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Still time for a rapid acceleration of programmes, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis tells council

On his first day in office, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis inspected sewage problems in Khayelitsha and Phoenix. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

On his first day in office, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis inspected sewage problems in Khayelitsha and Phoenix. File Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Published Nov 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Newly-elected executive mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said underspending on the City’s expenditure budgets remained a serious concern.

This was raised during the second council meeting for the year at the Cape Town Civic Centre on Thursday.

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Hill-Lewis said: “I became aware of worrying capital under-expenditure. Significant, additional infrastructure investment is absolutely critical to the growth of our city and budgets must be spent.

“On investigation, there is a chunk of this figure which is explainable because of the way National Treasury budgets for the MyCiTi roll-out capital expansion grants. This is fine, it will be corrected in the adjustment budget. But there are also some other delays which are a source of serious concern to me as mayor.”

ANC councillor Xolani Sotashe said: “Mr Mayor, we commit ourselves to work with you to respond to the challenges of the people of Cape Town and when we say that, we mean it. Where we have to criticise you, we are criticising you constructively because we want you to respond to the challenges of our people.”

In response to Sotashe’s question on how he was going to address the worrying under-expenditure, Hill-Lewis said: “How to address it? I have sent it to the three Mayco members concerned and we will have very detailed explanations as to exactly what programmes are running behind.”

Hill-Lewis said there was still time for a rapid acceleration of programmes and an explanation as to the delays “will take place imminently.”

An Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillor was dragged from the City chambers after security was called in to remove the party’s chief whip, Mzubanzi Dambuza.

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This after several councillors harshly criticised council speaker Felicity Purchase over the counting of votes for the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).

Tensions were heightened during a debate on the adoption of the IDP with concerns raised, and Purchase abruptly cutting off councillors.

The IDP is by law required to be drafted every five years and provides a strategic framework to deliver on the City’s objectives.

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Several councillors requested the count on votes as this was not read out by Purchase, with Purchase stating it would be made available in the minutes of the meeting and speedily attempting to move onto the next item on the agenda.

EFF member Mzubanzi Dambuza jumping on a table during the City of Cape Town council meeting. Picture: Abdurahman Khan

EFF councillors said they were not asked for their vote with votes erroneously placed when they did not vote.

Purchase threatened to remove certain councillors by calling in law enforcement with councillors responding “Call them.”

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Purchase adjourned the council and called a meeting with party leaders and chief whips while the councillor was being removed.

Read more here, “WATCH: EFF councillor clashes with officers as chaos erupts in the City of Cape Town council meeting”.

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