uThungulu mayor delivers final budget speech

uThungulu Mayor Thembeka Mchunu (left) delivers her final budget speech to Council, with Speaker Alice Mthembu supporting PHOTO: Rekha Naidoo

THE uThungulu District Municipality (UDM) has received its third consecutive clean audit and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone has attracted investments of more than R6.8-billion, including a R4.5-billion titanium plant for the city.
This was some of the good news shared by uThungulu Mayor, Cllr Thembeka Mchunu, delivering her 2016/2017- 2018/2019 final budget presentation at Council on Wednesday.
Her report included plotting the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the next five years and a summary of successes in eradicating water and sanitation backlogs.

 

Water and sanitation
Since 2000 Mthonjaneni and Ntambanana’s planned sanitation projects have been completed in full.
From 2001 to 2015, water backlogs were reduced from 90% to 41% and sanitation backlogs from 83% to 37%.
A total of 67 942 households were connected with water and 72 524 households received sanitation services.

 

Cost containment measures
•Municipalities are also feeling the economic pinch and wasteful expenditure will be addressed on various levels, including limited engagement of consultants.
•Travel and subsistence claims must be slashed using discounted flights, fleet vehicles and shuttle services where possible.
•Strict limitations on catering will be implemented.
•Team buildings, social and year-end functions may not be funded through Council or sponsorship by Service Providers, while expenditure on events, festivals, cruises, hosting of dignitaries and induction of councillors will be limited.
•Adverts in magazines and electronic media must be dropped in favour of the municipality’s own websites.
•Overseas conference attendance was ordered to be minimal and staff travelling to the same meeting must be limited to three, unless otherwise approved by the Municipal Manager.
•A task team of representatives of all departments will be formed to formulate the cost containment policy.

 

Economic growth
The Mayor said IDP projects will be aligned to the nine-point plan mentioned by President Zuma in the State of the Nation address.
Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value chain were initiated with the uThungulu District Fresh Produce Market.
A higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan was boosted through the RBIDZ to stimulate job creation and foreign investment.
The Mineral Beneficiation Strategy will focus on key commodity value chains, mined or processed locally, namely aluminium, coal, iron, steel, phosphates and mineral sands.

 

Revenue
The total revenue budget for the District for the 2016/17 financial year is R1.078-billion and the total expenditure is expected to be R1.136-billion.
R58-million relates to a depreciation provision, currently not cash-backed.
The total depreciation for the ensuing financial year is estimated at R64-million.
Operational expenditure, trading and non-trading services, including operational IDP projects, amounts to R669-million for 2016/17; R694-million for 2017/18; and R753-million for the 2018/19 financial year.
The total capital budget for the 2016/17 financial year is R466-million, increasing to R506-million and decreasing to R418-million in the two outer years of the MTREF.

Landfill site
Revenue increased by R3.3-million from R1,075-billion in the tabled draft budget to R1,078-billion in the final budget.
Cash accumulated reserves will be used for the feasibility study and design of cell 3 of the district landfill site, due for construction in the 2017/18 financial year.
A R45-million loan will be utilised in the 2017/18 financial year for construction of the landfill site.
Funding options, including Public Private Partnership, is investigated as an alternative to the loan.

 

Drought relief
The water services operating grant, municipal water infrastructure grant and rural households infrastructure grants have been discontinued and replaced by the water services infrastructure grant, which has an allocation of R83-million for the 2016/17 financial year.

 

Human resources
The final 2016/17 salary budget, compared to the tabled budget, has decreased by R500 000 owing to recalculation of salaries and related costs. The staff budget was severely trimmed to include only 12 critical positions from Technical Services and one from Finance.
The 81 new posts requested were reduced to 13.
The annual salary increase is 6% in line with the 2015 salary and wage agreement between SALGA and organised labour.
The average CPI was 4.73% and therefore deemed to be 5% in terms of the agreement.

 

The total multi-year project budget is as follows:
2016/2017: Operational IDP Projects – R107-million; Capital budget- R466-million.
2017/2018: Operational IDP Projects – R109-million; Capital budget – R506-millon.
2018/2019: Operational IDP Projects – R136-million; Capital budget – R418-million.

 

The total multi-year budget is as follows:
2016/2017 – R 1 078 076 684
2017/2018 – R 1 136 360 796
2018/2019 – R 1 101 344 577

 

Tariff increase
Service tariffs will increase between 10 and 25% in the 2016/2017 year owing to high costs of water reticulation, the drought effect on service provision and escalating electricity costs.
The proposed water and sanitation increase is 10%.
Waste’s proposed increase is 20%, but building rubble and green waste will see a 25% hike.

  AUTHOR
Rachelle Breed
Journalist

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