FF Plus against approval of Mogale’s inflated budget

Amanda de Lange from the Freedom Front Plus.

During the special council meeting that was held on short notice on 11 July, the new 2017/ 18 budget was approved, despite the opposition of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

According to councillor Amanda de Lange of the FF+, who is also the chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee, right after the meeting was declared open, the DA councillors all stood up and walked out, reasoning that they do not support the budget. The rest of the voting bloc stayed, and when the 2017/ 18 budget was tabled, the EFF councillors voiced their support thereof, on the grounds that more money will be made available to poor people.

“In his speech, councillor Ngobeni also urged the ANC to expedite ‘land grabs’ in Mogale City. He also insisted that a property audit be done on privately owned properties as well and not just on properties belonging to the municipality, for the purposes of redistribution,” said De Lange.

De Lange also said it is unfortunate that the EFF decided to vote for the budget, even though the voting bloc’s national leadership agreed earlier that the budget should not be approved. The DA walk-out also fails to portray the leadership and assertiveness the coalition requires.

“As councillors, we first of all have a responsibility towards our constituents, and continuously walking out of crucial council meetings means our people have no representation in council.”

The FF+ therefore stood its ground in council and made it clear that they do not support the 2017/ 18 budget, which was artificially inflated by millions of rand in a matter of three days after the ANC took office.

Councillor de Lange explained that it’s a paper exercise to inflate a budget that promises millions of rand in investments in settlements and poor areas around Mogale City.

“This is exactly what has happened year after year under the previous mayors. In fact, voters were blind-sided and not even a quarter of the funds and services realised in any part of the municipality of Mogale City.”

When accusations were made that the budget before the council was the same as the budget the coalition drew up before former mayor Holenstein was unseated, councillor Steenkamp raised a point of order and staunchly pointed out that the budget had been changed drastically and did not represent the initial budget.

Councillor de Lange also raised the FF+’s concerns about the new inflated budget, as the previous budget had to be cut to the bone to save costs in order to pay long-outstanding debts, in particular to Eskom and Rand Water, among other crucial service providers.

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Janine Viljoen

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