The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality (MMM) held its R5,924-billion operating budget vote for 2014/2015 financial year during a special council sitting held at the Kaizer Sebothela Stadium in Botshabelo, Free State Province on Thursday morning.
In his foreword address to the gathering, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality executive mayor, Thabo Manyoni, said the budget vote comes in the middle of his term of office and that it will afford his administration an opportunity to get every citizen in the metro to partner the MMM in building a Mangaung “that is globally safe and attractive to live, work and invest in.”
Manyoni said coming into office in 2011, just few months after the then minister of co-operartive governance Sicelo Shiceka had introduced the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS) – meant there was an admission throughout South Africa that the local government as a whole was in distress.
“Such indicators included among others political and administrative instability,” said Manyoni, adding that these challenges characterized newly established metropole of MMM, which was elevated from being a local municipality to a metropolitan council in about the same time.
Manyoni said his office has moved swiftly in addressing these challenges in only the two and half years he has been in office.
“The core content of this mid-term report, therefore, is the formidable progress we have made in pursuit of these priorities. Significantly, with regard to both political and administrative stability that ranked as a priority, we have moved significantly thus far and this has given us impetus for accelerated performance on all fronts of local governance,” said Manyoni.
He said the time was now to push the frontiers of poverty backwards and to accelerate service delivery to the poor.
Manyoni said for the 2014/2015 financial years the MMM is going to spend R454-million on social packages for the needy, up from the 2012/2013 allocation of R227-million.
He said from 2011 about 38 000 households in the MMM were getting a “basket” of free services of water and electricity.
On top of this the MMM was working at eradicating the approximately 45 000 VIP latrines systems, with most in Botshabelo, to the tune of R2.5-billion in the coming six years.
He said R30-million will be used to implement its integrated public transport system, which includes the introduction of a bus in transit system similar to ReaVaya in Gauteng, which will be known as “Hauweng” in the Free State province.
“A further R127-million will be used to build a new bulk water supply for Sterkwater – R130-million will go towards the upgrade of the Bloemspruit Waste Water Project,” said Manyoni.
A further breakdown of the budget include the allocation of R10-million for the rehabilitation of road B3 in Botshabelo, while R29-million will go towards the upgrade of the routes in Maphisa section in Mangaung.
Manyoni said R23.2-million will go towards the upgrade of the road 350, which leads from section D in Botshabelo towards the local cemetery.
On refuse removal, Manyoni said R20.2-million will be spent on creating a new transfer station in Thaba Nchu, and R33.4-million will go towards electrification of 3306 households.
“The city will also invest R4.4-million to instal highmast lighting in Rocklands, Bloemside, Phelindaba, Namibia, Freedom Square, MK Square, Turflaagte and Khotsong.
R80-million will go towards the creation of swimming pool at ThabaNchu Mmabana stadium, upgrading Selosesha, Botshabelo and Billy Murison stadiums.
“There will also be a rehabilitation of Freedom Square Sports Centre, the building of a multi-purpose centre in Grassland 2, and the construction of Johnson Bandile Stadium,” said the executive mayor.
The budget vote was also attended by Free State education MEC Tate Makgoe, as well Finance MEC Elsabe Rockman. There were also officials from the business fraternity and non-governmental organisations.