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Treasury: DA too generous

17 September 2015 - 02:13 By Aphiwe Deklerk

The DA-run City of Cape Town is "over-generous" in its provision of subsidised services, according to an assessment of the city's 2015/16 annual budget by the Treasury. Free basic services like water, refuse removal and sanitation cost the city R1.9-billion a year.Based on statistics provided by the city, the municipality has 382000 indigents registered on its database but it provides 6000 litres of free water to 1.1-million households, a number that's growing each year, the Treasury reports.It also says the city provides 50kWh of free electricity a month to 382000 households and provides weekly free refuse removal to 445000 households.The Treasury report stated: "The city should proceed cautiously in providing over-generous subsidised services as this construes revenue forgone."The Treasury assesses budgets that municipalities table, and evaluates whether the budgets were fully funded and featured "sufficient political oversight" and public participation."The cost of providing free basic services to indigents [is] increasing steadily. The revenue cost of free basic services increased to R2.7-billion in 2015/16 [and will increase to] to R3.3-billion in 2016/17," the document stated.The city was unable to respond to questions at the time of going to print, but the Treasury report was tabled to the mayoral committee on Tuesday. It will be presented at a full council meeting next month.Local government expert Karen Heese, from Municipal IQ, agreed with the Treasury's assessments.She also warned that certain residents receiving indigent support did not qualify as indigent."It comes down to how well the municipality handles its indigent list," she said, adding that it might seem as if, while the municipality was spending a lot of money to support indigents, there were other communities in need of support.ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said he smelled a rat, claiming: "I think the city adds people who do not qualify and classifies them as indigent. You would understand why they are doing that: they want to massage their electorate."..

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