In a massive boost to Nelson Mandela Bay, the city is in line to receive billions of rands from the Treasury this year to get the bus system rolling, install services and secure the metro’s water resources.
Added to that, about R30-million will also be given to the municipality to help with its fight against illegal electricity connections.
The money will be used to install electricity in shacks.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocated R844-million to the metro as its equitable share of the national revenue. The allocation is up R46-million from last year. This excludes other grants allocated to the municipality for various capital projects.
The metro did not receive any allocation from Gordhan’s budget for its Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) last year, except R93-million in October, which was unspent and rolled over from the previous year.
Yesterday, Gordhan allocated R273.2-million for the 2017-18 financial year to help with the bus system’s operations.
The metro will receive about R234.3-million and R247.8-million for the two consecutive years thereafter.
This would go a long way towards getting the buses on the roads, the metro’s political head of roads and transport, councillor Rano Kayser, said.
“We must appreciate the allocation,” he said.
“It will definitely assist to ensure we roll out the IPTS and deliver a reliable, safe transport system in Port Elizabeth.”
Kayser said the municipality was confident it would launch a trial run of the Cleary Park-to-Port Elizabeth CBD route towards the end of April.
Meanwhile, it was smiles all around yesterday after months of uncertainty over the completion of the Bay’s biggest water project, Nooitgedacht.
Gordhan set aside more than R430-million towards the water scheme expansion over the next three years.
The completion of the project, which will guarantee water security and hopefully put an end to the city’s water woes, will see the Bay’s water supply rise to 210Ml a day.
The project is being managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation and is implemented by the Amatola Water Board.
The Bay’s political leader of budget and treasury, councillor Retief Odendaal, said he was ecstatic about the allocations.
“There was tremendous pressure on the finance minister to deliver a well-balanced budget. Given the circumstances, we should be happy,” he said.
“We were concerned about Nooitgedacht and about whether or not the project would be completed.
“But Nelson Mandela Bay can sleep a little sounder knowing that we are getting that funding.”
Odendaal said the metro was not spending nearly enough on maintaining existing infrastructure and it was something the city would have to pay serious attention to.
The other budget allocations outlined for the Bay include:
- Urban settlements development grant – R911-million;
- Extended public works programmes – R4.8-million;
- Infrastructure skills development grant – R15.3-million;
- Integrated city development grant – R7.3-million;
- Neighbourhood development partnership grant – R1.3-million; and
- Regional bulk infrastructure grant – R92-million.