In his inaugural budget speech yesterday, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga said that at least 60% of the budget would go to poor areas that had “never really received any basic services”.
The ANC caucus has continuously dismissed his proposed budget in recent months, claiming it’s directed at the suburbs, which benefits DA councillors.
But Msimanga yesterday announced big changes to the 133 informal settlements in Tshwane, the majority of which have no basic services.
Last week, angry residents of Itireleng informal settlement barricaded the R55 road in Laudium, demanding better services, including water, electricity and sanitation.
Msimanga said the human settlements development grant would get R90 million in the 2017- 18 financial year to construct 1 000 structures, including subsidised low-cost housing and affordable rental accommodation. A total of 2 300 stands would be connected to water and another 1 350 to sewer services.
“Seven informal settlements will be formalised under Project Tirane. Provision has been made in the operating budget for R106 million and the housing and human settlements department will receive an allocation of R874 million in the capital budget for the 2017/18 financial year,” he said.
To alleviate the ongoing crisis of lack of sanitation, R480 million will be invested over the medium term to address that issue. But ANC leader in the council Mapiti Matsena continued to reiterate that the budget was focused on bettering the “advantaged living in the suburbs”.
“In their (DA) view, the townships don’t contain the majority of their voters, hence they want to maintain what they have in the suburbs. He [Msimanga] just continued to take care of those who are advantaged, rather than disadvantaged.”
Msimanga set aside R1.3 billion to repair and maintain infrastructure, adding that the previous administration had “never” allocated funds for maintenance. Matsena called that a lie, saying budgetary guidelines from the National Treasury included an amount for maintenance.