The City of Joburg’s Finance MMC, Cllr. Jolidee Matongo, on Wednesday, 24th of March, tabled the draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework Budget reports for information and public comment at the 47th ordinary sitting of the municipal Council.
The draft IDP and Budget reports are a culmination of a consultative process, which considered ratepayers and other stakeholder inputs expressed during Community-Based Planning (CBP) sessions held recently. The CBP engagements provided residents at ward-level an opportunity to directly make contributions towards the IDP and the Budget by expressing their service delivery aspirations as a community. These engagements were held virtually in all regions of the City in line with Covid-19 regulations.
According to Cllr. Matongo “Residents indicated priority areas we should focus on. They want basic service delivered. Potholes must be filled, dysfunctional robots must be fixed, overgrown grass must be cut, housing provided to those in need and infrastructure projects implemented to create employment. Due to Covid-19 lockdown period and its consequent economic downturn, a balance is needed between what is realistic for the City financially and what residents are hoping the City can provide.”
A big percentage of City of Joburg’s annual operational and capital expenditure is funded by revenue generated independently. The revenue is earned from property rates tax levied on domestic and commercial properties. There are also service charges on electricity, water, sewerage and refuse. The City also earns interest from fines, forfeits and penalties. A marginal portion is earned from operating grants. Therefore to remain financial sustainable, tariff increases have to be considered.
“The City is not oblivious to the current economic environment, made worse by the current pandemic. We would have preferred to table a zero-increase in tariff proposals, but should we go this route, the City will place its own liquidity at risk. It is also important that we exercise financial prudency for us to be able to meet service delivery imperatives expected by ratepayers and residents. Residents can still give us feedback in relation to tariff proposals in the reports,” explained Cllr. Matongo.
The post-tabling public consultation process, as stipulated by the Municipal Systems Act, will allow residents and stakeholders to comment on the draft budget and IDP within the next 30 days after the reports have served at Council. Stakeholders will be consulted through various engagement methods that will include community meetings; virtual stakeholder engagement sessions; email submissions, etc. The City will inform residents on the modalities of the engagement process in the next few days.
“Despite prevailing economic challenges, we are determined to continue to improve the daily lived experience of our residents. To reach this goal, we need residents to give us inputs on the draft budget and IDP. Their feedback will also shape what will ultimately be the final budget to be approved by Council before the conclusion of the current fiscal year. It is important that we work together as the council and residents to strike a balance for the City’s future,” Matongo concluded.