City Adjustment Budget (2017/18)

My speech delivered in the City of Cape Town Council meeting.  Allocated time – 5 min.   The speech deals with the Eden beach front and then a Water theme: Capital Expenditure on new Water Infrastructure Assets, the City’s Asset Register, Dept: Water and Sanitation’s new, over budget Head Office and the TMGA Bore Hole.

We note that R6,5 million has been allocated to repair Eden Beach front in this year, and that only R150,000 has been allocated to Blouberg beach to be spent over the next 3 year.

The ACDP believes the allocation should be swopped around because the Blouberg beach repair has been needed for around 10 years while the Eden beach problem is much newer.

It’s this kind of decision that frustrates the Citys residents

Page 23 Capex on New Assets for Water supply Infrastructure:

We note that this is only increasing by R11 million in this adjustment budget, and then that this budget line is decreasing next year (2018/19)

In the middle of this water crisis, the City is spending only R11 m more this year on new water supply infrastructure assets, and is reducing spending next year, but the water crisis will not be over.

Page 25 – Asset Register Summary

The “Water Supply Infrastructure asset” value is set to increase by only R10,5 million this financial year – even after R60 million is budgeted to be spent this year on desalination?

Why does the asset register not reflect the additional capital assets being added to the value of R60m – or is this desalination project not going to become City assets – or, if they only go onto the register after completion, then clearly the assets will take more than 1 year to build – yet we have a water crisis for this coming summer.

Page 77:  Water and Sanitation Head Office

The narrative says R17 million was transferred FROM the delayed desalination project to finish the new head office

But further down same page – R20 million was transferred from delayed Desalination project, now only R17 million is being refunded.

That means the desalination project is worse off by R3 million because the Head Office is more important for the DA.

Since 2013/14 the cost of building the new Head office has escalated from R181 million to R295 million and its completion date has been repeatedly delayed. Now its suddenly finished on time but at least R114 million over original budget.

In 2011/12 you had the choice – finally build the desalination plant you promised in 2011 and before that, or build a new head office for this Dept.  History confirms that you made the wrong choice.

Your 2011 promise to the public and to DWAF to build a desalination plant was based on science, expertise, 30 years of forecasts (since the 1980’s) of water scarcity, and consultation with government and external stakeholders.

You made the promise then built the head office instead

Now we have a water crisis.

Page 80:  TMGA Bore Hole

Total project cost is R38,5 million including this adjustment.

The minutes of the meeting confirm that the City told DWAF at WC Reconciliation Strategy Steering Committee Meeting in Sept 2007 that “[it] was (already, in 2007) an ongoing study by the CCT, to investigate the potential of the TMG Aquifer as a large-scale water resource for the City.”

In that same meeting, the City also that that studies of the Cape Flats Aquifer and Newlands Aquifer will start “in the first part of 2008”.

This statement confirmed a June 2007 document titled “WC Water Supply System Reconciliation Strategy Study” published by DWAF, the City and Ninham Shand.

Then nothing was done for 3 years because it was not a political priority.

Then in May 2010, at the adoption of the City’s Budget for 2010/11, it announced: “Possible additional water resources for the future will (in the future) be investigated…including…the exploration of the Table Mountain Sandstone Group Aquifer…” 

Then another year later in June 2011, the City announced once again that it is still exploring extraction of water in the Table Mountain Group Aquifer.

That’s 4 years later and still no completed study.

Now we are 10 years later and even in January this year the City said that exploring the TMGA was pushed back to 2022 because there was no budget.

Now R38,5 million is budgeted for this in 2017.

Had it been implemented in 2012 it would have cost a fraction of the R38 million and there would be no water crisis

And Capetonians would not be suffering under a 20% increase in water costs this year.

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