Ratepayers prepare for IDP draft budget

The Bluff Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (BRRA) discuss the draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the 2024/2025 financial year. | Supplied

The Bluff Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (BRRA) discuss the draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the 2024/2025 financial year. | Supplied

Published Apr 2, 2024


Durban — A scheduled meeting between the eThekwini Municipality and ratepayer associations to submit their comments on the draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the 2024/25 financial year has been postponed.

The meeting, scheduled to take place on Tuesday (today), was postponed following the ratepayer associations’ concern that they were not given time to critique and analyse the draft budget.

The municipality is proposing various tariff hikes to improve the City’s economy, much to the disapproval of residents and ratepayer associations.

The IDP is a key City strategy that informs and guides all service delivery and development in the region. All planning, including budgeting, management and decision-making related to delivering services and development in the municipal area, is considered in the City business plan.

“The IDP considers the challenges facing the City and the strategic approach to resolving these as underpinned by the City’s long-term development plan and informed by global, national and provincial policies such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the National Development Plan (NDP) and the provincial Growth and Development Strategy,” the municipality said in a statement.

The IDP consists of eight plans that will help the City achieve its vision of becoming Africa’s most caring and liveable city.

The municipality said a Service Delivery Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) is thereafter compiled to monitor the implementation of the various programmes and projects contained in each plan.

The municipality said public consultations on the draft plan will be taking place together with the draft budget.

It was a critical opportunity for the public to provide input into the future development of the city and make sure that their community needs are raised and met, the City said.

Bluff Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (BRRA) chairperson Norman Gilbert said postponing the meeting for another two weeks gives time to engage effectively and thoroughly review the documents and provide meaningful feedback.

Gilbert said the BRRA appreciated the commitment to transparent governance and community involvement.

Umhlanga Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Terri MacLarty proposed that the meeting be conducted in a workshop format.

MacLarty said this would facilitate a more collaborative and interactive discussion, allowing management and leaders of the ratepayers to engage prior to the formal meeting.

“The short notice has not allowed us adequate time to thoroughly study the budget, and we believe a postponement would enable us to engage more effectively in the discussion,” MacLarty said.

Westville Ratepayers Association and eThekwini Ratepayers Protest Movement chairperson Asad Gaffar said this meeting is procedurally flawed, in that the tariffs for municipalities have not yet been approved by the respective licensing authorities. Gaffar noted that the date did not take into consideration the holy month of Ramadaan practised by many from the Islamic faith.

“Public participation/stakeholder engagement in regard to this particular matter requires extensive discussions as was ruled by the Constitutional Court.

“A mere power point presentation from the City and the taking of a few questions from the floor do not meet this requirement,” he added.

Chairperson of Glenwood and Bulwer Road Ratepayers and Residents Association Keyuren Maharaj said they firmly believe that this proposed budget should be a reflection of their shared values and priorities, with a primary focus on improving the well-being of all members of the community, especially those who are most vulnerable.

Maharaj said the budget seems to go against these values.

“We have been given the opportunity to meet mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to discuss the proposed budget …While we appreciate the mayor’s efforts to meet stakeholders, we are disappointed by the lack of transparency and community input in the budgetary process,” Maharaj said. The processes should prioritise community engagement and ensure all stakeholders have a seat at the table, he said.

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