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April - 20 April 2017 Your FREE Newspaper


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Draft budget promotes radical economic transformation

CHARMEL PAYET and PRIAH DASS ETHEKWINI Municipality?s R45 billion draft budget for the 2017/18 financial year, tabled by Mayor Zandile Gumede on 30 March, is a budget for the people which aims to drive radical economic transformation as well as fast-track service delivery in the City. Mayor Gumede said she was humbled to table her maiden draft budget. ?I am the peoples Mayor and this is the people?s budget. Everything we do is for our people who have chosen us to lead this City. This is a year of deepening unity and the year of celebrating President O.R. Tambo,? she said. The budget is comprised of a capital budget of R7.5bn, where approximately 75 percent of the capital budget is allocated to meeting infrastructure and household services needs as well as addressing backlogs over the medium term. About R 2.4bn of this is directed to new housing developments and interim servicing of informal settlements. The increase of the 2017/18 proposed operating budget from R34.9bn to R37.5bn, is mainly due to the cost of addressing service delivery backlogs, the cost of bulk purchases of water and electricity, repairs and maintenance of infrastructure. ?I believe that this budget delivers on the promises we have made at the start of our term in office on 23 August last year. This draft budget gives us impetus to strategically implement the key catalytic projects which Cllr Zandile Gumede eThekwini Mayor are set to create thousands of investment and employment opportunities. This is in keeping with the Municipality?s new Radical Economic Transformation Framework, launched earlier this year,? Mayor Gumede said. The proposed tariff increases for the 2017/18 financial year are: ? Rates 6.9%; ? Electricity 1.88%; ? Domestic water 15%; ? Business water 17%; ? Refuse removal 9.9%; ? Sanitation 9.9%. With the City?s commitment to fast-track service delivery and provide basic services our free basic services package, pensioners, child-headed households, disability grantees and the medically boarded are exempt from paying rates on the first R460 000 of their property value. Residential Properties valued up to R 230 000 (previously R 185 000) will be exempt from paying rates. All other properties valued above R 230 000, for the first R 120 000 of value no rates will be charged. ?Both political and administrative officials will embark on a public participation process on the budget to allow every resident in our community the opportunity to scrutinise the budget, engage with us on the budget and provide us with their input before the budget is finalised,? added Mayor Gumede. Regional budget hearings will be held during the months of April and May. Details of these hearings will be published soon. From left to right: Head of eThekwini?s Mayoral Parlour Martin Xaba, Mayor of Abidjan in Ivory Coast Danho Paulin Claude, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, Professor Babadtunde Agbola and Geci Keruri Sebina from SA Cities Network during the second session of the African Forum for Urban Safety. Picture: JESSIE SINGH

Focus on creating safer African cities

SOHANA SINGH IN order to meet safety, health and security needs of citizens, Africa is forging ahead with creating sustainable solutions to advance urban safety in the continent. Addressing delegates during the second session of the African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium from 3 to 5 April, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, as Chair of AFUS, said eThekwini Municipality has committed itself to creating a caring City, with all residents, businesses and visitors feeling safe and confident that their health and security needs are being met. ?Safety, crime prevention and security have been identified as the cornerstone for growth and development of our cities. The post 2015 sustainable development agenda presents us with an opportunity to review, consolidate and strengthen our urban safety and crime prevention strategies,? she said. Mayor Gumede also stressed the importance of learning and sharing best practice with other cities in Africa and abroad. ?We could not achieve our goals without active participation of other cities and strategic partners in key decision making structures for AFUS,? she said. The Forum also saw deliberations involving high level-political advocates and lead partners from local governments within the African continent and the globe take place. It also saw the establishment of the AFUS Advisory Council which will provide strategic guidance to the leadership of AFUS to strengthen the role of cities and local authorities in addressing crime and violence. A workshop with relevant stakeholders and Municipal leadership was also held to ensure synergy and partnership in dealing with safety in cities. Mayor Gumede said this platform and engagement with African cities will allow the City to look at ways to improve urban safety in all its forms. ?People need to feel safe in their spaces,? she said. Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Zou Kota- Fredericks said linking urban development with safety was important in order to build sustainable human settlements and safer communities. ?The vision is for human settlements to be safe, resilient and sustainable. This means safe, affordable housing and inclusive green and open spaces.? Thomas Chiramba, Technical Advisor at UN Habitat commended eThekwini for taking the leadership role in creating safer cities.


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