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Budget set to bring about visible change

The newly approved budget for Drakenstein Municipality promises the electrification of about 1 620 informal houses, but with the huge tariff hike in electricity, the poor will almost certainly struggle to keep the lights on.

The electricity tariff sees an increase of 6,84% compared to last year’s 1,75% for households and 1,88% for commercial users.

The allocation of an additional R20 million to Drakenstein’s electrification of informal settlements and the backyard dwellers programme, will provide 1 620 additional informal structures with access to electricity. Informal structures that cannot be supplied with electrification in this financial year will receive touch lights and smoke detectors.

R128,7 million has been allocated to other electricity infrastructure projects, such as the replacement of the existing 66KV electricity cables between Dalweiding, Palmiet and Parys Substations, as well as Boland Cricket’s international floodlights project.

Other tariff increases include property rates (8,20%), refuse removal (9,7%), sanitation (15%), water (7%) and housing rental (7,5%).

According to Conrad Poole, Mayor of Drakenstein, the budget is set to bring visible change, especially for the lower income groups. “Our budget is responsive to economic growth and development, the socio-economic needs of the residents of Drakenstein and our financial sustainability.”

At last week’s council meeting Poole tabled a budget of R2,845 billion, comprising a R2,391 billion operating budget and R454 million capital budget.

The budget’s main expenditure allocations include the following:

The 2018-’19 Expanded Public Works Programme will provide over 2 000 job opportunities – in waste and cleansing in informal settlements, street sweeping, bobbies on the beat, firefighting services and the cleaning and maintenance of public facilities.

R86,7 million of Drakenstein’s R101,8 million human settlement grant allocation for the new financial year will be spent on bulk and internal infrastructure services and the construction of 240 houses at Vlakkeland; and R11,4 million is for the improvement and maintenance of basic services in informal settlements.

The municipality has allocated R137,8 million for the replacement of the Strawberry King Pipeline (N1 to Wellington), upgrading bulk sewer lines, the construction of an eight megalitre reservoir at Courtrai and upgrading and extending the Wellington and Paarl wastewater treatment works.

Further projects include boreholes and filtration plant infrastructure, the Saron bulk water pipeline and storage infrastructure and the 11-megalitre Newton reservoir and pump station. In addition, about 1 400 prepaid water metres will be procured to improve revenue collection and to deal with identified water wasters in Drakenstein.

Money has been allocated to complete the construction of the dual carriageway in Berg River Boulevard as well as a dual carriageway in Van der Stel Street from Abattoir Street to Klein Drakenstein Road. Another dual carriageway along the R301 promises to unlock developments along this road.

Money has also been set aside for the tarring of sidewalks and aprons around municipal flats, for 100 speed humps, and for ramps for disabled persons.

R55,6 million have been earmarked for projects that include the upgrading and construction of parks, swimming pools and various sporting facilities.

Local economic development infrastructure, to the value of R4,6 million, will be developed for informal traders in New Street (Paarl), Mbekweni Business Hive, Arendsnes Building (Wellington) and Lantana Business Park (Paarl East).

“We must strike a balance between investing in revenue, generating infrastructure, improving the quality of life of the poor and broadening our tax base. That is how we will grow a city of excellence in Drakenstein,” Poole said. For the full budget visit www.drakenstein.gov.za.

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