Since 2014 we have objected every year to the lack of public participation in the integrated development plan/performance management system/budget of the municipality. We have based our demands on the requirements of the Municipal Systems Act, namely that the local community (residents, ratepayers, business) must be able to participate in a meaningful manner in the planning, execution and monitoring of the IDP/Budget/PFM, including setting rates and tariffs for the next financial year.
The IDP/Budget/PFS remains the sole creation of City Hall, the councillors and officials. They have consistently refused to allow for meaningful participation in their IDP. This has allowed them to institute rates, tariffs and taxes every financial year up to a point where the city has become one of the most expensive in South Africa.
It is certainly no surprise to the forum that citizens are despondent and angry. We implore City Hall to abandon their “tick-the-box” attitude to public participation and to start listening to the voices in the city, to interact with them, to allow them to participate in all the actions of the municipality, starting with the IDP/Budget/PMS. — Tumi Boitumelo, chair, Buffalo City Ratepayers Forum