Neva Makgetla Columnist

Covid-19 is putting immense pressure on metro budgets. On the one hand, they have seen a sharp decline in revenues. On the other, they have higher expenses for poverty relief, facilities in informal settlements, and safe public transport. The national government has promised R20bn to support all municipalities, but so far it has not indicated how the money will be spent. In any case, the funds are part of the adjustment budget, which means they will be available only from early August.

The lockdown hit metro revenues hard as businesses in particular slashed their use of electricity and other services and held back on rates. According to presentations to parliament, Tshwane now expects to raise R22bn for the financial year ending in June, down from its budget of R26bn. Its revenues in April and May were almost 50% below expectations. Ekurhuleni’s collections were 33% below its budget. Cape Town’s adjustment budget expects a fall in revenue of R1.1bn for the year, mostly because...

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