Bonteheuwel rejects budget

Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie got feedback from his constituency.

Bonteheuwel residents rejected mayor Patricia de Lille’s proposed budget at a public participation meeting, with many saying that it does not make sense that only R700000 is being allocated for housing, while R36 million is allocated to electrify backyard dwellings.

The municipal tariff increases tabled for the 2018/19 proposed budget, include an increase of 29.6% for water, 7.2% for rates, 8.1% for electricity, 26.9% for sanitation and 5.7% for refuse.

The City of Cape Town’s proposed budget for the upcoming financial year is a total of R49.1 billion with R39.8 billion on the operating budget and R9.2 billion for capital expenditure.

Sub-council 5 held its public participation meeting on Wednesday April 11 at the Bonteheuwel civic centre, where residents had an opportunity to have their say and submit comments. The closing date for the public participation process is Friday May 4.

In March, Ward 50 councillor Angus Mckenzie said there were plans to build 360 new houses (“Planned scheme is a first in 20 years,” Athlone News, March 21).

Resident Nazeem Dollie asked why the City would spend R36 million on electrifying backward dwellings, instead of using that money to build more houses. Mr Dollie, who is also a trader in the area’s CBD, also questioned why there was no budget proposed for the promised upgrade of the CBD.

“It seems the City is prepared to spend this high figure on electric boxes because they would benefit from it hugely. I also don’t see anything in the budget about the CBD upgrade,” he said.

Abduragmaan Jacobs, from the Bonteheuwel Ratepayers’ and Tenants’ Association (Brata), echoed Mr Dollie’s concerns, adding that a public participation meeting had to happen before the mayor drafted a proposed budget, not after.

Resident Paul du Plessis said: “The City is only prepared to spend R400000 for safety, but R36 million for electricity for backyarders – that tells us the City does not want to get rid of backyarders.”

Nadia Mayman de Grass said tariff increases should be between 3% and 6%.

“None of us receive an increase in salary of more than 10% per annum. I refuse to see how the City can justify these increases. I am sure the R20 million budgeted for security across the city will only benefit the leafy suburbs. Bonteheuwel trek altyd aan die kortste ent,” she said.

Nolleen Petersen said the City was strategic when it decided to host a public participation meeting on a Wednesday evening.

“Bonteheuwel has 230 churches who have gatherings on a Wednesday night. So many could not be here. I feel disrespected that the City chose this night.”

Michael Hoffmeester, chairperson of the Backyarders Forum in Bishop Lavis and a Ward 24 committee member, said he was disappointed that he had not been allowed to express his views in the meeting.

“I represent a constituency and they expect feedback – they are the poorest of the poor. When I thought it was finally time to express my views, the chairperson of the meeting introduced focus groups to my surprise,” Mr Hoffmeester said.

Most of the people present said they rejected the proposed budget.