Alliance outraged at new City budget

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) has issued a strong statement in reaction to the “ongoing impact poor citizens” will experience from the City of Cape Town for their 2018/19 financial year.

According to the GCTCA’s Glorya van Niekerk, who is secretary of the Princess Vlei Civic Association, there is an ongoing outcry by residents over the budget of the City and how it impoverishes them.

“Ultimately the responsibility rests with the councillors you elected as representatives. We wish to urge member organisations to write to their respective councillors and encourage ratepayers and residents to call the councillors to account. It is too easy to blame ‘the City’, but the decision-makers are the public representatives, who either do not understand what they are signing off or are just following the party dictates. It’s time they account to the people they represent,” she says.

Added to this, the GCTCA executive issued a public statement whereby they deem the increases to be “insensitive”, saying the City has not taken into account the affordability of its rates and levies.

“Our concern is that this budget continues to add to the tremendous financial hardships on most of the citizens who are already burdened with the impact of inflation and the increase in VAT, among others. Of particular concern is the boorish, arrogant attitude of the City officials in handling the concerns of citizens,” the statement reads.

Furthermore, the executive of the GCTCA feels that ratepayers and municipal services consumers are “soft targets”.

“The reckless increases foisted upon already suffering consumers are unfair to say the least. To add insult to injury, the City’s billing system is in a mess and residents are faced with extraordinarily huge municipal bills. When an ordinary household receives a bill of millions of rand, it must be clear to even the least paid and qualified employee of the City there is a problem,” the statement continues.

They suggest that the rates increase of 6.5% is not justifiable against the national consumer price index.

“There should have been a freeze on rates increases similar to what was applied in other municipalities if the councillors were looking after the interest of their voters. With the revaluation of properties proposed to come into effect next year, the impact on the already struggling consumer is expected to worsen.

“One area where we believe the City can help is in curbing expenditure. Salaries of councillors and officials are way out of line with what is affordable,” the GCTCA states.

“The citizens of Cape Town will hold the elected representatives of the people responsible for this debacle. We are in this mess because councillors are not articulating the sentiments of their constituents when approving vast increases. Councillors must protect the citizens from hardships caused by excessive spending by council. They have failed the people of Cape Town miserably and should not be surprised if the prevailing dissatisfaction manifests in the ballot box.”