SOUTH AFRICA | The Municipality Council of Ugu, a district on the South African east coast, approved the service delivery budget of R1 Billion (USD 82031430) for the 2015/16 financial year.
The approval of the budget follows the municipality's undertaken public consultation process on the draft budget during the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Budget Road shows in all local municipalities held in April 2015.
The authorised budget will prioritise the district's core functions of water and sanitation services and infrastructure with an increased capital budget of R395 972 920 and an operational budget of R798 369 801 for the improvement of water and sanitation services, tourism, relief for the poor and special programmes.
The municipality has allocated an amount of R243 069 420 for its programme of action for the 2015/16 financial year. In the critical areas of service delivery, a bulk of the budget has been set aside in a form of a Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) of R249 316 000 to vigorously advance all the water and sanitation programmes.
For the continuation of free basic water provision via communal standpipes and drought relief, the district allocated an amount of R42 118 204 from the Equitable Share. The Equitable Share is a grant given to local governments from an equitable share of revenue raised nationally to enable the provision of basic services including water and sanitation.
The municipality will also be utilising the national government equitable share grant of R22 206 747 for the cost of supplying free basic metered water.
Water tariff subsidisation due to the difficult economic conditions that the communities of Ugu District are confronted with has been allocated a budget of R98 464 552.
The municipality to date has reached the 100% Ventilated Improved Pit latrines (VIP) in four municipalities and remains with 30% in two municipalities. Over and above the achieved milestones, the municipality has commenced with sewer pipeline and sanitation refurbishment projects throughout the district. An allocation of R5 000 000 has been made available to eradicate sanitation backlogs in the local municipalities.
Council has approved the 6.5% water and sanitation tariff rate for the urban customers. The approved tariff increase has dropped by 0.5% from the initial proposed tariff of 7% during the IDP and Budget Road shows.
In presenting this budget, the mayor Cllr Ntombifikile Gumede highlighted that, “the 2015/16 financial year tariff increases are driven by the following major broad considerations, input costs from our suppliers – Eskom tariff increase of more than 20% and Umgeni Water tariff increase of above 8% on bulk water supply and this will have a huge impact on the cost of providing our services”.
To achieve the set service delivery goals while simultaneously ensuring the municipality adheres to its sole mandate of existence that of water and sanitation services, the municipality is expected to achieve this through the implementation of the back to basics strategy.
“We are ready and capable through this draft budget we presented here today, to continue not only to make a massive contribution to the development of our district but also to spearhead, champion and coordinate such development. We recommit ourselves to overcoming the difficult challenges which impede our progress towards a better life for all,” concluded Mayor Cllr NH Gumede during her budget speech to council.