ON February 28, the adjustments budget was passed at a metro council meeting. While the DA supported the passing of the adjustments budget, I pointed out the lack of funding in some of the directorates for essential services for the balance of this financial year, which ends on June 30.
This is an extract from my speech.
"We are all aware that the budget this year was cut to the bone and then again cut to accommodate the unbudgeted item, the Afcon Cup, leaving us with insufficient budget for essential services.
"Safety and security: R800 000 is needed for disaster relief. There is no budget to cover disaster relief. We are forced to ensure that money is found for the period March 1 to June 30.
"The fire department budget runs out at the end of March, at best. From the beginning of April to the end of June we have no budget – what is the plan?
"We will be forced to close some fire stations if budget is not found.
"Health: on the bucket eradication programme R500000 was allocated in the budget. No extra funding has been found for this critical item in the adjustments budget.
"We already have a massive backlog. We need to find funds for this critical item very urgently.
"Electricity and energy: for the lighting along the N2 we need approximately R2-million minimum to cover us until the end of June. We cannot just ignore this issue – already this city has half of its lighting non-functional.
"By the end of June, if we do not start work now, we will be 'in the dark' or at best 'dimly lit'.
"Infrastructure and engineering: we have run out of budget for storm water, minor flood control repairs and storm water canal cleaning. We need R1.5-million to cover us this financial year – or else!
"Parks: R700000 is needed for bush clearing, rough mowing and weed spraying, and our budget is now on the verge of being depleted. Already our city is in a disgraceful state, we cannot allow the city to deteriorate any further.
"This amount must be found.
"The DA must register its grave concern. How can we tell the public: sorry, but you will have to wait until July for service delivery.
"I plead with our chief financial officer and acting municipal manager to ensure we address the lack of budget in the areas mentioned. I would also ask that we check all directorates and ensure that all essential services are covered.
"Lastly, has a budget been allocated for the Splash Festival? If the answer is yes, can we be given the amount?"
You are a ratepayer, you pay your rates every month and you are therefore entitled to at least basic service delivery. If you have a pothole in your street or a light that does not work, whatever the problem might be, contact the municipality's service delivery hotline on 080-020-5050. Alternatively contact your ward councillor whose job it is to assist you in this regard.
If you do not have your ward councillor's details, contact the DA office on tel (041) 582-1770 for assistance.
Angelo Dashwood, DA spokesman, budget and treasury, Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality