Budget Blues for city ratepayers



Budget Blues Indeed!
In response to your article in the ECHO dated 30 April 2015 ‘Budget Blues for city ratepayers’ refers.

The fuel levy reduction Nielson refers to is the so-called “Equitable Share” which flows from the national budget and is funded from national fuel levy income. So he is saying that the Treasury has reduced Cape Town’s slice of the cake – (worthwhile checking this) however, it is supposed to fund services to the indigent people. Cape Town is already very generous in this regard and spends much more than what Treasury doles out.
The Equitable Share, is supposed to be based on the fuel levy collected within a geographic area, but the formula is biased in that the very last component is a variable, either plus or minus. So, pro ANC Metros get a plus which comes off Cape Town’s, which gets a minus.
Nielson is saying Treasury has reduced Cape Town’s equitable share, therefore CT needs to find revenue elsewhere. And Nielson basically says, forget about cutting less cloth, the taxpayer has no option but to cough up. The City is not aiming to reduce its largess to potential voters.

One can raise all kinds of questions about the bloated civil service, increases in number of employees and contractors, and whether outputs have increased commensurately. Where is the bang for the buck?
Big businesses, the banks and insurance companies, have all gone through Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) exercises to trim expenses, and have since gone through repeated cycles of the same. That is how they trim excess fat, and become lean and profitable. In addition to that, there is Activity Based Costing to establish the real cost of each function. From there, the next step is to decide the economic value of each function, and whether it is indeed necessary. It follows that one can then also define every post within the organization determine the job specs, and especially the required employee specs and remuneration bands.

Cape Town should be run as a proper business and this is what we the shareholders (ratepayers) demand. The solution to this ever increasing expenditure and extravagance is to create a viable opposition to the DA in the City Council, sufficiently so as to force discussion of expenditure votes and to expose chummy deals.

Finally, salaries are negotiated by SALGA (SA Local Government Association),and is binding on all municipalities. However, productivity is never negotiated. This is where my argument of the bloated civil service comes in. Of course Nielson will duck and dive on this topic!

Len Swimmer
Deputy Chairman
Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance

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