COMMENT: ETHEKWINI 2023/2024 DRAFT BUDGET

COMMENT: ETHEKWINI 2023/2024 DRAFT BUDGET

ETHEKWINI 2023/24 DRAFT BUDGET  

17 APRIL 2023

COMMENT

ETHEKWINI 2023/24 DRAFT BUDGET  

As organised business, we welcome the opportunity to comment on the eThekwini Municipality Draft Budget of R 66 billion for 2023/2024. As organised business we are appealing to the Municipality and elected representatives to be mindful of its proposals, as the City needs to bolster business and investor confidence. The proposed tariff increases, presented by mayor Kaunda on the eThekwini Draft budget will have a detrimental effect on businesses, as it stands several investors and business owners have lost investor business confidence in eThekwini.

The municipality’s role is to provide an environment that is conducive for conducting business, ensuring that basic service needs are met. However, we are faced with constant challenges of poor service delivery, from the basic needs of water and sanitation infrastructure, crime and grime and energy crisis.  

Tariff Increases

The tariff increases remain substantially ahead of CPI which will impact negatively on the competitiveness of Durban as a business location. The retention of businesses within Durban is a priority and tariff increases should not be punitive. The COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 July unrest, April floods and load shedding have, derailed many businesses. The possibilities of businesses shutting down remain high. Furthermore, businesses are experiencing frequent disruptions to basic services such as water and electricity. As organised business we object to the excessive tariff increases.

Water and Sanitation

Following the April 2022 floods, as organised business, we are deeply concerned about the slow pace at which infrastructure is being restored. To date we have not received a detailed infrastructure investment plan from the city outlining the technical and risk mitigation measures. As organised business we acknowledge the City’s commitment of R5 billion over the next 3 years towards water and sanitation. We believe the city needs to engage with private sector to determine a detailed cost analysis. Simply allocating resources without a detailed water and sanitation infrastructure audit simply leaves us in the same position. The crisis is bigger than we think with dire economic consequences. The diminishing capital infrastructure budget is a cause for concern. If left uncorrected these issues will negatively impact on economic development budget. Unless drastic actions are implemented, we will be writing obituary chapter of our city. The current state of our water and sanitation infrastructure requires urgent attention.

Flood Damages

We are pleased National Treasury transferred R1.5 billion of the disaster response grant. There needs to be more resources deployed to deal with the extent of the damages. As organised business, we have worked with private sector to help support the city. We are requesting that the city considers a public private partnership to help fast track the rebuild and recovery process.

ends

About the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC

Founded in 1856, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC is the largest member-based metropolitan chamber in Southern Africa. We represent approximately 3,000 businesses in eThekwini and beyond, ranging from multinationals to corporates and SMMEs. Since 2019, we also represent 54,000 informal sector businesses through their business associations. Policy and advocacy are at the heart of our work and we assist members with securing trade and investment opportunities locally and internationally, providing business advisory services (CIPC, Certificate of Origin, ITC checks, HR consultancy and more) across a broad spectrum of sectors, engaging thought leadership through forum webinars and other networking events, sharing business information through digital platforms, and also sourcing business insights through occasional questionnaires. The Durban Chamber advocates and influences policy decisions that affect the interests of business (tax legislation, import and export regulations and more), offering member benefits and providing information relevant to business decision-making. As a business-based and member-focused organisation, our strategic purpose is to help create a conducive economic and business environment to facilitate and promote economic growth in the region in partnership with key stakeholders.

For more info, contact the Durban Chamber on 031 335 1000 or info@durbanchamber.co.za

Our website is www.durbanchamber.co.za

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

Comment attribution: The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC, President Mr Prasheen Maharaj to be quoted on the above comment for the chamber.

Media contacts:

Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC

Ms Zanele Khomo

Chief Growth Officer

T: +27 31 335 1000

E: khomoz@durbanchamber.co.za

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