The City of uMhlathuze is tabling a proposed R 3.8 billion budget for the next financial year under hard economic conditions locally and globally.
Considering the high cost of service delivery, value for money to consumers and the costs of living under these declining economic conditions, the City has placed its people in the centre of this budget through managing the reasonable tariffs and investing more on projects that will change the people’s live as well as the landscape of the city for the better.
Commenting on the proposed budget, City Mayor Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo had this to say, “We have always advanced for a pro-poor budget that resonates with the needs of our people and have their well-being in mind.
It is equally important to sharply raise that our budget is not done out of a thumb-sucking practice but it is derived from a process which largely includes inputs from our IDP, which forms the back bone of the budget.
The tough economic climate that is experienced throughout the country does not in any way exempt our municipality as we exist in a country of a unitary government.
It is with this reality that we ought to critically analyse what should be the next steps moving forward in being able to come up with a sustainable budget whilst we weather the tough economic storm.
It would be important that for the future we support and strengthen the small up and coming businesses because that’s the only way we will get our local economy going.
We table a R3,8 billion budget for the City of uMhlathuze which has been put together against the backdrop of sluggish economy. We are however confident that this draft budget will be in a position to change the lives of the people of uMhlathuze.
If we are also true to ourselves, we need to change how we have been doing things and be ambassadors of implementing austerity measures without negatively affecting service delivery. We all know that affordability of municipal bills is a key area of concern, and already we can see this in our collection rate. Therefore, the only area where we can reduce is in the expenditure environment,” Mhlongo said.
R63 MILLION BUDGET FOR WATER IN NTAMBANANA
The MTREF proposed budget includes huge water reticulation project earmarked for Ntambanana communities amounting to an investment of R63 million to build pipe water infrastructure in the inherited wards 31,32 and 33. This will completely change the lives of Ntambanana[WU1] communities who has never had water in their households. The City has been supplying water through water tankers and water containers (Tanks) since 2016 which is proving to be exorbitant.
R36 MILLION FOR WATER
As a water service authority, the City is investing into the water supply infrastructure improvement in rural and urban areas. Most of the infrastructure is ageing and requires constant maintenance on regular basis while the City is gradually phasing old asbestos pipes and replacing them with longer lasting new material.
R30 MILLION TO EXPAND ESIKHALENI INTERSECTION
The recent announcement of an investment injection of R6.5 billion to the expansion of the Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) which includes the Zulti South Mining project at eSikhaleni came at a right time when the City has already invested in expanding the road infrastructure in this biggest township to ease the traffic bottleneck during peak hours. The City has further budgeted R30 million to this project which will see more economic activities and beneficiation of the community of eSikhaleni and surrounding areas.
R81 MILLION FOR ELECTRIFICATION PROJECTS
The next financial year and over three financial years will see the City of uMhlathuze electrifying new customers in different parts of the city. This includes new in fills in urban and rural areas. It is worth noting that some parts of the city are supplied directly by Eskom. The City has already begun the electrification project in some areas including uMzingazi as part of early stages to formalise it as a township.
R14 MILLION FOR HIGH MAST LIGHTS
The City continues to roll out High Mast Light installation in notorious areas as well as crime hot spots including in traditional areas. A number of these lights have been installed in other areas and are providing a much needed security to our communities. A budget of R14 million has been set aside to further light more areas in the city.
R2.2 MILLION TO FURTHER EXPAND WIFI HOT SPOTS
The jubilation brought about the launching of the Public Wifi hot spots in eight (8) areas this financial year created a need to extend the hot spots to many other areas including rural areas within the city. This financial year, a budget of R2.2 million will be used to further escalate this project which aids users mainly youth, to ease the burden of data costs while they surf the internet for a better life.
SELF-FUNDED CAPITAL BUDGET
The City of uMhlathuze takes pride in the fact that most of the capital budget is self-funded and receives minimal assistance from the other spheres of government through grants and other forms of funding models.
The mentioned ground breaking projects and more including improving of sports facilities, swimming pools, rural and urban roads, sewerage network and pump stations, installation of street lights, refurbishment of community halls, information technology and others are part of the budget proposal that is now soliciting public input through road shows scheduled as follows:
DATE: 14 APRIL 2019
VENUE: ESIKHALENI TVET COLLEGE:
TIME: AT 13H00
DATE: 17 APRIL 2019
VENUE: MACEKANE SPORTS GROUNDS