With a deadline looming, the wrangling and trading concluded on Thursday 9 July with some standout amounts coming the way of Roodepoort.
In what the Democratic Alliance (DA) labels ‘victories’, the budget allows for a 4% increase in property rates, a 6.23% increase in electricity charges and a 6.6% increase in water tariffs.
The DA’s positive view of the budget stems from the fact that the increases proposed by their counterparts from the African National Congress (ANC) were several percentage points higher than what was finally agreed on.
“After extensive negotiations, several far-reaching interventions proposed by the DA were incorporated into the final budget,” claimed DA City of Johannesburg Caucus leader, Leah Knott.
“The budget is not without its flaws, in particular the provision made for a 6.25 per cent staff salary increase. The DA will continue to oppose this,” she continued.
The budget was finally approved after an ultimatum was issued by Gauteng provincial government. The City of Johannesburg council had been threatened with being put under administration, putting opposition representatives between a rock and a hard place.
Knott explained the consequences of allowing the council to fall under administration, saying that “council would then be dissolved”.
The province then could have imposed any tariff increases it wanted and allocated budget as it saw fit.
In essence, there would be no oversight over the actions taken by the City and residents would be left to fend for themselves without any elected representative within the City.
According to the budget available on the City of Johannesburg’s website, the residents of Roodepoort can look forward to a host of new developments, most notably:
- R100 million for the Princess social housing project – R56 million for a Roodepoort CBD road infrastructure
- R46 million for a new community centre in Matholesville
- R21 million for a new clinic in Florida – R17 million for a new clinic in Zandspruit
- R740 million allocated to City Power with R15 million for a substation in Ruimsig, and R26.5 million for new service connections in Roodepoort Ext 2
- R22 million for sewer upgrades in Witpoortjie Residents will also welcome the prioritisation of key support systems.
The distribution networks of City Power and Johannesburg Water, among others, will be upgraded and stabilised significantly.
“We redirected allocations for non-essential projects to essential infrastructure projects,” she stated.
The Ward 97 councillor was proud of the overall outcome and the work of her colleagues, given the circumstances.
“Residents will be cushioned against the effects of Covid-19 and there will be economic upliftment. Though we are in opposition, we have demonstrated that, above all else, we work for the well-being of our residents,” she concluded.
This article first appeared on Roodepoort Rekord and was republished with permission.