Time running out for council to pass IDP, budget

A virtual Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting at the City Hall
A virtual Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting at the City Hall

Nelson Mandela Bay has until Tuesday to pass the integrated development plan and the budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

Both documents should be passed before the start of the new financial year on July 1.

The EFF has threatened not to attend the meeting if security guards, assistance to the poor (ATTP) plumbers, meter readers and seasonal workers were insourced by the municipality.

Several ANC councillors are under quarantine after contracting Covid-19.

Mayoral committee councillors Yolisa Pali (public health), Lehlohonolo Mfana (sport, recreation, arts and culture) and Itumeleng Ranyele (constituency services) are also positive.

The DA is also one councillor short, following the death of PR councillor Lodewyk Gallant.

During the tabling of the draft budget on June 15, the municipality had proposed tariff hikes of 8% for water, sanitation and refuse, 6.22% for electricity, and 8.5% for property rates.

The proposed electricity price increase of 6.22% is subject to approval by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa).

On Sunday, Bay CFO Selwyn Thys said changes had been made following the public participation process.

“Property rates were proposed at 8.5%, we’ve reduced this to 6%. Water, sanitation and refuse have been reduced to 6%, down from proposed increase of 8%.

“Electricity stays at the original 6.22% proposed increase,” he said.

Thys said those were the main changes proposed in the budget and said  National Treasury had given the metro the nod that the budget was funded.

“National Treasury is required to assess whether the budget is funded and they did this and gave the green light to say the budget was funded,” he said.

This will be the city’s third virtual meeting held in four venues across the city centre.

Councillors have been assigned seats at either the City Hall, Feather Market Hall, Noninzi Luzipho building or the Woolboard Exchange.

Of the city’s R13.3bn total draft budget, R11.7bn will be for the operational costs of running the city, while R1.64bn will go towards capital projects.

Interim mayor Thsonono Buyeye’s report to the council states that the major operating expenditure items for the 2020/2021 financial year are staff salaries — which account for 32% of the operations budget — contracted services, depreciation and asset and debt impairment.

The report says the long-service bonus approved during the June 7 2016 council meeting that passed the 2016/2017 budget is the main reason for the escalated employee-related costs.