four days without power, so we must hit the ground running if the budget is approved,” he added.

Preceding the budget speech is the continuation of the state of the city address debate by Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda who fell ill last week and could not complete the debate.

Zungu said the mayor was in good health.

“The mayor is in good health and will be with us [on Tuesday]. I spent time with him [last week] – he was really, really sick.”

Finance MMC Dada Morero will deliver the budget speech for the 2023/24 financial year, delegated by Gwamanda in the Constance Conny Bapela Council Chamber at 14:00.

The budget speech will outline the City’s overarching plans, programmes and priorities for service delivery.

According to an invite by the City, “since assuming office, the immediate task for [the] government of local unity [the name of the coalition made up of the ANC, EFF, Patriotic Alliance and minority parties], has been to stabilise the City’s finances, which will translate into the acceleration of service delivery”.

“The MMC will outline the immediate and future interventions aligned to the City’s 11 priorities to turn the City around.”

Read the full article on News24 here.

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