No time for budget games

Feb 26, 2021 | Blog, Weekly Covid19 Updates

Asivikelane 14 reports that water, sanitation and refuse removal services in informal settlements have deteriorated all over the country in the last few months. As national COVID-19 relief funding to metros has run out and metros’ own revenues have declined, they have started reducing services to informal settlements. Contracts for filling water tanks have been allowed to expire, the regularity of toilet cleaning has decreased and maintenance teams have been reduced in size.

On the 24 February 2021, minister Mboweni tabled the national budget, and metros and local municipalities will table their budgets by the end of March. There can be no doubt that metros need further national support to resume and extend some of these services. But there are things that metros can and should do themselves to improve this situation. Now is not the time for budget games between national and metro governments.

What metros can do to improve informal settlement services without breaking the bank:

  • Increase and ring-fence funding in the overall maintenance budget for repairing
    informal settlement taps and toilets.
  • Increase and ring-fence the informal settlement share of refuse removal
  • Shift funding from large upgrading projects to large-scale incremental
    basic services provision.
  • Publish more detailed spending plans and service norms for informal
    settlements to enable the public and oversight actors to participate
    meaningfully in the local government budget process.

For more information read the Asivikelane #14 full report here.