By: Esethu Matetu
Port Elizabeth- The Metro councillors had a special council meeting to look at the budget at council chambers yesterday. The meeting was disturbed by ward committees who were protesting outside the chambers.
The ward committees demanded to be on the budget and also wanted their R1000 stipend to be increased to R10 000. This chaos was before the meeting even started. The protesters held three councillors hostage which were councillor Dano, Feni and Maqolo who were later released. Councillor Mongameli Bobani from UDM suggested that before the meeting starts the speaker and the executive mayor should go out and address the ward committees.
Councillor Nqaba Bhanga said that addressing the ward committees was not in the agenda so the meeting would have to continue. That is when the opposition parties’ councillor went out and the meeting was paused for more or less 30 minutes.
The executive Mayor Athol Trollip read the budget to the council and the political parties were given an opportunity to express their views about the budget. Opposition parties rejected the budget.
In the budget there is a proposal for tariff hikes of 5% for property rates, 8.5% for water and sanitation, 7.5% for refuse, and 5.48% for electricity, which is subject to approval by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. The ANC councillor Rory Riordan said that in the Nelson Mandela Bay there is no budget for things such as library, parks and swimming pools the budget is always about water and sewerage.