HCM final budget: rates increase 7%, electricity up by 12%

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The final budget has been presented by Mayor Cynthia Mqwebu in the HCM Council Chambers.   The main figures affected ratepayers are a rates increase of 7% and a 12% electricity hike.   The total budget figure is R918,196,771, with the operational budget totalling R754,860,511 and the capital budget R163,336,260.

COMPLETE SPEECH BY HER WORSHIP THE MAYOR CLLR NOMUSA MQWEBU AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE FINAL BUDGET 2015/2016 ON FRIDAY 29 MAY

Mr Speaker

Honourable Councillors

Municipal Manager and Heads of Departments

Distinguished guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning,

This week Africa celebrated the Africa Day and at the same time, the whole continent commemorated the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union on 25 May in 1963. Africa Day is aimed at celebrating the African unity and each year the day has a different theme and this year it was celebrated under the theme “We are Africa’’. I hope most of you did celebrate this day, in one way or another and one of the easiest one is by just sending a message using the social network language as used by our young people on Facebook and Twitter, by saying ‘’hashtag’’ #We are Africa.

As we celebrate this Africa Day I am pleased to say that; in our locality we have been very fortunate not to be affected by xenophobic or Afro-phobic attacks, which in itself shows that we respect unity amongst African people and that really We are One, We are Africa.

Coming back to the business of the day, Mr Speaker, it is always a pleasure for me to be before this house to table the final proposed budget, for the upcoming financial year for 2015/16. Today’s presentation is really important for various reasons; firstly it represents the last leg of a journey which has spanned several months, from the time since we tabled the very first draft budget in March earlier this year and secondly, it is our last budget during our term of office and lastly the last budget in the existence of Hibiscus Coast Municipality as we all know that next year, Hibiscus Coast Municipality will cease to exist but will amalgamate with Ezinqoleni Local Municipality to form a new municipality which will be called Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.

Mr Speaker and fellow Councillors, it should be remembered that when we presented the Draft Budget on 31 March, it was a budget with a total value of R903 685 015; comprising of capital budget totalling R150 824 504 and an operating budget of R752 860 511.

At the same time Mr Speaker and honourable councillors, we highlighted certain considerations which had influenced, and by and large shaped the content of the draft budget. Amongst those were:

  • A consideration for the prevailing economic circumstances
  • An alignment of our policies
  • The national imperative to create jobs
  • Also the fact that we align our budget to the National Development Plan

On that day, unlike during other budget presentations, there was just one issue raised and if I recall correctly it was just a clarity seeking question on rates and tariff of charges percentage which was raised by Honourable Councillor George Henderson and it was clarified.

Thereafter, as we concluded proceedings on that day and as per the norm, we invited all stakeholders to make submissions or comments on the proposed draft budget and we further engaged with our communities through Budget Izimbizo as it is prescribed in various legislative prescripts governing local government.

It is important for me to indicate that even before we started with Budget Izimbizo we had by then begun receiving submissions from various stakeholders which showed that our public participation process for adoption of the budget was a success.

Fellow Councillors, the programme of the Budget Izimbizo started on 16 and we completed it on 30 April 2015 in all of our seven municipal clusters. Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity and thank all Councillors who participated in this programme and would like to encourage all others to do so in future, if they are re-elected as Councillors. This, Mr Speaker and fellow Councillors, gives us an opportunity to hear ordinary citizens expressing their opinions not only on identified priorities but also their happiness in regards to the strides we have achieved as this government, which that in itself is a motivating factor to Work Together to Move South Africa Forward with more speed. Let me also remind the house that as it has been our norm, during the Izimbizo programme we officially handed over various projects which made the communities to be pleased as these projects are meant to better their lives.

It is my pleasure, Mr Speaker for me now to present the final Budget proposal for the 2015/2016 Financial Year which has attempted to take into consideration issues and comments raised during the consultation processes:

Starting with Rates and Tariff of Charges:Rates

The proposed rates increase for the 2015/2016 financial year is 7%

Tariff of charges for services

The increase for all tariff of charges is proposed to be by 7% as well and this excludes electricity. It should be noted that on electricity we guided by NERSA and Treasury Guidelines and the proposed increase is 12%.

Whilst talking about electricity it will proper for me to call upon all of us including our fellow communities to use electricity sparingly as we are all aware of the challenge we are facing in regards to power which has resulted to Load Shedding; Let us reduce the use of electricity by at least 2% per household and if necessary reduce by more percentage per business entity including us as government.

Mr Speaker at this juncture allow me to quote some poignant words of one of the greatest leaders produced in our Country and was from the organisation I proudly belong to, the African National Congress, the late uTata u Oliver Reginald Tambo who said, and I quote, “A Nation that does not care of its youth has no future and does not deserve one” (Close quote)….

In honour of these wise words of Isithalandwe, the distinctive thing about this budget is that we have invested a lot to the development of the Youth. We have allocated more than R500 000, 00 to sustain the Registration of needy matriculants into tertiary institutions, R360 000, 00 for in-service training where by 15 students will be getting a stipend of R2 000, 00 per month. R450 000, 00 for internship where in 15 graduates will be afforded an opportunity to get maximum work experience of 2 years whilst getting a monthly stipend of R2 500, 00. This is in addition to more than R1 million allocated for Youth Development Programmes

Mr Speaker allow me to close by going straight to the actual business of the day and now focus on the budget:

After thorough consideration our final Total Budget Proposal for 2015/2016 is R918 196 771 (Nine Hundred and Eighteen Million, One Hundred and Ninety Six Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy One Rands).

This, just below a Billion Rand Budget is divided as follows:

  • The projected annual Operating budget is R754 860 511 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Four Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Five Hundred and Eleven Rands)
  • The projected Capital budget is R163 336 260 (One Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Three Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Rands)

It should be noted that there is an addition of R14 511 756 (Fourteen Million, Five Hundred and Eleven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Six Rands) from the draft budget that was presented on 31 March 2015.

As I conclude I wish to place on record my sincere appreciation to everyone who has made a meaningful contribution to this process. The commitment and goodwill of this council, represented by both the political and administrative components, has ensured that we are able to table this budget within the stipulations of the MFMA and Municipal Budget and Reporting Regulations.

In those few words. Happy Belated Africa Day…Hashtag #We are Africa

I thank you

Cllr NCP Mqwebu

Mayor

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