The eThekwini Municipality will invest an extra R290 million to fast track the completion of the massive water reticulation projects in western and northern parts of the City in order to improve the water supply and unlock development opportunities in these areas.
This was announced by Mayor James Nxumalo when he presented the Municipality’s R33.7 billion budget for the 2013/2014 financial year at a full Council sitting at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban on Wednesday, 29/05/2013. The budget was passed by majority vote.
Nxumalo said this amount was in addition to the amounts already provided in the budget for the Northern and Western Aqueducts.
Areas to the north of the City in particular have been experiencing water shortages due mainly to increased concentration of development which was putting extra pressure on existing infrastructure.
“To redress this situation, additional water tankers will soon be dispatched to the areas such as Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, uMzinyathi, Maphethetheni, etc. that are already experiencing erratic water supply. Secondly, we have taken a decision that an additional R290 million must be provided to accelerate the completion of the Water Aqueduct Project in advance by two years. This will enable us to increase our assurance of supply to all areas experiencing water crises and facilitate the much needed economic development in the Northern Development Corridor,” he said.
Eradication of transit camps and slums clearance, provision of electricity, water and sanitation in both rural and informal settlements as well as addressing the contradictions of poverty, unemployment and inequality were amongst the other issues highlighted by Mayor Nxumalo.
He emphasised that the Municipality is positioning itself to address unmet needs and aspirations of its citizens as the City moves towards the 20th Anniversary of our country’s freedom.
Mayor Nxumalo says, “It is this recognition about the importance of our performance as a City that has informed how we have structured our priorities and budget for the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework and the annual budget for 2013/2014 Financial Year. The total R33.7bn budget comprises of an operating budget of R28.3billion that will make provision for the continuation of the services provided by the Municipality. 29.6% makes provision for the costs to address service delivery backlogs, bulk purchases of water and electricity and a capital budget of R5.4billion continues to reflect consistent efforts to address backlogs in basic services.”
On service delivery, the Mayor announced that the Municipality has set aside R10 million for the alternative housing technology pilot project which would be used to fast track housing delivery. The project will target the relocation of 10 400 people currently living in informal settlements. He said the Municipality has taken a decision to eradicate all transit camps. The Municipality has also set a target of delivering 8 500 houses and expects to reach 20 000 in a few years time. An amount of R1.9 billion rands has been provided for housing and related infrastructure in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Nxumalo said that eThekwini is set to be one of the major benefactors of the multi-billion-rand infrastructure investment announced by President Jacob Zuma as part of the Presidential Strategic Infrastructure Programme (SIP).
In this regard the Municipality is to spend R17.6 billion over the next 3 years on public infrastructure to propel economic growth, address backlogs, facilitate small, micro and medium enterprises, reducing joblessness growth and inequalities. More of this investment will be used to unlock bottlenecks in order to create an environment that is conducive to attracting investments.
“There are currently a number of programmes and projects being undertaken as part of the City’s priorities in a range of sectors most of which align with National Government’s focus on infrastructure development and job creation. Several major infrastructure projects that form part of the SIP’s announced by Government, include the second phase of the 55 km Western aqueduct, the Aerotropolis, Dube Trade Port, King Shaka International Airport, dig-out port, logistics hub development, dedicated rail and links, Durban to Gauteng rail and road upgrades – all multibillion rand projects, which are key infrastructure developments of the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy,” he said
Cato Ridge is also one of the strategic areas on the borders of the N3 transport artery and will be developed as a support location for the Dube Trade Port and Durban Harbour.
Over the next three years the Municipality will be investing in the upgrade of bulk infrastructure in Hammarsdale.
Mayor Nxumalo said the Municipality is thrilled that the private sector has responded positively to the available investment opportunities as part of the Cornubia mixed use development which is expected to yield about 25 000 housing units, as well as industrial development in close proximity.
Some of the major capital projects that have been catered for in the Budget are:
• Water loss intervention programme – R150 million
• R1,864 bn is set aside for Electricity Infrastructure
• R1,96bn is budgeted for low cost housing and infrastructure
• R380 million for the Northern Aqueduct
• R924 million for the Western Aqueduct
• Roads Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and new access road – R1,925 billion
• R2.148 for upgrade and Expansion of Wastewater Treatment Works
• New Central Library has a budget of R321 million
• R440 million is set aside for economic development projects
• R703 million is made available for the provision of ablution blocks in informal settlements.
Mayor Nxumalo also announced that the tariff increases for electricity will be an average of 5.5 percent, down from the initial proposal of 8 percent. He says this was a way of cushioning the blow on our ratepayers.
Other tariff increases are as follows:
Assessment Rates – 6.9%
Water – Residential – 9.5%
Water – Business – 12.5%
Electricity – 5.5%
Sanitation – 6.9%
Refuse – 6.9%
The 2013/2014 budget also makes provision for a social package totaling approximately R2.7 billion rand to assist poor families partially funded by National Government.
• Properties valued up to R 185 000 will be exempt from paying rates.
• All other properties valued above R 185 000, the first R 120 000 no rates charged
• Pensioners, child-headed households, disability grantees and the medically boarded are exempt from paying rates on the first R460 000 of their property value (This amount is inclusive of the R120 000 mentioned above).
• No rates levied on first R 30 000 value of vacant land
• The first 9kl of water is free to households with property values under R 250 000.
• The first 50kwh of electricity is free to residents using less than 150kwh per month in Eskom reticulated areas
• The first 65kwh of electricity is free to residents using less than 150kwh per month in eThekwini reticulated areas
• Residential property valued up to R 250 000 exempt from domestic refuse removal tariff
• The first 9kl of effluent disposal is exempt for all properties with values under R 250 000