‘We’ll have no city to run’: Speaker warns City of Joburg could be placed under administration
The metropolitan municipality has missed the deadline for passing its budget.
City of Joburg speaker Colleen Makhubele looks on as Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda speaks during a council meeting on 5 May 2023. Photo: Gallo Images/Sydney Seshibedi
City of Johannesburg speaker Colleen Makhubele has warned the metropolitan municipality could be placed under administration if the budget is not passed by council.
MMC of Finance Dada Merero is set to deliver the City of Joburg’s 2023 budget speech on Tuesday following last week’s State of the City Address.
Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, who has been in office for little over a month, painted a bleak picture of the city’s finances as he outlined his plans for the metro.
The city has been facing service delivery crises, poor financial management and disputes between political parties in the past year.
The metropolitan municipality will now to have aim to strike a balance between the needs of residents and the city’s ability to provide services.
The city last year tabled a R77.1 billion budget, with electricity infrastructure receiving the largest chunk of the capital spend.
Briefing the media ahead of the budget speech, Makhubele said the city was “sailing very close to the wind” and emphasised the need for the budget to receive a greenlight.
“I hope you are aware that if this budget is not approved on Wednesday by the majority of council members in chambers, it effectively means that the city has no money.
“In simple terms, it means we will have no city to run… failure to approve this budget would mean that the MEC [Mzi Khumalo] must put the city under administration,” she said on Monday.
“It’s very important that the MMC of Finance meets the reasonable expectations of various political parties in the presentation of the budget and he is able to address all the concerns of different constituencies so that we have it approved as we ought to.”
Makhubele also highlighted that the city missed its deadline for passing its budget before the start of the current financial year.
“We are already late in presenting the budget because of the political changes that we have experienced. We had to get an extension from the MMC of Finance.”
According to Section 139(4) of the Constitution, the provincial government must intervene if a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an obligation to approve a budget or any revenue-raising measures necessary to give effect to the budget.
Such interventions include dissolving the municipal council, appointing an administrator until a new council is elected, and approving a temporary budget or revenue-raising measures to ensure the continued functioning of the municipality.
State of the City Address debate
Before the budget can be tabled on Tuesday, city councillors are expected to continue the debate on the recent State of the City Address.
The debate was adjourned last Wednesday after Gwamanda fell ill.
He had to receive medical attention as he was feeling unwell during the council sitting.
The Joburg mayor is now set to resume his duties this week, according to Makhubele.
Gwamanda will respond to the debate once it has concluded on Tuesday before the budget is presented.
A debate on the budget speech will take place on Wednesday.