Low revenue to blame for financial woes - Tshwane Mayor

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pretoria - The Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality Executive Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa has blamed low revenue collection for the city's current financial woes.

The situation has been exacerbated by the economic recession, she said during a press briefing hosted by the National Press Club on Thursday.

Mayor Ramokgopa said authorities have been battling to cut costs since the city's financial troubles became apparent.

"We acknowledge that we have cash flow problems and we are doing everything possible to remedy the situation. We believe by mid financial year we would have contained the situation," she said.

Ms Ramokgopa said the recession had hit home for many of the city's residents, leading to some failing to pay for municipal services. The city is also owed millions of Rands by several small municipalities it provides services to.

Also about 52 households in the metro have been registered as indigents and this has led to the city spending R104 million to assist these families.

But there was also a need to tighten the belt and cut on unnecessary spending.

"We believe, be that as it may, we need to act responsible and do things differently," Ms Ramokgopa said.

She shot down media speculation that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka wanted to put the municipality under administration.

"I have spoken to the minister and he assured me that the reports were far from the truth," she said.

Ms Ramokgopa further assured the public that the city's financial situation will not put service delivery in jeopardy.

"The City of Tshwane is holding firm on its ground and reporting good progress on its mega projects even during these tough economic times," she said.

A regional airline passenger service will start operating by October as planned. The airline will operate at Wonderboom Airport and is expected to improve integrated transport services while it will also ease traffic congestion to the metro during the 2010 FIFA World Cup next year.

Initially, there will be daily flights to Durban and Cape Town at a cost of R499 and R549 for the economy class