Draft budget comment

Peter Martin,
Allenby Estate

The Constitution stipulates in-Section 152 (1) (e) that the public must be encouraged to participate in the budgeting process of local government.

In accordance with this constitutional requirement, the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality has published its Draft Budget 2019/ 2020 for public comment.

The following is a public comment.

Sections 152 (1) (c) and 153 (a) stipulates that local government (municipalities) must be developmental. Developmental local government is a government that works together (participates) with the local community to create sustainable settlements that provide a decent quality of life and gradually improve the social and economic lives of poor people.

However, the Draft Budget 2019/2020 of Sub-council 18 does not convey this goal of development as defined.

Sub-council 18 comprises wards 63, 65, 66, 67, 68 and 110 of which each ward is allocated R850 000 for the 2019/2020 financial year.

This adds up to R5 100 000 for Sub-council 18.

The Draft Budget 2019/2020 of Sub-council 18 proposes the following expenditure:

CCTV cameras (including maintenance) R2 132 000

Parks upgrades R620 000

Youth development R523 000

Footway upgrades R500 000

Traffic calming R320 000

Seniors R300 000

Road upgrades R250 000

Library R130 000

Neighbourhood watch support R110 000

Council rental units upgrade R100 000

Early childhood equipment R60 000

Women’s Day R25 000

Health and Wellness R20 00

Outreach R10 000

Development intends to improve the socio-economic lives of poor people. It is difficult to see how items 1, 4, 5 and 7 will meaningfully improve the lives of poor people living in Sub-council 18.

Yet, R3 202 000 (62.7%) of the budget is earmarked for these items. Nonetheless, by right these items should be budgeted and funded by the Metropolitan police services and roads infrastructure and management departments.

It is the constitutional duty of government (national, provincial and local) to provide safety and infrastructure for poor communities.

It is not the duty of poor communities to assume these responsibilities and fund such projects from ward allocations. If this is the case, then ward allocations for poor communities makes no sense.

Perhaps, in an affluent and fully developed area such as Constantia this could be the norm.

Government should take responsibility and be held accountable for the provision of services, facilities and infrastructure in poor communities.

Ward allocations should be utilised for community developmental oriented projects. Such projects should include capacitating community leaders, developing community volunteers, instilling community learning and social awareness, skilling the unemployed, launching community events, promoting local culture and tourism, establishing local markets, implementing environmental sustainability projects, building community and food gardens, undertaking community clean-up and beautification projects, promoting youth development and recreation and fostering love and appreciation for arts and nature.

These types of projects not only deal with the symptoms of crime, but address the root causes thereof, and promote social cohesion and community development.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson responds: “It is completely incorrect to make the assumption that the ward allocation is the only budget allocated to the ward.

The City of Cape Town’s sub-councils are allocated ward budget funding of R850 000 per ward to assist with projects in a particular ward area – over and above the normal City budget allocations for service delivery and capital expenditure.

Ward allocation funding is thus additional funding to a sub-council area. The normal budget allocations through the line departments, which are the primary means of delivering services to the community, are substantially higher than the ward allocations.

A sub-council as a whole decides on how ward-based budget funding within its areas are allocated namely, toward capital and/or operating projects.

These projects are in most instances single projects that are rolled out in phases over three consecutive years. Examples include perhaps CCTV cameras or neighbourhood watch equipment.

Through its strategic phased safety planning, Sub-council 18 is one of the first within Area South’s less affluent community to have opened, through partnership, a camera room in Grassy Park which is monitored on a 24-hour basis.

The overall City Budget 2019/20 allocation that Sub-council 18 will benefit from includes:

1 011 employment opportunities at R16 million estimate

R603 million for street cleaning, illegal dumping, waste collection and drop-off, disposal services and informal settlements services within Area South.

City wide allocations include:

R30 million for policing services programme – to increase visibility within law enforcement, traffic services and Metro police and

R71 million to address overtime and fuel requirements as a result of increase in civil unrest as and when required

R364 million for human settlement operating component for new housing

A social assistance package of R2.9 billion proposed for the most vulnerable residents in Cape Town, as well as senior citizens

Almost R1.7 billion has been proposed for indigent relief and R1.23 billion has been proposed to be budgeted for rates rebates

R641 million for social development and health services programmes which include:

HIV/Aids programme – R257 million

Vaccine programme – R91 million

Extended TB programme – R65 million

Nutrition – R6 million

Principal primary health care service in partnership with WCG – R173 million substance abuse service – R14 million

Informal settlement – youth development programme – R9 million

Women for Change – R26 million