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, including the basic needs of water and sanitation infrastructure, crime and grime, and the energy crisis.
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.
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.
For more information contact the Durban Chamber on
T: +27 31 335 1000 or