Joburg’s R59 billion budget for the next fiscal year, starting in July, was tabled on 24 May by Finance MMC Funzela Ngobni and we have put together 15 important points Ngobeni spoke on during his maiden budget speech.
1. First and foremost, an update on Joburg’s billing ‘crisis’
Ngobeni said the bulk of queries relate to estimation and many meters not actually being read. But Ngobeni said a billing task team has already been producing results since the average time to resolve a billing query is starting to decrease.
2. New service standards
Ngobeni also announced that there will be new service standards the City will strive to uphold. Among these is the goal to issue all clearance certificates within 30 days, resolve 85 per cent billing queries within 30 days and all billing queries in no more than 90 days and to open a new account within 30 days.
3. Housing grants
Despite the R363 million cut to Joburg’s urban settlements development grant, the budget is making way for housing capital expenditure of R3,4 billion of the three-year medium term.
4. More title deeds
In the next financial year, which starts in July, the City plans to hand out another 2 000 title deeds. According to the MMC, this will add to the close to
5 200 that have already been handed out by the coalition government.
5. Formalising informal settlements
Formalising informal settlements still has a cut of the budget, and more money will also be set aside for upgrading inner-city emergency housing and rentals tock. R60 million is also set aside for the refurbishment of four hostels, including Diepkloof and Meadowlands.
6. City power gets more capital expenditure
City Power’s capital expenditure (CapEx) budget has been increased by 25 per cent to R1 billion for the next fiscal year. This includes funds for electrification of more informal settlements.
7. Electrical infrastructure
City Power will also have a three-year focus on completing a number of refurbishments and building of key infrastructures like substations, transformers, and transmission lines. Substations at Roosevelt Park, Wilro Park, and Sebenza are on the list of upgrades.
8. Meter replacement
City Power has also been given R120 million in the next fiscal year to replace old meters with semi-automated and automated prepaid metres ‘in order to reduce the need for manual meter reading’.
9. Fewer water leaks
With a R3,1-billion allocation over the medium term, Johannesburg Water will be able to reduce the number of leaks by 6 000, from an estimated 45 000 a year.
10. More Pikitup employees
With R2,3 billion for operating expenses in the next fiscal year, Pikitup will be able to employ 1 400 former [email protected] employees, add cleanings shifts and add another 1 400 more employees will be filled in funded vacancies.
11. Substance abuse
The City plans to have eight community substance abuse treatment centres by July next year in areas like Poortjie and Cosmo City.
12. More extended hours, mobile clinics
The City plans to have a total of 26 clinics operating at extended hours by July next year, more than double the current 11 clinics that have had their hours extended. An additional mobile clinic will also be purchased and three more are planned to be bought in the 2019/20 fiscal year.
13. Social development
Funding has been set aside for a R10-million new early childhood development training centre, additional social workers, and R2 million for providing skills development opportunities within shelters for displaced people.
14. Emergency management
Joburg’s Emergency Management Services will get a medium-term capital budget of R260 million to continue training the new 1 500 Metro police officers, to purchase new fire and rescue equipment and upgrade the Alexandra Fire Station.
15. Grass cutting
The R107-million budget for horticultural services, which include grass cutting and tree pruning, has been nearly doubled to R207 million for the next fiscal year.