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City of Joburg budget finally passed

This was the third time Herman Mashaba presented the budget after it was rejected twice over the past two weeks, with opposition parties calling it anti-poor.

FILE: Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s budget has finally been passed by the city council despite continued opposition by the African National Congress (ANC).

This was the third time Mashaba presented the R59 billion budget after it was rejected twice over the past two weeks, with opposition parties calling it anti-poor.

The parties took issue with the proposed tariff hikes for water and electricity with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) giving the mayor an ultimatum to reduce the increases or face another rejection from the red berets.

The ANC boycotted the council when it approved the budget.

Mashaba had to make changes to his budget first before the EFF could give its seal of approval.

EFF councillor Sipho Sithole said: “Speaker, as the EFF, we do accept amendments made in the electricity tariff from 7.37% to 7.1% also accepting the water and sanitation tariffs from 14.2% to 13.2%.”

The Democratic Alliance says these changes to the tariff hikes will not have an impact on service delivery.

But the ANC, which was absent when the budget was approved, continued to bash it, calling it anti-poor.

MASHABA RELIEVED

At the same time, Mashaba says while he welcomes the approval of the city’s budget, he’s unhappy that it took so long to be passed.

The mayor rushed against time to have the council pass the budget before the end of this month or face having the metro placed under administration.

Mashaba is relieved that his metro is no longer facing the possibility of being placed under administration.

“I’m excited, I’ve got a budget behind me and now I can focus on delivery.”

But the ANC’s Jolidee Matongo explains why the party still rejected the amended budget.

“His administration has said publicly that the consultation with communities was inadequate. So we think passing a budget that doesn’t reflect the wishes of the people of Johannesburg is quite unfortunate.”

Mashaba says he is confident that the budget is pro-poor.

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