Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 24 March 2010
The Western Cape needed at least R16 billion to wipe out its water and sewage infrastructure backlog, the province’s local government minister Anton Bredell said on Wednesday.
Introducing his budget vote in the legislature, he said his department had made “good progress” on a bulk infrastructure master plan for water and sanitation for the province. “We have completed a preliminary report that says we need at least R16 billion to address the backlog,” he said.
“We have finished a financing report that says that we need more funding from national government, but it also says that municipalities need to make better use of their existing revenue sources.”
The final plan would set out what had to be built, how much it would cost, how many people had to be trained to operate it, and how it would be funded.
Bredell said he was deeply concerned about how much it cost to run a municipality and deliver services.
The determination of annual increases in salaries and wages was out of the hands of local municipalities. From June 1 last year to July 1, 2011, salaries and wages of local government staff would have increased by between 35 and 38 percent. Senior managers would no doubt demand similar increases.
This left municipalities with no alternative but to increase their rates, tariffs and service charges. “We must review the manner in which Salga [the SA Local Government Association] negotiates on behalf of local authorities because we cannot continue along what is clearly an unsustainable path,” he said, in a reference to wage talks.
“We must also assess the methods that we use to assess property rates, because this must be fair and must ensure that we do not chase people out of their homes.”