Joburg in best financial shape yet

The City of Johannesburg’s combined operational and capital budget has grown to a record R47.1 billion, after exceeding R40 billion last year, finance MMC Geoffrey Makhubo said on Tuesday.

“The City is financially in the best shape yet,” Makhubo said.

“The city has a healthy cash balance, annual surpluses, our investments in strategic infrastructure and the reports from the auditor general,” he said.

“We built up substantial cash reserves through more stringent cash management. Despite monthly expenditure of R2.2 billion, the city has monthly cash balance in excess of R5 billion.”

The city’s capital expenditure over the next three years would equal R32 billion, with R10.4 billion budgeted for the 2014/15 financial year.

It was also on track to invest R100 billion in infrastructure over a 10-year period, with the infrastructure capital budget having grown from an initial R4.5 billion in the 2012/13 financial year to R10 billion this coming financial year.

“This is a key tool for improved service delivery which gives the city the ability to change the urban environment for the better through infrastructural development,” he said.

IT and broadband

Group Corporate Shared Service’s operating budget amounted to R834 million for 2014/15 and the three year capital budget allocation for Group Corporate and Shared Services is R1.6 billion for various projects.

“Key focus areas include ICT – infrastructure renewal and optimisation, software upgrades, broadband migration city-wide, and procurement of new fleet vehicles,” Makhubo said.

Electricity

Regarding rates and tariffs, electricity would increase by an average of 7.05%, which would provide the city with revenue of R13.6 billion.

“Registered indigents will continue to receive free electricity, free water, and free sanitation in terms of Johannesburg’s extended social package,” Makhubo said.

“The tariffs for waste removal services will increase by six percent for domestic households and eight percent for businesses and commercial customers.”

The proposed increases would generate sufficient revenue to ensure Pikitup could sustain its current service levels and extend services to new areas and housing developments.

Property

Properties valued at less than R200,000 and households registered for the extended social package would continue to receive free refuse removal services.

The property rates tariff would increase by five percent, while water and sewerage tariff increases would be around 8.9%.

Looking ahead, Makhubo pointed to “a smart City where there will be universal access to telecommunications at affordable prices as well as widespread ability to utilise these services”.

Reporting with Sapa

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Joburg in best financial shape yet