Criticism from EFF, ANC over adjustment budget

The City of Johannesburg’s budget was adjusted in council last month and both the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) agreed to it, but not without giving their two cents.

Tensions at the 23 February council sitting were already high after the chaos caused by protesters from the Johannesburg Social Movement who breached the chamber. But as soon as the sitting proceeded, Mayor Herman Mashaba eagerly wanted the adjustments passed and moved them up to the top of the day’s to-do list.

He said that inheriting the past budget from the previous ANC administration was the most difficult and even blamed the ANC for encouraging the protest chaos in order to stop the adjustments being made.

But the ANC’s Geoffrey Makhubo, previous MMC for Finance, did arrive prepared. Even though Mashaba blamed the party for maladministration and corruption, Makhubo believed and still believes, that it made a change in local communities.

Read: Chaos ‘attempt to prevent budget adjustment’ 

He condemned the removal of the Jozi@Work programme scrapped by Mashaba, saying that 8 000 people are being condemned to poverty, echoing the Johannesburg Social Movement’s sentiments. “The little they had, has been taken away.”

Makhubo continued to say that the party will let the budget pass because of various reasons such as an increase in the electrification of informal settlements budget, but it will hold Mashaba accountable.

The EFF welcomed the broader amendment as a positive move but opposed the implementation of the Corridors of Freedom. The Corridors of Freedom are development initiatives aimed at transforming entrenched settlement patterns, which have shunted the majority of residents to the city’s outskirts, away from economic opportunities and access to jobs and growth.

The EFF’s Azwi Tshitangano said the initiatives currently concentrate on affluent areas.

Read: Much anticipated budget adjustment approved 

“Priority areas should always be for the benefit of our people. We hope and believe that the new administration will find the wisdom to discontinue these plans and realign the development of the city,” he said.

The City’s MMC for Finance, Dr Rabelani Dagada responded that the Corridors of Freedom is a philosophy he believes in because of its principles of inclusive growth and an integrated city. At the same time, he said, direct investment in townships should be ensured.

On Jozi@Work, Dagada assured that the people engaged with the programme will continue to work, but the middle man will be removed. “We will give people short-term contracts and pay them directly,” he said.

Related articles:

New Corridors of Freedom exhibitions for Brixton, Auckland Park and Westdene 

 

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