This is the reaction of the DA in Joburg in preparation for a council debate on Thursday on the R59.5 billion budget announced on Tuesday.
Joburg DA caucus leader Vasco da Gama said few of the requests residents made through the Integrated Development Plan had been heard.
He said the city, instead of looking at blue and green economies such as baking bread with fruit trimming, should rather be looking at reducing the huge 10 percent-plus overall increases in tariffs announced this week.
“The city cannot hear how people are struggling to pay their bills. Instead of merely passing on increases imposed by Rand Water and Eskom, the city should have been more creative about easing the burden of water and electricity accounts.
“Why are people paying so much on municipal accounts? Instead of focusing on getting the basics right, as instructed by Minister Pravin Gordhan, the city is wasting time and money on side issues.
These include making bread, turning rubble into stone paper and cultivating mushrooms. These should not be priorities for a city struggling to provide the basics such as water, electricity and housing,” Da Gama said.
Many residents’ requests had also been ignored, he said.
“If you look at the new budget to find where their requests are mentioned, there is not a single recommendation made by ward councillors that has been taken up.”
If further proof of the city’s indifference were needed, the petitions committee was another example, said Da Gama. More than 900 petitions, mostly concerning the Johannesburg Roads Agency and housing problems, were outstanding. That excluded petitions that had not been captured on the system.
Da Gama also accused the city of not fulfilling its promises. “The plans don’t fit the city’s ability levels. Also, the undertaking to get rid of shacks has been forgotten.”