Cape Town Proposes ‘Building Hope’ Budget: Infrastructure and Energy in Focus

Record Infrastructure Spending, Doubling Johannesburg and Durban Combined

The Cape Town City Council has unveiled its ‘Building Hope’ budget for 2023/24, marking a groundbreaking increase in infrastructure expenditure. An impressive R43 billion is set to be disbursed over the coming three years – a figure that significantly overshadows the combined allocation of Johannesburg and Durban.

Mayor Hill-Lewis praised the city’s budgeting team for achieving a “perfect balance” between ambitious planning, aiding vulnerable residents, and acknowledging the rising pressure on ratepayers. Amid struggling metros and municipalities, Cape Town stands out with its record R11 billion capital expenditure budget.

Key Points of the ‘Building Hope’ Budget:

  • Social Package: A comprehensive social package is to be integrated, offering indigent relief based on property value. Free water and electricity units are to be provided each month, with a 100% rebate on properties valued under R450,000.
  • Ratepayers’ Benefit: Properties valued under R5 million are eligible for a rates-free threshold of R450,000.
  • Electricity Tariff Reduction: In light of Eskom’s 18.49% tariff hike, the city has managed to reduce it to 17.6% for all consumers. Also, lifeline electricity users will pay 50% less in the 350 – 450 unit usage band.
  • Pensioners and Social Grant Recipients: The budget will increase the qualifying threshold to R22,000 monthly income for rate rebates for these groups.

Infrastructure Investment Highlights:

  • An ambitious R2.3 billion plan aimed at terminating load shedding.
  • Infrastructure budget enhancement by 40% – hitting a record R11 billion, dwarfing even the World Cup investment.
  • Considerable funding increases for improved sanitation networks to accommodate a growing city.
  • Allocation of R2.2 billion for new water sources, and R2.6 billion for road improvements.
  • Technology investment of R860 million, including CCTV, drones, and dashcams, to bolster city safety.
Also Read:   A Sigh of Relief: Eskom Eases Load Shedding Amid Winter Chills

The city’s per capita infrastructure spending in 2023/24 is reported to be 105% more than that of Johannesburg. Approximately 73% of the R11 billion capital expenditure budget will be dedicated to critical infrastructure in lower-income communities.

Indigent Support and Eligibility

The budget provides for indigent support, with residents eligible if they are homeowners earning R,500 or less per month, have only one property, and use it primarily for residential purposes. Other eligibility factors include being a dependent of a pension or social grant, or being a child residing in the home of a deceased parent, among others.

This ‘Building Hope’ budget displays Cape Town’s commitment to progressing infrastructure, ending load shedding, and providing support for those in need.