City of eThekwini to spend bulk of budget on improving electricity network

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the municipality has allocated the electricity unit a total budget of R21.5bn.

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the municipality has allocated the electricity unit a total budget of R21.5bn.

Published Mar 22, 2024


The eThekwini Municipality plans to commission 17 new substations in the coming financial year to ensure energy security in the city.

These are among the proposed investments in the electricity network to ensure its reliability.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda made the announcement as he tabled the City’s draft budget of R67.3 billion for the 2024-2025 financial year on Tuesday.

It will be released for public comment and once approved will be implemented at the start of the new financial year in July.

The Mercury reported on Wednesday that the proposed tariff increases, contained in the draft budget, were heavily criticised by opposition party councillors and ratepayers who said they were unaffordable and unjust.

The budget shows that the electricity department will receive significant funding for the 2024-25 financial year to ensure the reliability of the city’s network.

Kaunda said the budget sought to “accelerate service delivery and ensure that through our rebuilding process, we are able to create a positive investor climate to grow the economy and create jobs”.

Speaking on the budget for electricity, he said: “We want to continue to supply electricity to our customers, maintain our electrical network and attend to reported electricity faults and remain committed to the electrification of rural and informal settlements.”

The municipality has allocated the electricity unit a total budget of R21.5bn, said Kaunda.

The mayor said there was a provision of R1.14bn for repairs and maintenance to rehabilitate the electricity network which would minimise power outages.

“The electricity capital budget will be spent on the ongoing extension and reinforcement of the existing network, and the commissioning of 17 new substations to make eThekwini energy secure,” he said.

The water unit has a total budget of R9.8bn comprising an operating budget of R8.4 billion and a capital budget of R1.4 billion.

An amount of R423 million has been provisioned for repairs and maintenance to rehabilitate water infrastructure to ensure stable water supply and reduce water losses through leaks.”

He said the unit’s capital budget will be spent on the replacement of water pipes, repair of the Southern Aqueduct, upgrading of the system to monitor water infrastructure, completion of the Adams 6 Reservoir and the Inwabi to Engonyameni pipeline.

“This will help address many of the water challenges we are currently facing in areas such as Umlazi, Folweni, Chatsworth, KwaMakhutha, Zwelibomvu and Adams.”

Kaunda said the City was implementing short-term and medium-term interventions to address this water supply issue:

“To provide temporary relief to residents who continue to experience intermittent water supply, the City has procured 55 water tankers and in the next financial year, we plan to procure an additional 100 water tankers. In areas where there is sufficient ground water the city will continue to drill more boreholes, especially in rural areas.”

The City will invest R100m to improve services and the appearance of the CBD.

Opposition parties said the City should be focused on rebuilding its infrastructure, not fixing it.

Alan Beesley of ActionSA said: “ It is unacceptable that the municipality is budgeting for declining infrastructure spend over the next three years.

“It is patently obvious that the infrastructure in eThekwini is imploding and as such far more should be budgeted on improving the infrastructure within the city. The current failing infrastructure, under the ANC-led municipality, is costing the residents and businesses of eThekwini dearly and must be urgently addressed,” said the councillor.

Democratic Liberal Congress leader Patrick Pillay welcomed the infrastructure budget allocations.

“It provides for the rehabilitation of our critical infrastructure that requires urgent rehabilitation and further development.

“However, the DLC have concerns when it comes to the implementation of the infrastructure capital budget. The issues arise in respect of the slow pace of the supply chain management processes which delays these infrastructure developments.”

The Mercury