FINANCE: Cape Town Spends 94% of Budget
Recent Western Cape Business News
Over the past year, the City of Cape Town has recorded its best ever capital expenditure, with total investments of almost R4 billion in infrastructure.
In its newly released annual report for 2007/8, the municipality also recorded an unprecedented 100% expenditure of its R14,2 billion operating budget – much of which was the result of filling critical vacancies.
A record R3,7 billion - including R620 million rolled over to 2008/9 – was committed to capital projects to boost water and sewerage systems, roads, solid waste removal and electricity distribution. Housing projects have progressed, while sports facilities, parks, libraries, clinics, halls and beach amenities have been expanded.
This represents a major improvement on the City’s annual average of R1 billion, or 60% rate of expenditure, between 2000 and 2006.
“Our key objective is to promote economic growth in Cape Town by creating a more attractive and enabling urban environment for investors and skilled workers, so that more jobs can be created. This means investing in urban infrastructure and providing services to create confidence in our future,” says Helen Zille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town.
“By doing all we can to facilitate rapid economic growth, we aim to create more opportunities for all of our citizens, especially job opportunities. To address development in this manner requires an efficient and financially stable administration.
“For this reason, the multi-party government has conducted an extensive overhaul of the City’s staff structure and financial systems over the past two years. This has resulted in an overall 15% increase in skilled professionals,” says Zille.
According to Mike Richardson, the City’s Chief Financial Officer, the City also instituted a sustained debt management campaign. This resulted in a significant improvement in the City’s finances, allowing it to increase rates and service rebates for poor residents and pensioners.
Most significantly, the Auditor-General has given Cape Town an unqualified audit for the fifth consecutive year, and the Council’s strong credit rating from Moody’s has been maintained: Aa2.za (long term) and Prime-1.za (short term).
The City’s procurement processes have also become more efficient. In the past financial year, 431 tenders were issued – 24% more than in the previous financial year. The time taken to finalise tenders has also dropped from 15 weeks in 2005 to 6,5 weeks.
Cape Town is also the first South African local government whose supply chain management department has obtained the rigorous ISO 9001 accreditation, thus setting a national benchmark for awarding contracts efficiently and transparently.
Another major achievement which has boosted the City’s international status has been the election of Executive Mayor Helen Zille as the world’s top mayor out of a group of 820 mayors nominated by more than 74 000 voters worldwide.
The 2007/2008 annual report also reflects on how the Council has been gearing up for the huge challenges and opportunities offered by the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, including the continued construction of the Green Point Stadium.
“Many of the Council’s achievements during this financial year have been with the long-term aim of maximising the potential of this event, while leaving a lasting legacy to benefit all Capetonians,” says Zille.
At the same time, the annual report also lists a number of key developmental challenges facing the City.
In the past 50 years, Cape Town’s population has grown from 800 000 people to about 3,4 million, but some of its basic systems, including wastewater treatment, electricity reticulation and roads, have not been serviced for over 30 years.
Cape Town has had to cope with a 43% increase in solid waste disposal since 1999, demand for the treatment of wastewater is growing by 7% per annum, and its electricity reticulation network is also in need of an upgrade.
Its most serious crisis, however, is the shortage of housing. In 1994, there were 28 000 shacks in Cape Town. This mushroomed to 105 000 in 2006, with additional tens of thousands of backyard structures. The current shortage of 300 000 housing units is increasing at a rate of about 16 000 units per year.
The City is currently implementing a comprehensive informal settlement upgrade master plan, which is designed to deliver essential services to all of Cape Town’s 222 informal settlements.
“Nonetheless, this is an exciting time in the history of Cape Town, and I believe we are well placed for infrastructure-led, sustainable economic growth,” says Zille.
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