Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has tabled what he says is a record near R11 billion infrastructure development budget for the City. It surpasses the 2010 World Cup spending.
The Mayor says the infrastructure spending will improve service delivery to poorer households, also as part of planning ahead for the expected population growth within a generation.
Residents have been given until the 5th of April to comment on the draft budget before it becomes adopted, for the 2023/24 financial year. The greater Cape Town area has a population of just under five-million residents. With an average growth of between two and four percent in the past five years, the city expects a double of the population in the near future.
The city says it’s a balancing act between the needs of vulnerable residents and the scope of future planning.
“Investment that will not only serve the needs of Cape Townians today but will meet the requirements of a rapidly growing Cape Town. Within a generation this will be a metro of ten million people as more and more people choose to move here in search of a better life. We cannot let the prospect daunt us. We must plan for it now and build now with that future in mind. This year we are tabling a capital expenditure budget of a record R10. 9 billion,” says Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town mayor.
The city says it aims to cushion its residents from the 18. 4 % Eskom tariff hikes due on the 1st of April. Residents will be charged about a percentage less at 17. 6 % with the city absorbing the shortfall. With the ultimate aim being to end load shedding in the city by encouraging more solar paneling and independent power producers.
“Load shedding has already cost the city R390 million in the current financial year alone, including new generators, fuel, overtime, security and loses due to theft, vandalism and lower electricity sales. This budget includes R2.3 billion rand to end load shedding over the next three years,” Hill-Lewis explains.
The African National Congress (ANC) however says they hope this is not just an electioneering budget.
“If you look at the electricity environment the city is charging more than Eskom and not every area is under the city, so the areas that are under the Eskom are paying less, so the city cushioning is as good as none as they are paying more than Eskom,” says Banele Majingo, ANC leader of opposition.
“Yes the numbers are looking proper, that is what the DA constantly do, they make a nice presentation that does not filter to the people on the ground, that does not give what is expected of them to assist our people on the ground,” says Banzi Dambuza , EFF whip in the city.
The city is also proposing to spend of R5. 8 billion towards crime fighting including the addition for 85 new Metro police officers.