City’s budget passed

Patricia De Lille. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

By adopting its R47.7 billion budget, the City has shown it has lost touch both with reality and the public, says activist group Stop City of Cape Town (COCT).

The budget, effective from July 1, was adopted at a special council meeting on Wednesday May 30.

The City drew a record number of comments – more than 50 400 – during the public participation process from March to May, but it didn’t stop above-inflation tariff increases in a tough economy.

While the overall water tariff hike of 26.9% proposed in the draft budget dropped to 19.9%, the monthly electricity surcharge of R150 for properties valued over R1 million and the monthly R64-plus water-pipe levy stay.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said the city could not respond to all comments received during the public participation process because there had simply been too many: in one month, the City had already

received more than 24 900 comments“of which approximately 80% were tariff-related objections”.

Sandra Dickson of Stop COCT believes the City anticipated the public outcry over the steep tariff increases and “gave the public a pacifier with this reduction”.

“It does not nearly make up for the slap in the face the public received with the Level 6B tariff increases,” she said.

“In December, 62 001 comments on the drought charge told the City that levies are rejected and surely cannot be based on property value. They now came back with two levies instead of just a water charge, and one of them is still based on property value.”

Ms Dickson said Ms De Lille’s admission about the City not responding to all 50 400 comments during the public participation process was a “clear violation of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA )” and that the City should be taken to task about that.

“For Ms Dickson, the “flawed budget”, as she called it, aimed to please only one party – the City itself.

“The City simply does not listen to the public. It has become a self- serving beast controlled by a bunch of insensitive tyrants,” she said.