IDP and budget meeting for Alberton

The public participation meeting of the draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget for Alberton wards was held on April 17.

The IDP is a process where municipalities prepare a strategic development plan spanning a five year period. The process includes planning, budgeting and resource allocation.

It should be noted that the proposed budget is still in draft stage and can be commented on and amended.

Five-year goals

Certain specific areas of development over the five-year programme were highlighted during the IDP meeting. Proposed areas include improved service delivery that is both visible and impactful; electrification of all informal settlements in the Ekurhuleni area; construction of 100 000 housing units; and provision for 59 000 serviced stands. This will tie in with making informal settlements, in general, more habitable by improving services to the areas.

For the advancement of the Ekurhuleni area, the municipality will strongly pursue the establishment of an Ekurhuleni University, as Ekurhuleni is the only major municipality that does not have one. A power station is proposed to both broaden accessibility and ensure that a supply of power to Ekurhuleni is secure. The possibility of a major festival specific to the city of Ekurhuleni was also discussed.

The city will aim to increase the number of clinics that pilot the 24-hour health care programme.

During the next five years, the 10-point economic revival plan will be implemented. This plan includes:

1. Creation of a clear roadmap for the effective implementation of the Aerotropolis Master Plan.

2. Revitalising the manufacturing sector.

3. Enabling an effective public transport system.

4. Acceleration of the Industrial Development Zones (IDZ) and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) programmes.

5. Making land available for strategic development.

6. Implementation of a township economy strategy.

7. Empowerment and support of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) through public procurement.

8. Massive investment into Ekurhuleni’s infrastructure.

9. Promote the use of local products.

10. Development of skills and personal capacity.

Proposed implementation for the year 2017/2018

During the current financial year, Ekurhuleni will deliver the following improvements:

• The road network will see considerable improvement.

• New roads totalling 38km will be added to the network.

• Roads totalling 3 000km will be maintained and rehabilitated, mainly focusing on the repair of potholes and stormwater drains.

• In total, nine health care clinics offering 24-hour service will be created, with two more that will offer 22-hour service. Three Early Childhood Development Centres will be built.

• For the improvement of waste management, a total 22 000 240 litre waste bins will be rolled out. The city also promises a 95 per cent adherence to the waste collection schedule.

• One-hundred-and-nineteen informal settlements will be provided with minimum basic services and 4 333 stands will be serviced and allocated to their rightful owners.

• In informal residences, 6 000 households will be electrified and streetlights and high mast lights will be provided.

• Towards the improvement of availability of emergency services, 30 additional ambulances and six paramedic response vehicles will be provided.

• For the improvement of skills, 1 757 students will pursue academic qualifications through Mayoral Bursaries. An additional 500 bursaries will be awarded this year.

• A total of 500 people will benefit from the industrial skills programme. Five township business hubs will be developed and operationalised.

Budget framework for the financial year

In the budget, provision is made both for the capital budget and the operational budget. The capital budget provides for infrastructure needs such as construction, network enhancement and electrification. The operational budget is used to fund the daily activities of the city.

The capital budget is totalled at R6.7-billion. The funding for the budget is generated from three sources. Revenue internally generated by the city constitutes 15 per cent of the budget with government grants providing a further 34 per cent. External loans constitute the largest portion of the funding for capital at 51 per cent or R3.4-b.

The operating budget for the financial year is totalled at R37.5-b. Of this amount, the largest portion of R29.2-b will be generated internally by the city. The remaining amount will be from government grants.

To facilitate the budget, main tariff increases in the following areas are proposed:

1. Sanitation: 9 per cent

2. Water: 12.96 per cent

3. Property: 10 per cent

4. Energy: between 5.23 per cent and 8.5 per cent

5. Refuse removal: 7.5 per cent

6. Building plans: 5 per cent

7. Hire of parks facilities: 10 per cent

8. Municipal bus services: 6.83 per cent

Special mention should be given to the increase in cemetery and crematoria tariff increases to people who are not residents of Ekurhuleni, which is 6.5 per cent. Tariffs are unchanged for residents.

There are certain free basic services that are offered to the community of Ekurhuleni. Six kilolitres of water are offered free to all citizens. A reduction of R150 000 is made from property value assessment rates. There are also additional rebates offered to pensioners, places of worship and non-profit organisations.

There is a proposed gradual withdrawal of free basic services on water and sanitation to households that can afford it. These households refer to non-indigents and people with a property value above a certain threshold.

Alberton proposals

Several projects specifically pertaining to Alberton was announced at the meeting. Resurfacing of roads was announced for the following roads: Heidelberg Road, Michelle Avenue, Milton Crescent, Newquay Road, Swartkoppies Road and Voortrekker Road. The municipality will also upgrade Michelle Avenue. Special mention was made to the restoration of Alberton Boulevard, which has been a sore spot for some time.

Refurbishing of the Alberton library has been budgeted for in this financial year. The Eden Park Stadium will be rehabilitated.

Various improvements to the Alberton energy structure will be made. This includes lighting in the Alberton North area, as well as network enhancements in the area. The Diens Street substation will be upgraded to improve energy supply to all areas.

For a more detailed budget description please see the linked PDF. Alberton IDP

Concerns raised

Residents raised their concerns regarding the budget to MMC for Finance and Economic Development Clr Doctor Xhakaza. The principal concerns pertained to the high loan amount, tariff increases and unmentioned roads that needed improvement or resurfacing.

The MMC commented that both the tariff increases and high loan amount were a necessity as the internal revenue was insufficient to cover the expenses. This is despite the high collection rate of 97.61 per cent. Xhakaza commended the citizens of Alberton for loyally paying the tariffs that are placed upon them.

Specific concerns regarding various unpaved and dangerous roads in the Eden Park area was raised by residents of the area. The MMC acknowledged their concerns and added that they will look at the roads that were mentioned to improve the safety of the area.

Lastly, comment was given on the reason certain projects weren’t on the budget. The first IDP and budget concerns meeting was held in October 2017 where concerns raised were added to the budget. If the concerns weren’t raised at this previous meeting it would not reflect on the current budget.

Further input from the public

Should you have any concerns or comments about the proposed budget please address your comments to the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality by emailing your comments to [email protected]

Closing date for submitting comments is April 23.

Also Read:

The City of Ekurhuleni comments on illegal churches

Concerns over planned overflow pipeline in Meyersdal

For free daily local news in the south, visit our sister newspapers Alberton RecordComaro ChronicleSouthern Courier and Get it Joburg South Magazine.

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  AUTHOR
Roedolf Walker
Journalist

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