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Joburg allocates R64.5bn on infrastructure investment


Johannesburg finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni has tabled a R64.5bn budget for the 2019/2020 financial year with more focus in infrastructure investment and maintenance.

The allocation represents an operating budget of R56.7bn and a capital budget of R7.8bn.

Departments getting the largest slices of the 2019 operating budget include Joburg Water (R11.5bn); the good governance cluster (R10.6bn); human and social development (R9.5bn); economic growth cluster (R5.7bn); public safety (R5.5bn); group finance (R5.4bn); environment and infrastructure (R2.5bn).

Ngobeni told councillors in Braamfontein on Wednesday that the city's housing department would get a three-year capital budget of R3.5bn and an operating budget of R1.1bn.

"As I stand here today, 160,000 people are on the housing list and our housing backlog is conservatively estimated at 300,000 units," said Ngobeni.

The allocations to housing, he said, would be channelled towards bulk infrastructure for housing developments in Diepsloot, Fleurhof, Kliptown, Lufhereng, Vlakfontein and South Hills.

Other developments to be implemented by the department include:

- refurbishment of Meadowlands hostel;
- R50m for Madala hostel in Alexandra;
- upgrading of Diepkloof hostel in Soweto at R85m; and
- upgrading of 22 old-age facilities at a cost of R100m.

Johannesburg announced plans for above-inflation increases in its tariffs. Ngobeni tabled these proposed tariff increases:

     - 13.07% for electricity across all categories of customers
     - 9.9% for water
     - 5.5% for property rates
     - 7% for refuse removal.

The city intends "to ensure that service delivery reaches the furthest corners" of the metro and will continue to provide relief to those in need through its rebates programme.

To mitigate these increases, the city will be giving households without any formal income 15 kilolitres of free water a month and 150 kilowatt hours of electricity, said Ngobeni.

Lower levels of allocations will range between 10 kilolitres of free water a month and 12 kilolitres of water provided without charge to other vulnerable city residents.