What lies ahead for S.Africa's Joburg in 2014 - CNBC Africa

What lies ahead for S.Africa's Joburg in 2014

Southern Africa

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Geoffrey Makhubo, member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance. PHOTO: City of Joburg

“By focusing on our key priorities we have developed various strategies that will have the combined effect of radically transforming Johannesburg into the city we desire,” Makhubo, member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, said during the annual city budget review.

Makhubo added that what was central to the strategies was the Corridors of Freedom programme, which aims to focus on accessible socio-economic infrastructure including transportation networks, sustainable housing developments, provision of community facilities and basic infrastructure.

Based on a 47.1 billion rand budget for the 2014 to 2015 financial year, the municipal sector was allocated a capital budget of 10.4 billion rand for the financial year.

The budget is expected to go towards the development of the inner city and various other priority regions in the city.

“This budget was prepared mindful of the current tough economic environment. Consumer spending also remains constrained in the face of high unemployment, stricter lending criteria by financial institutions and rising cost of living,” Makhubo explained.

(READ MORE: S.Africa's 2014 Q1 consumer confidence index on the downswing)

The Housing department was allocated an operating budget of 906.9 million rand for the financial year, and

City Power was allocated an operating budget of 13.2 billion rand, a considerable portion of the budget in light of the fact that South Africa continues to suffer an unstable electricity supply.

The budget will however include the citywide replacement of old meters with prepaid units and automated pre-paid meters.

Johannesburg Water was awarded a similar amount at 6.4 billion rand for the financial year, with 10 million rand going towards the Biogas to electriCity project.

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), in a bid to improve service delivery, was allocated an operating budget of 814 million rand for the financial year.

The Find & Fix app, an cell phone application that allows users to interact with municipalities, has been a part of service delivery improvements.

(READ MORE: Joburg on the road to being a "smart city")

“The JRA has [also] been allocated R5.6 billion over the three year period which will focus on improved road safety and mobility which are key drivers of economic development,” Makhubo added.

Where tariffs are concerned, property rates tariff increases by 5 per cent, and an average tariff increase of 7.05 per cent for electricity was proposed.

Waste removal services will increase by 6 per cent for domestic customers and 8 per cent for businesses and commercial customers.

“Tariffs are set with a view to striking a balance between the wide spectrums of households in Johannesburg and taking particular note of the interests of poor households,” said Makhubo.

“Tariffs are also set cognisant of the impact of remaining competitive and attracting investment into the city.”