MunicipalNews

Durban’s 2019/20 budget: What you need to know

The draft budget and Integrated Development Plan for the 2019/20 financial year will be tabled for adoption at full council at the end of May.

PRIORITIES in the draft 2019/20 budget are service delivery, economic growth, poverty alleviation, investment and job creation with ‘unavoidable’ tariff increases.

The City presented the draft 2019/2020 budget to business stakeholders at the Durban ICC on 22 May.

The business community showed support for the budget but stated the challenges the City faces.

Deputy mayor, Fawzia Peer, said the budget is balanced and sustainable and has key focus areas.

“This budget supports our commitment to broadening service delivery, attracting investors and expanding investment in infrastructure within the current constrained economic environment currently being experienced.”

Peer said tariff increases were unavoidable.

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“We need the private sector to partner with us in growing the economy. It is, however, our responsibility to create a stable environment to ensure investors such as yourselves can take advantage of the conducive environment to grow your businesses,” said Peer.

Deputy city manager: treasury, Dr Krish Kumar, presented the budget and a particular point of interest was the actual cost to live in the City. According to the South African Cities Network, eThekwini Municipality’s cost was lower than average.

“The National Treasury benchmarking exercise confirms this is still the case and it actually has the lowest account in respect of middle income and affordable housing.”

Beryl Mphakathi, acting on behalf of City Manager Sipho Nzuza, said that opportunities for growth and empowerment of small businesses is a priority.

“Creating jobs and empowering our people are some of the core functions that characterise eThekwini Municipality which is why we are doubling our efforts in ensuring that emerging businesses benefit by empowering and assisting them to identify and exploit available opportunities.”

The word from the business community was strong and direct. Chief financial officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mike Raftery said business thrives in an environment of security and certainty.

He said appreciated the efforts made by the City, but reminded the gathering of the serious challenges in Durban. “More must be done to curb the non-revenue water loss, the City’s ageing drainage system and other related issues.

“A City is not determined by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams,” added Raftery.

 

 

 

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