South Africa


City of Cape Town blames Covid-19 for R400m budget rollover

City of Cape Town blames Covid-19 for R400m budget rollover
The City of Cape Town's 2020/21 adjusted budget has a R1.4bn reduction in funds, which Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson says is because less money is coming from the national government. (Photo: Flickr / Jaap Oostinjen)

In the 2020/21 adjusted budget, the City of Cape Town rolled over about R400m from incomplete projects from the previous financial year. The EFF, ANC, Cope and ACDP rejected the adjusted budget, which did not stop the majority DA getting the budget approved and adopted.

The City of Cape Town says Covid-19 delayed some of its projects, leaving about R400-million to be rolled over to the 2020/21 adjusted budget. 

The rolled-over money is for projects that weren’t completed by the end of June. Contractors couldn’t work onsite during Level 4 and Level 5 of the lockdown, which affected spending and the completion of projects, said Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson at Thursday’s council meeting.

One example, he said, was the delay of a site handover of the Green Point Park Environmental Education project which resulted in planned work not being completed by 30 June. 

But Xolani Sotashe, ANC caucus leader, said the City was using Covid-19 as a scapegoat. 

“Don’t use Covid-19 as a scapegoat for mediocrity. What have you been doing for the past eight months with your projects?” asked Sotashe. EFF councillor Mbulelo Dwane agreed.  

R10-million of the rolled-over funds will go to the Human Settlements directorate, while R11-million will go to the Urban Management directorate. 

The 2020/21 adjusted budget also has a significant reduction in funds, which Neilson says is because less money is coming from the national government.

“The [total] reduction of R1.4-billion will have quite a significant impact on service delivery,” said Neilson. 

In the 2020/21 adjusted budget, the Water and Waste directorate budget will be reduced by R67-million. This directorate is involved in managing water catchment areas, water storage and the treatment of wastewater.

Mahomed Cassim, a COPE councillor, said that “the Water and Waste directorate needs to be increasing their expenditure, not decreasing it”. 

In the original 2020/21 budget, about R400,000 was meant for upgrading a canal in Manenberg – this has disappeared from the adjusted budget. While Cassim acknowledged that the City was in a difficult position as funds to the City were declining, he noted that the reduced budget will increase social upheaval. 

“The economic crisis is already taking place and we need to rethink financial stability and resilience,” said Cassim. 

The reduced funds also mean less money will go to housing projects. The Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG) was reduced by R32.8-million due to the allocation received in June by the National Treasury. 

“You must go to Elsies River and tell them that the housing project there has been reduced by R6-million… go to Macassar and tell them that the housing project there has been reduced by R10-million,” Sotashe told DA councillors. 

Sotashe said that the City was selling land to private developers and claiming that there isn’t enough City-owned land to build housing, which, he said is simply not true. 

An ANC councillor said, “The Constitution requires a municipality to give priority to the basic needs of a community,” but the City wasn’t doing that. 

“The dams are 80% full but we still have residents without water.” DM


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