Date: 2023-03-07 10:45:13
City’s financial outlook is stable
AS PART of our concerted efforts of measuring the City’s performance and the quality of services we are rendering to residents and ratepayers, I am happy to report that this week we received a presentation on the 2021/22 Annual Report.
Despite the triple challenges of COVID-19, the civil unrest and the floods, the 2021/22 Annual Report paints a healthy image of our Municipality.
We are encouraged by the fact that the report highlighted that eThekwini Municipality received an unqualified audit opinion for the fifth year running, including the 2021/22 financial year. Despite predictions by the prophets of doom, the 2021/22 Annual Report indicates that the overall financial state of the Municipality remains sound and healthy. It indicates that the Municipality has a credible and balanced budget, a credit rating of AA+ in the long-term and A1+ in the short term, with a stable outlook despite the current economic climate and internal reserves of 60-90 days. It is also encouraging to see that the Municipality achieved a collection rate of 95% in 2021/22, notwithstanding the current economic climate and impact of COVID-19 on collection rates. Our prudent borrowing resulted in a moderately geared balance sheet with a gearing ratio of 21%, which is well below the National Treasury benchmark of 45% to 55%.
Yes, we are not where we would like to be but, we are encouraged by the fact that the report confirms what we have been saying all along: that we are constantly in our communities speeding up service delivery. On 18 February, we continued
to change the lives of our people for the better as we rolled out the R14 million Electrification Project for Ekukhanyeni
Informal Settlement in ward 15. This project will benefit almost 1700 households by providing them with legal connections. These legal connections are being rolled out so that people can desist from stealing electricity as this impacts negatively on our infrastructure. Annually, the City spends approximately R40m to replace damaged transformers. The project forms part of the commitment we made in our budget speech last year that we will electrify 24 informal settlements this year at an estimated cost of R51m. In the previous financial year, the Municipality spent R71m to electrify 6 000 households in areas such as Uganda, Palmiet, Siyanda, Blackburn, Mpola and Marriannridge.
As the City of Durban, we pride ourselves with our continuous efforts to strengthen our relationship with local artists as they play a vital role in flying the Durban flag high and growing the economy. It is for this reason that we saw it fit to throw a hero’s welcome for our Grammy Award-winning stars Zakhele “Zakes Bantwini” Madida and Nomcebo Zikode.
Zakhele and Nomcebo, alongside Wouter Kellerman, made us proud when they scooped the award for the Best Global Music Performance in the Global Music category for their hit Bayethe in Los Angeles recently. The pair are following in the footsteps of Nathi “Black Coffee” Maphumulo who won his firstever Grammy in the Best Dance/Electronic Album category last year.