Mayor 'proud to
table pro-poor budget'
11 July 2003
By Nangamso Mabindla
Buffalo City has announced an "unashamedly pro-poor" R1,4-billion budget with an emphasis on economic development and poverty alleviation.
Mayor Sindisile Maclean, in presenting the budget last month, said he felt "proud to table a budget which is unashamedly pro-poor and which will bring a small measure of relief to 40 000 indigent families through a R167,26 a month subsidy grant".
Key objectives were the creating of jobs and economic development, he said. Only 28% of the inhabitants of Buffalo City were in formal employment and 10% received pensions or grants. Maclean pointed out that 53% of households had incomes of less than R1 500 a month. "This underlines a high dependency ratio."
He announced a welfare package for 200 000 residents, including a rebate of R110 a month for rates and services, free 50kw/h electricity, and the supplying of 6 kl of free water. Pensioners and disabled people qualified for a 40% rate rebate.
"This social wage is designed to reconstruct and alleviate suffering in the pockets of shameful entrenched poverty throughout our City, while maintaining service delivery and infrastructure investment at decent and affordable levels."
A burning issue in the mayor's 13 June state of the City address and budget speech was Buffalo City's desire to be granted metro status.
Maclean called on the administration to reconsider the decision and look closely at the economic developments underway in the Buffalo City region, including the R1-billion Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme, the merger of the universities of Fort Hare and Rhodes, and multimillion-rand business acquisitions such as the R250-million Retail Park complex in Beacon Bay.
Turning his focus to business, the mayor touched on the East London Daimler Chrysler plant's bid to win the manufacturing rights for a new generation right-hand Mercedes Benz C-class vehicle.
"It was encouraging to listen to the complete confidence and optimism shown in our City by Daimler Chrysler's Christoph Kopke, when he announced that East London would win the bid." Maclean said.
If DCSA won the bid it would double the workforce and give a R2-billion injection into the plant.
Stressing the upgrading of amenities and various infra structural projects within Buffalo City, Maclean announced that R3-million had been allocated for the SA Games, to be hosted by the municipality next year.
"I believe our successful hosting of the world cup cricket match, as well as other major tournaments, has proved we can rise to the occasion," Maclean said.