Pretoria News

State of Capital Address ’not impressive’

- LIAM NGOBENI liam.ngobeni@inl.co.za

OPPOSITION parties were not pleased with Tshwane mayor Randall Williams’s maiden State of the Capital Address.

The ANC and EFF bemoaned the absence of a focus on issues affecting the majority of citizens in the speech.

In the speech, Williams said the first phase of the multi-year project to upgrade the Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant was on track.

He said overall progress was at 48%, with the contractor expecting more than 50% of the work to be done by the end of this financial year.

The facility is the biggest water treatment plant in Tshwane and purifies 45% of the city’s waste water.

“It will remain in operation during the upgrade project. However, phase 1 is just the start, of course. We are still planning on implementi­ng phase 2 and 3 over the next five years,” the mayor said.

The full cost of the project is estimated to be approximat­ely R2 billion.

The second phase is due to start in the 2021/22 financial year, and will provide an additional 80 megalitres of treatment capacity per day to facilitate new developmen­ts for the next 20 to 30 years.

The Baviaanspo­ort Water Treatment Works project, according to Williams, was 88% complete, and on track for completion next month.

“This R41 million project will restore the additional treatment capacity needed for the plant, to ensure that the treated effluent released into the Pienaars River complies with national standards. This will stop further pollution of the Pienaars River and the Roodeplaat Dam downstream.”

In relation to electricit­y, the new Wildebeest infeed sub-station, that will link to Eskom and the rest of the province, was on track to be completed by 2024 in partnershi­p with Eskom.

“We are also at an advanced planning stage regarding the refurbishm­ent of both the Mooikloof and Wapadrand sub-stations, which were damaged during fire incidents.”

Regarding housing, he said Tshwane had a total of 227 informal settlement­s spread across its seven regions, with an estimated 345 710 households living there.

The recently approved Tshwane Informal Settlement­s Strategy would guide the incrementa­l upgrading of informal settlement­s in Tshwane.

“The strategy will be largely funded through the upgrading of informal settlement­s partnershi­p grant, and will be focused on providing basic services like water, sewerage infrastruc­ture and electricit­y in informal settlement­s.”

A total of 60 upgrading plans were developed for implementa­tion in the short to medium term. “A total of eight informal settlement­s are targeted for formalisat­ion in the township establishm­ent stage this financial year, with 19 informal settlement­s targeted for the 2021/22 financial year, and a total of 52 in the next three years.”

Targeted areas for formalisat­ion in the financial year include Ga-Rankuwa Unit 15, Klerksoord Extension 32, Mabopane Extension 1, Nellmapius Extension 22, Pienaarspo­ort Extension 20, Pienaarspo­ort Extension 21, Soshanguve Block T and Stinkwater Extension 10. “The areas targeted for formalisat­ion in the next three years will see 72 880 households provided with formal and permanent stands.”

On rates collection, the mayor said the the City faced a significan­t drop in revenue. “In the last financial year the budget estimation for the collection rate was 95%; with the Covid-19 impact it dropped to less than 75% towards the end of 2019/20 financial year.

“Following the reinstatem­ent of council at the end of October 2020, we immediatel­y began to interrogat­e the reasons for the poor financial performanc­e in the 2019/20 financial year, which resulted in a deficit on the operating account of over R4bn.”

He said the long-term financial sustainabi­lity plan, adopted by council during 2018, had been critically reviewed to refocus on short-term interventi­ons to ensure a return to financial health as quickly as possible.

Matters under review include reducing non-essential expenditur­e, enhancing revenue and debt collection, implementi­ng virtual community outreach programmes to assist residents with their accounts, as well as affordabil­ity arrangemen­ts to address arrears debt and the registrati­on of qualifying indigents.

In reaction, ANC regional leader Dr Kgosi Maepa said they were disappoint­ed and felt there was no value for money for citizens.

He said Rooiwal was assisted by the national government, and the city had failed to collect rates and taxes.

“They said a lot of nothing really. He said Covid-19 had crippled the residents in the metro and they were paying for services that they were not getting, and affluent areas were the focus.” He said he was glad elections were around the corner and residents could change the mandate.

His EFF counterpar­t MoAfrika Mabogwane said it was a hollow speech, and it would not solve the Hammanskra­al water issue.

“He comes to tell us that the city does not have money and needs national interventi­on; so those are issues we will highlight. They are incapable and have zero plans around revenue collection.

“People are out of jobs because of Covid-19 and the metro needs to come up with creative ways to bring the city to stability. We will deal with these issues in detail,” said Mabogwane.

 ?? l THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) ?? MAYOR Randall Williams on his way to the council chamber at Tshwane House, where he delivered the State of the Capital Address.
l THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) MAYOR Randall Williams on his way to the council chamber at Tshwane House, where he delivered the State of the Capital Address.
 ?? l THOBILE
MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) ?? OPPOSITION leader, ANC regional chairperso­n Dr Kgosi Maepa.
l THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) OPPOSITION leader, ANC regional chairperso­n Dr Kgosi Maepa.
 ?? l THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) ?? EFF regional leader and council caucus chairperso­n Moafrika Mabogwane.
l THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA) EFF regional leader and council caucus chairperso­n Moafrika Mabogwane.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa