Budget: water cuts and hikes

Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, gives a breakdown of the Citys draft budget.

The City of Cape Town’s draft budget, which has been tabled for public comment, proposes pulling the plug on some household’s monthly 6 kilolitre allocation of free water.

The budget was presented by the City’s mayoral committee member for area north, Suzette Little, at the Kraaifontein civic centre on Thursday April 6.

This is the City’s first draft budget in line with its Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP), which seeks to address the legacy of apartheid.

According to the draft budget, only properties with a value of R400 000 or less would get the first 6 kilolitres of water free. Likewise, only properties valued at R400 000 or less would get their first 4.2 kilolitres of water for sanitation a month for free.

Those not qualifying for indigent assistance will instead pay R4/kilolitre (excluding VAT) for the first 6 kilolitres of water and R3.85/kilolitre (excluding VAT) for the first 4.2 kilolitres of water used for sanitation.

Meanwhile, high water users will face increases of nearly 20% .

Ms Little gave a breakdown of the budget, which is available on the City’s website, and encouraged residents who were eligible to take advantage of the City’s “social package”.

The package comprises water, rates and electricity rebates and is dependent on the applicant’s household income and property value.

Residents with properties worth more than R400 000 are not eligible for the social package.

Low to medium water consumers – those using less than 50 kilolitres a month – will pay up to 7.33 percent more for water but those using more than 50 kilolitres a month will pay 19.19 percent more.

Water was also among the concerns raised by some residents at the meeting. A Wallacedene woman complained that some homes had been put on a trickle system.

“There are 10 families staying there and then the water goes off at a night. How are 10 people supposed to use 350 litres of water? It’s not enough,” she said.

Ms Little recommended that the residents wait until after the meeting to discuss the matter.

Several residents also repeated the long running requests for a police station, library and bigger clinic in Bloekombos.

“The police station is very far,” said a woman who only identified herself as Fizeka. “And there is no library.”

Sub-council 2 chairman Grant Twigg replied: “We all agree. Someone had put in a request for a library and it was put on the budget but it fell off somewhere.”

Mr Twigg said he was glad that residents had raised the issue so that “it is not only our councillors who are addressing it”.

Councillors had earmarked space for the library, he said. “We agree that a library for this area is needed. We just need the budget.”

Ms Little committed to look into why the item had “fallen off” the budget.

Ms Little said a police station would need to be funded from a national budget, not a municipal one.

Residents have until Friday April 21 to submit their comments on the draft budget. Email city.manager@capetown.gov.za, visit the city’s website, fax 021 400 1332 or post submissions to: The City Manager, 2017/18 IDP/Budget, 5th Floor, Podium Civic Centre, Cape Town 8001.