Tshwane’s DA-led multiparty government is using the new budget adjustments, which are aimed at the poor, as a ploy to win votes ahead of the 2019 general elections, says the ANC.
Mayor Solly Msimanga tabled a “pro-poor” adjusted budget and the adjusted service delivery and budget implementation plan for the 2017/18 medium-term revenue and expenditure framework.
This after a visit by the National Treasury in January and assessment of the performance of the municipality during the first half of the financial year, taking into account factors such as additional revenues that have become available, unforeseeable and unavoidable expenditure, and service delivery performance.
Despite the passing of the new budget by 120 votes at the council sitting yesterday, Tshwane ANC caucus leader Mapiti Matsena said his party did not support the new budget as it showed dishonesty. He said the DA-led government only adjusted its expenditure to win votes ahead of the 2019 elections.
“We are not going to support it. We have raised and approved the previous budget on the basis that it will assist in our 69 wards. But from July until now, we realised, and they have realised, that no ward in the townships benefitted from that approved budget,” Matsena said.
“But they want to address what we complained about now in their budget. It is not an honest move but a 2019 electioneering ploy and we are not going to fall into their trap.”
Based on mid-term results, Tshwane MMC for finance MareLise Fourie said revenue was expected to increase by R450.8 million, due to increases in property rates and investments, grant allocations from national and provincial government and increases in other revenue.
“The total operating expenditure will increase by R679.5 million, to address some of the shortfalls on, for example, contractually obligated expenditure,” said Fourie.
“Expenditure will increase as a result of additional grant funding in respect of the bus operating subsidy for Mamelodi amounting to R72 million and funding for top structure housing amounting to R225 million.”
While Msimanga said there were no budget cuts, the Economic Freedom Fighters questioned the underspending of grants such as the urban settlements development grant, the integrated city development grant and the public transport network, where funds were returned to the National Revenue Fund.
The EFF’s Benjamin Disoloane said Msimanga’s government had shifted R6.9 million, which was meant for an informal traders’ market in Marabastad, with the claim of “insufficient budget”.
“Yet you have committed R13 million for a golf tournament.”