Tshwane to table R8,9bn budget

The Tshwane Metropolitan Council will table an R8,9-billion budget for the 2005/06 financial year at its council meeting on Thursday.

While ratepayers will not pay more for electricity before July next year, charges for water will go up 8,3% and assessment rates—more commonly known as property tax—by 7%.

Chief financial officer Renier du Toit said the budget was R1-billion more than that tabled a year ago.

“The increase is mainly due to plans to spend more on capital projects such as upgrading existing infrastructure and providing new primary infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water.

About 60% of the capital budget is directly linked to infrastructure development,” he said.

No money has been set aside for projects like the planned Rainbow Junction soccer stadium, in Pretoria North, needed for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Du Toit said the municipality was hoping for a private sector partnership under which it provided land for the stadium and the infrastructure around it, but left the planning, building, financing and managing of the stadium to outside investors.

The council’s capital budget was R1,5-billion of the total budget, compared with R1,2-billion a year ago.
It also provides for a new loan of R500-million.

Du Toit said it was decided to gear the capital budget to ensure half the money was from its own income, like rates and taxes, and the rest from external loans.

“The loan brings the municipality’s total borrowings to R2,1-billion,” he said. Du Toit said 78% of capital was linked to the City Development Plan adopted to facilitate broad strategic thinking on how the city should function 20 years from now.

There is no allocation in the new budget for a name change for the city—which critics estimate will cost R1,5-billion if approved by the minister of arts and culture—nor for the marketing of the new name internationally.

However, in the run-up to Thursday’s Budget debate, senior officials said costs attached to the switch from the name Pretoria to that of Tshwane would be covered by money provided by the province for “transformation”. - Sapa

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