Lots of unanswered questions

Peter Stenslunde, Constantia

What a very underwhelming 2017/2018 budget presentation by our new “mini mayor” of the southern peninsula.

Glib City statements were the order of the evening.

Naturally, limited time for questions (as usual and luckily for him) and questions that were answered were very vague; with lots of unanswered questions.

Lots of nodding from the front row consisting of fawning ward councillors, whose remit, for those that don’t know, is now entirely council based. The days of ward councillors representing residents is long gone – so many examples available.

Phew – another public participation process wrapped up successfully; and the eight legged politicians disappear until next year.

What an absolute joke.

Admittedly, councillor Eddie Andrews is new in the position but given the position he now occupies, his comments regarding “don’t shoot the messenger” are just not good enough.

We heard how the City is now divided into four regions: north, south, east and west, and how our region: southern, received R4 billion out of the R37 billion operating budget. No one could ask why so low and no one could answer what the capital budget for the south was.

We heard the City’s new slogan of “no compromise” on efficiency and effectiveness – yet no one could answer why they simply write off each year 854 traffic fines (75 percent of all fines issued) yet they expect to change people’s behaviour. How Sub-council 20 can approve a liquor licence in a residential area in five weeks but a law enforcement needs analysis for the area has been outstanding for one and a half years. No mention of law enforcement, metro police and traffic services departments being in complete disarray due to “lack of funds and resources”.

“No resources”, but the City writes off R900 million in water bills (note how the R50 million a year propaganda machine has mentioned nothing about this during the water crisis – how many dams could this build every year), and another R700 million across other departments.

And so on. A cool R2.5 billion is written off in the forthcoming budget year – or 29 percent of the entire rates base of the City of R8.7 billion, yes, 29 percent simply written off, every year.

Ratepayers, of course, pay for this which is a completely and utterly disgraceful solution.

No doubt the
R50 million a year City good news propaganda machine will report what an overwhelming success it was.