Closing Date 16 June
Kouga Municipality has tabled a revised draft of its 2020/21 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget for public comment.
Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman said the original draft had been adopted by the Council on 26 March and advertised for comment, as required by law.
“Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, substantial changes had to be made to the draft,” he said.
“While the municipality is not legally required to advertise the revised draft for comment, the Kouga Council was in favour of opening up another round of public participation in view of the lockdown-related changes.”
Kouga CFO Riaaz Lorgat said the nationwide lockdown had impacted on the municipality’s revenue.
“The original draft budget was based on a 96% collection rate, but this has had to be decreased to 85% as many ratepayers and businesses have been struggling to pay their municipal accounts,” he said.
“The Council has further approved various payment relief options for municipal accountholders, which will also affect the municipal revenue in the new financial year.”
He said the revised draft operating revenue for the 2020/21 year was R904,99 million while the revised operating expenditure was R986,27 million.
“The focus has been on ensuring that the budget is fully cash-backed, with the deficit due to non-cash items,” he said.
He said the proposed tariff increases, effective from 1 July, were as follows:
- Property rates – 5,25%
- Water – 8,1%
- Sanitation – 7%
- Refuse – 7%
- Electricity – 6,25% average
- Environmental Management Fee – 0%.
He said key expenditure items included bulk water and electricity purchases (28,36%) and employee-related costs (33,53%), the latter being in line with the norm set by National Treasury.
The draft capital budget for the 2020/21 year amounts to R62,95 million. A full list of funded projects can be viewed on the municipality’s website at www.kouga.gov.za and the municipal Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kouganews.
IDP manager Colleen Dreyer said the municipality’s development priorities for the coming year had been guided by the six narratives announced by Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks in his State of the Municipality Address. These narratives are Keep Kouga Serviced, Keep Kouga Clean, Keep Kouga Green, Keep Kouga Safe, Keep Kouga Smart and Keep Kouga Growing.
The development priorities can also be viewed on the municipal website and Facebook page.
In his opening remarks Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks cautioned that the societal and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, combined with the ongoing drought, was a serious concern.
He called on the political and administrative leadership of the municipality, the business and religious fraternity and communities at large “to help keep our ship steady through the storms, as I am sure, we will be hit by wave after wave as we try to navigate ourselves into calmer seas over the next few months and beyond.”
“Some difficult times lie ahead, but I want to give you the assurance that these challenges are not insurmountable,” he said.
“While many municipalities are flailing to survive in these times, Kouga has been rendering services consistently, keeping debts current on water and electricity, and managing to bring social relief in the form of thousands of food parcels.
He encouraged residents to take care of one another.
“Let’s keep our families safe through wearing masks when we are outside, practising proper hygiene by keeping our hands clean and making social distancing the new norm.”
* The media presentation on the revised draft IDP and budget can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/226281930733233/posts/3498138366880890/