Today I table the City’s Annual Budget.
With the elections now done and dusted I am sure we will all be happy to pay our full attention to the task at hand, which is delivering quality services to the people of Cape Town.
We have an inclusive budget being tabled today. It is one that has received more than 4 000 comments from members of the public. And we have paid attention to the comments.
The Budget was presented and discussed at 27 public meetings across the city. I am confident that this budget is going to set the City back on track after dealing with the unprecedented drought that occurred over the last two years.
One of the deliverables I am most pleased about in the Budget is the commitment to deploy one dedicated law enforcement officer in every ward across this city.
Our councillors are going to have to work closely with those law enforcement officers because our fight against crime and grime in this city is just beginning.
I am not done with the ‘Keep Cape Town Clean’ campaign and you will see new initiatives coming out of this campaign, while I continue to get my hands dirty picking up the litter in your areas. Although our officials do this on a daily basis, I want to draw the public’s attention to their role that they have to play as well. We cannot do it alone. That is why our motto is Making progress possible. Together. We need all members of the public to work with us.
I have taken note of public concerns about the state of our parks following the extreme drought: Mr Davids from the Rocklands Ratepayers Association, Mrs Foloti of Guguluethu, Thomas from Happy Valley and the messages from the subcouncil meetings. I have read your feedback about the need for parks and for the maintenance of parks.
These complaints do not fall on deaf ears.
We are an accountable administration and a government of action, which is why I am excited about the plan that my Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Dr Zahid Badroodien, has shown me to get our parks back on track. New trees and greenery will be planted, fences and lights repaired and installed where there aren’t any and much much more. We will make the details of this plan known in the coming weeks. I know our communities across Cape Town are eager to hear more about this and we have a plan to get them involved too.
I am pleased that the Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Programme, otherwise known as MURP is getting a much needed financial boost with a budget of R447 million. The communities of Manenberg, Mitchells Plain, Bonteheuwel and others will soon see the plans that we have for MURP in their areas.
Our Social Package of nearly R3 billion has been allocated to assist the most vulnerable people across the city. This includes the budget allocation for free basic services, rates rebates and indigent relief. We are increasing the scope for more of our residents to take advantage of rates rebates and indigent relief and the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson will cover this in more detail.
We want to make sure that we provide assistance to those residents in need across Cape Town.
With R869 million allocated to our housing budget and several social housing developments in the Cape Town CBD under way, we will ensure that we build stronger and more integrated communities in Cape Town, undoing the legacy of apartheid spatial design.
Unfortunately, those who were here before talked a lot, but delivered little. We will deliver. I have full confidence in my Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Malusi Booi, to see our plans through to delivery.
We are also increasing our budget to address informal settlement upgrades. For the 2019/202 financial year approximately R148,8 million has been budgeted with an amount of R44 million specifically earmarked for early childhood development centres in informal settlements over the budget’s three-year term. I will be visiting many of these communities to check on the progress that is being made.
My Mayoral Committee and this Council have embraced our action-oriented approach and our residents will be the beneficiaries of this administration’s focus on delivering the best services for all.
The residents of Cape Town have given me a clear mandate through the many submissions we received in the public participation process on the draft Budget: they want safety to be addressed.
When it comes to the safety of our residents I am sure our communities have seen the priority we have placed on making sure we are doing all that we can to protect them.
While the South African Police Service (SAPS) remains the primary law enforcement authority in the country, it is clear that they are not getting the resources they need from the National Government, so we unfortunately need to use more of our budget to try and fill those gaps.
The additional capital budget will allow for massive increases in the purchase of vehicles, equipment and extra CCTV cameras where they are most needed. Improvements will also be made to staff facilities. The increase in the vehicle budget will allow for much more effective enforcement work by our officers who are currently hamstrung by a lack of patrol vehicles.
My Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith will cover the R535 million Safety and Security budget allocation in more detail.
If President Ramaphosa is serious about tackling crime he will not only fix the gaping holes in the criminal justice system that have allowed corruption to flourish within the National Government, but he will pay just as much attention to the gaping holes in the criminal justice system that fail our residents every single day.
We do not govern for ourselves. We serve our residents and the President cannot afford any further delays in fixing the broken criminal justice system. If he needs it I will gladly send President Ramaphosa a copy of the Western Cape Government’s court watching briefs, which show how dismally poor our prosecutions have become.
With this year’s budget we have also set aside R72 million for the Urban Management Directorate so that we can:
- meet the City’s EPWP target for the 2019/20 financial year and beyond
- provide oversight on EPWP projects in accordance with a recent National EPWP audit report
- deploy EPWP safety workers to accompany large groups of school children
- along identified routes so that youth can get safely to and from schools
- deploy EPWP workers required for community based recycling drop-off facilities
We will also be re-launching my youth outreach programmes, which will include community engagements for the youth to meet with FET colleges and find out about the bursaries available so that they can study further and improve their lives.
An additional R2 million has been set aside to ensure that community food gardens get the attention and support that they deserve.
Before I conclude I think it is important to look back and be thankful for a mostly free and fair election.
I think it is also important to reflect on the role of the media and the importance of a free and unbiased press during critical times like these. I am surprised that we need to remind the media that the ANC received their lowest vote ever while the DA maintained their second highest percentage of the vote.
When it comes to the conduct of political parties and the media, it is clear that some political parties prefer to physically assault and verbally threaten journalists, while other political parties use state authorities to block media access. Yet, the media remain generous in their coverage of those parties. We don’t tolerate abuse of the media, even if the party who plays fair often gets the harshest treatment by the media.
And let me use this opportunity to address one of the many false narratives that people like to spread in the media: there is no over recovery on our water income. The City has not made massive profits that it is not using elsewhere. There was in fact an under recovery on our water income, which means the City did not even cover its expenses in providing water services. So please be careful what you read on social media, which is often full of misinformation.
Councillors, I hope you are ready for what is coming, because we are going back to basics to ensure that our residents feel and enjoy the services that we provide. Your ward allocation has been increased from R850 000 to R1 million per ward and I trust that you will spend it wisely on delivering the best services for the residents in your ward.
You will be getting pamphlets on the City’s Budget, and I want you to make sure that our residents know how we are spending the Budget.
I am thankful for the many of you who work day and night to address the needs of our communities and you will have my full support in the coming months because I will be joining many of your public meetings and walk-abouts through your communities.
The residents of Cape Town have told us that they want to see more of our councillors, it is now up to the residents to join us at the public meetings and to work with us to keep Cape Town the wonderful city that it is.