eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has tabled the municipality’s 2023-2024 budget of R65.5 billion. It received mixed reactions as some political parties including the Democratic Alliance (DA) voted against it.
Among the concerns raised was that the budget did not include time frames for critical projects.
The budget was eventually approved with 112 votes in support and 74 against it.
Kaunda outlines the key infrastructure issues that will be prioritised. “Honourable Speaker, the key mandate of local government is to deliver quality service, basic services such as water and electricity. To ensure a more reliable electricity supply, the municipality has allocated a total budget of R2.2 billion for electricity over the next three years. The bulk of this funding will be spent on ongoing extensions and reinforcements of existing networks as well as 17 new substations that will be commissioned. We are also undertaking street lighting projects where all street lights that are not working will be repaired.”
Meanwhile, DA deputy caucus leader in the municipality, Mzamo Billy, says the budget will increase tariffs that will in turn burden residents.
“The budget seems to be not so much pro-poor in a manner in which it is being done…it seeks to increase rates for already struggling businesses and residents. It seeks to increase the electricity rate. It speaks nothing about the failing infrastructure of the municipality, especially serious financial commitments and how to resolve these issues. As the DA, we are quite concerned. The budget does speak to issues of road infrastructure but the real question is that is there a real commitment from the ANC and the EFF and the NFP to resolve issues about infrastructure.”