Stop Gamagara IDP & Budget


We object to the budget for the 2017/18 financial year, as tabled in the Gamagara Local Municipality, for the following reasons:
1. Three of the seven wards in the municipality, namely Ward 3, Ward 4 and Ward 7, were excluded from the public participation processes. Failure to involve, consult and consider these members of the local community in the preparation, tabling and adoption of the budget constitutes a violation of section 4(2)(c), section 4(2)(e), section 16(1)(a)(iv), section 17(1)(b) as well as section 29(1)(b) of the Municipal Systems Act and section 23(1)(a) of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
2. The budget for 2017/18 proposes a tariff increase of 40% for water, 50% for sanitation and 50% for refuse removal. These tariff increases are clearly unjustifiable, unaffordable and do not reflect an appropriate balance between the affordability to poorer households and other customers while ensuring the financial sustainability of the municipality. These tariff increases are even more outrageousconsidering the directive from National Treasury in the MFMA Circular No. 86 that all increases in excess of the 6.4% projected inflation target must be justified.
3. The budget for 2017/18 do not explore avenues of revenue generation fully, but simply places an unreasonable and excessive burden on the consumers and ratepayers in the municipality.
4. The unjustifiable tariff increases pose a risk that consumers will default on payments, which will be detrimental to the financial health of the municipality. The risk increases when one considers that payment of municipal accounts remain a challenge for the municipality, as the municipal administration is not always efficient or effective.
5. The exorbitant tariff increases will hamper economic growth in the municipality, as many small businesses will not be able to afford the increases. Given the economic constraints in the country, one would want to see that the municipality supports and assists businesses instead of effectively shutting them down through exorbitant tariff increases.
For the reasons stated above and given the serious examples of non-compliance with applicable laws, we petition council:
(a) To review the budget in its entirety;
(b) To include all of the wards in the Gamagara Local Municipality in the public participation processes;
(c) To ensure that all budget proposals comply with directives, guidelines and regulations issued by the National Treasury; and
(d) To ensure that all budget proposals will stimulate economic growth in the municipality.
(e) Address the incompetence of the individuals involved in creating inadequate budgets and who is responsible for the poor financial management at Gamagara Municipality, of which this is only one example of many. The community will benefit from the removal of at least the Financial Manager.