Covid-19: City of Cape Town; eThekwini; City of Joburg response plans
14 May 2020
Three of South Africa’s metros that are also the epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak appeared before Portfolio and Select Committees in a joint virtual meeting on municipal preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with the peak of the pandemic drawing closer. Cape Town, Johannesburg and eThekwini metros briefed the committees on their plans to combat the spread of Covid-19 virus in their cities and covered organising structures in place, state of finance, enforcement of regulations, provision of water and sanitation, informal settlements, shelters for the homeless, public transport, health services, workplace response and readiness, economic recovery plan, preparedness for COVID-19 peak
Members questioned how the loss of revenue from the hard lockdown is going to affect metro finances and the resulting impact on service delivery, especially to the most vulnerable. They welcomed the three cities’ efforts to provide shelter and food to homeless people as well as sanitisation of public spaces. Members asked for the status on the evictions that took place during lockdown, contrary to regulations. They appealed for monitoring of lock down regulations in densely populated areas by law enforcement. They asked that there is transparency and openness in the spending of Covid-19 emergency funds as the public must know what the money is spent on.
Executive Mayor, Mr Mxolisi Kaunda, said COVID-19 is a massive challenge for eThekwini which is the epicentre of the pandemic in KwaZulu Natal. The lockdown, to control the spread of the virus, is having massive impact on eThekwini, both economically and socially. Due to urbanisation coupled with high levels of poverty, eThekwini is particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. As of 10 May 2020, 841 cases were identified with 181 recoveries, 660 active cases and 19 deaths in eThekwini.
The metro has established several structures, such as the eThekwini Joint Operation Centre, eThekwini COVID-19 Command Team and Multidisciplinary Task Team.
He spoke to the state of the metro's finances, saying that uncommitted conditional grants will be utilised to fund COVID-19 related expenditure such as the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) and Public Transport Network Grant (PTNG), which is supported by National Treasury. Capital and Operating Expenditure will have to be reviewed as major cuts in expenditure are required to maintain sustainability. There is an increase in costs, however, savings of R218 million have been identified. The metro is liaising with National Treasury for assistance, alternatively Capital Budgets have to be reduced.
The metro's enforcement of the regulations include Arrest and Stop and Search performed in conjunction with South African Police Service, Department of Transport and South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Planning and reporting occurs at the Provincial Joint Operations Command Centre (PROVJOC).
The efforts made for water and sanitation; housing; public transport, and health services were described.
Workplace response and readiness included managing effective working from home. Employees would return to work in batches but no more than a third. All units have health risk assessments in place for Department of Employment and Labour compliance. Mental health surveys will also be implemented.
In responding to the economic downturn, eThekwini plans include providing support to tourism businesses; expanding access to online services and platforms; supporting informal trade; ensuring the participation of small business in the provision of products and services needed in response to Covid-19; increasing investment activity in the property development sector and associated job creation opportunities; and implementing social and economic relief measures.
There is a plan to increase quarantine, isolation, hospital and cemetery facilities in preparedness for the peak of COVID-19.
Mr M Hoosen (DA) raised concern about media reports over the insensitive way the metro has approached economic recovery to cover the costs of increased wages and bonuses. Although the people of the City have been unemployed and not paid, the City still implements large tariffs and rates. The City could give a lot more by providing help to those people. This is not the time for City employees to walk away with increased wages, especially when there has been a call to implement salary cuts. He also raised concern over the increasing expenditure of eThekwini. He asked for assurance from the Mayor about openness and transparency.
Ms P Xaba (ANC) questioned security and sanitisation. She referred to the care of vulnerable people. According to a TV programme, Thulani Cele is currently living in a bush. She questioned how people living in situations like this will be able to observe lockdown and social distancing regulations. She asked if councillors are working in the vulnerable areas.
Mr Ceza (EFF) asked about the Stop and Search method. He asked how long arrested people are held, noting the impact of the arrest of breadwinners on their families. He asked what plans are in place to drive the green revolution during this period, specifically solid waste. He said that 3 500 schools do not have proper sanitisation and asked what the metro’s plans are to improve this. He asked about measures in place to protect students who will walk to school.
Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) asked why the City council has not invited her and Mr Hoosen to attend the virtual council meetings, especially since they are citizens of the City. Secondly, why are bodyguards were hired for all councillors? In terms of law enforcement, there is no lockdown enforcement in informal settlements and townships. There is a serious problem in the delivery of food parcels. She asked what strategy was used as party politics came into play and there was no transparency as deliveries happened at night. She asked about the billing system and how far the City is going to correct this. What is being done about the housing crisis in eThekwini, which would be exacerbated during the crisis. Who qualifies for free electricity? She stated that councillors from other political parties must be involved in the decision making process.
Ms G Opperman (DA) asked how many water reconnections has been implemented and if electricity and water that was previously blocked, has been unblocked. She asked how it would mitigate revenue loss, aside from over burdening rate payers, if the metro plans to continue with 13th cheques and bonuses are still in force. She asked if the metro has applied for the relief fund for municipalities.
Ms F Muthambi (ANC) stated that a plan needs to be provided to show how the City plans to sanitize vulnerable public spaces, She asked what the cost of these interventions will be and the impact on the budget. She queried how the land grabs will be managed going forward as well as how social distancing will be managed in townships and informal settlements. She asked if relief measures are in place for those that are now unemployed. Are NGOS involved in helping with food parcel delivery and other service delivery initiatives?
Councillor Kaunda replied that accountability and transparency is no longer negotiable as we live in a participatory democracy. In terms of “insensitive” increments on water tariffs, the team had suggested an increase of 23% but the council refused this as the economic situation did not allow for it. It then suggested 15%, and this was refused again. Finally, an agreement on 9.9% was reached to sustain delivery. With refuse collection it originally suggested a 15% increase, this was brought down to 9.9%. In terms of electricity, originally it was 13% and this was brought down to 6.9%. The metro is engaging with citizens via online methods. Thus, he disagrees with Mr Hoosen that it was insensitive.
On the billing challenge, this was already in the process of being solved prior to the crisis.
He clarified that it is mandatory for all Exco to contribute part of their salaries. However, with councillors this is to be done on a voluntary basis.
In terms of irregular spending, Exco has put in measures to track spending and established a finance committee.
In law enforcement, it does not see race or creed. Statistics can be provided. Arrests are not made with the goal of suppressing livelihoods but when people break lockdown regulations, they need to pay a fine. There are programmes in place to develop radical social transformation. Meetings have been held to improve law enforcement, however, those involved have struggled to establish a footprint in making substantial change.
eThekwini is the greenest city in the world according to Councillor Kaunda and climate change measures are in place.
Councillor Kaunda replied he would research Thulani Cele and be responsive to his needs.
All wards receive food parcels not just ANC wards and receive them in equal numbers. Community mobilisers are being used to carry out these duties. Social workers are in place to analyse progress. And NGOs are in place to analyse more beneficiaries. The City has a list of NGOs helping with service delivery.
He replied that the sanitary issues are being attended to such as the Ward 19 toilets.
Those who have lost income, will be catered for in the rates and tariffs. The metro is in the process of developing structures to handle this. Demand for water has increased. The City is in the process of restricting the use of water to deliver it to more people who do not have access to water.
The City has applied for funding. Exco will be looking at the further financial implications of the crisis.
Councillor Kaunda replied about those who have taken advantage of the lockdown regulations and erected new informal settlements. These have been demolished and the City has won in court.
He replied that there are labour laws in place protecting bonuses and salaries, thus it is difficult to reduce this without repercussions.
eThekwini CFO, Mr Krish Kumar, replied that all expenditure items and revenue collection are being looked into. He acknowledges that people are struggling to pay tariffs. The City is looking at tariff relief and revenue collection impact. The points about salaries are in discussion at the moment with the relevant authorities. The issue of bonuses is also in discussion; Exco will investigate. He pleaded to national government for relief to manage these difficulties.
Ms Mkhaliphi stated that the mayor did not discuss when MPs will be invited to council meetings. She asked what the City is doing to distribute items such as blankets.
Ms Xaba clarified that Thulani Cele lives in Pinetown.
Mr Hoosen stated that these tariff increases are not different to previous years. He suggested a method of staggering these payments. What relief is eThekwini providing to businesses and citizens.
Mr Ceza stated his disappointment in the mayor reducing his question to that of race. The mayor did not address school sanitisation.
Ms Muthambi pointed out that MPs had agreed to attend provincial command councils in their respective provinces.
Councillor Kaunda replied that eThekwini is working with the education department to provide the sanitary requirements at schools. Bodyguards were implemented due to the number of councillors that were killed and the backlog in law enforcement statistics on this. This is subject to constant review.
He replied that online media and radio services were used for public participation to get the views of the public on the tariffs.
He replied that there was no issue with allowing national members to attend council meetings.
Mr Kumar replied that eThekwini will not disconnect services for businesses and residents and arrangements are in place for debtors.
City of Cape Town briefing
Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, gave apologies on behalf of the Mayor. He said the City is committed to deliver services and protect residents throughout this period and work with the provincial health department. City of Cape Town responded to the crisis early by closing public places. The residents of Cape Town have been doing their part to uphold regulations. They are cognisant of economic losses experienced by the people and businesses of Cape Town. The City has a high level plan to attempt to get back to the usual standard.
Mr Craig Kesson (Executive Director: Corporate Services) presented and said the City of Cape Town is trying to implement resilience principles informed by data. The city is reliant on the Western Cape department of health epidemiological plan, based off the national plan.
The City needs to be responsive in densely populated areas specifically community residential units (CRU), hostels and backyards. In response to regulations, it has implemented social distancing measures and testing facilities in public transport facilities. There are very high level preventative measures in place.
The City is focused on implementing national guidelines for informal settlements. In terms of water and sanitation, it has designed an action plan for basic service provision to informal settlements. It has a short term suppression strategy focusing on three priority areas. Firstly, servicing existing informal settlements. Secondly, giving temporary services to new, unserved informal settlements. Thirdly, additional health and hygiene measures in place to ensure the virus does not spread at service sites.
As an approach to de-densification, the City has confirmed its commitment to 6500 new housing opportunities at an estimated cost of R500 million. Provincial government is in the process of appointing professional teams to undertake design and planning of the sites.
The City has developed a fatalities value chain, from death to after care. It has partnered with the private sector to develop this and with religious bodies to aid in awareness.
It provides Primary Care (PHC) Services and Environmental Health Services in collaboration with the Provincial Government to the communities of Cape Town, especially the most vulnerable. PHC services will be re-organised to increase social distancing and to allow City Health to prepare for, and manage, the expected increase in patients with COVID-19 symptoms. By 10 May, 123 182 screenings and 10 114 tests have been done in the metro by City Health.
In terms of economic recovery, the City has experienced revenue shortfalls of over R1 billion. The City is focusing on institutional recovery due to the service changes as well as reflective learning and rapid responses. Economic impact modelling and scenarios are underway to inform financial scenarios
Ms Mkhaliphi asked when the last council meeting took place. She asked how many evictions have taken place even though lockdown regulations state that evictions should not happen.
Ms Xaba queried what the City defines as an informal settlement. This was in reference to the photo used in the PowerPoint presentation. She asked which areas are most affected by the virus.
Ms M Mmola (EFF; Mpumalanga) said the presentation does not deal with the virus as it fails to address how informal settlements will practice social distancing, particularly in Langa. She asked what the number of positive and negative tests are. She voiced a concern on whether the City has enough PPE. She asked how many recoveries there have been. How are the homeless being taking care of in terms of food, sanitizers and other PPE.
Mr B Hadebe (ANC) stated that the presentation lacked detail. He noted that the council has not met since the lockdown and asked whose plan is this. Where will the funding come from for the construction plan and why only three informal settlements were selected. He said that no lockdown regulations are in force in densely populated informal settlements. He asked if the water tanks were installed as there are citizens that still do not have access to water. In terms of law enforcement in public transport interchanges, he stated that enforcement is not equally distributed across all ranks and queried this. The municipal clinics were shut down due to the demand for PPE and sanitisation not being met, especially where positive cases had developed and not all public quarantine sites have been activated.
Ms Opperman stated her concern for the people of the Cape Flats as there is limited space to practice isolation. She asked if unions are supportive of health care practitioners returning to work. She asked what is in place to handle the large number of positive cases in Cape Town.
Mr Hoosen stated that the presentation is lacking on economic recovery. He asked what steps the City is taking to alleviate economic pressure for businesses and people. He noted his concern about the shelter in Strandfontein. He queried what steps are in place to curb the high number of cases.
Mr Ceza asked what the daily testing target is. He asked where the Mayor of Cape Town is. He queried what is being done to ensure safety at schools.
Ms C Visser (DA) asked if the City has received adequate support from other spheres of government. She asked what the decision making process was to implement the Strandfontein shelter project.
Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) asked what is being done in providing for the people of Khayelitsha.
Ms Muthambi asked if the City has a command council. What is being done about the Strandfontein shelter and why homeless shelters were omitted from the presentation. She asked what the overall expenditure is. She asked if other councillors are involved in disaster management. She requested a list of NGOs that can provide disaster management aid. She voiced a concern that deep cleaning takes place only after a positive case has been found. She also noted the closure of clinics and asked why the clinics are closed.
Mr Hadebe requested a Strandfontein site visit. He asked why all councillors were not include in this plan.
City of Cape Town response
Cllr Badroodien replied that there are multiple factors that need to be considered when attempting to ask why Cape Town’s number of positive cases is so high. Firstly, the City is actively looking for positive cases. There are facilities available such as clinics, community screening and education mechanisms. Councillors agreed to go into recess, giving the Mayor executive power. This does not mean the councillors have not been active as they are involved on the ground and doing humanitarian work. The mayor is in a meeting about keeping the tourism industry afloat.
There are over 100 clinics in the City, and 8 clinics are closed. These closed clinics gave their usual patients alternative clinics to go to. He is aware of the severity of closing a clinic and risk analyses are done.
Mr Kesson replied that the Strandfontein shelter site is in the process of decanting and closing. The City plans on moving these people to smaller sites in providing shelters for the homeless. The City is aware of the different states of informality, but will aim to provide services to all homes, regardless of the degree of informality.
He replied that the water tanks are at completion stage. Time had to be taken to ensure the correct implementation of these tanks. The City used the hard lockdown period to plan and prepare for these services. Other resources were used to provide water in the meantime.
He agreed that it is true that the City plan needs to be brought to attention of the municipal council and will be done so. This plan was approved by the provincial command council.
On the USDG funding, metro and provincial councils submitted their lists of dense informal settlements. The three settlements were selected. In terms of the funding, the City has engaged with Treasury and this has not posed a challenge in terms of spending. There is a need to accelerate setting up de-densified areas.
Between 30 to 40 public sites have been identified for quarantine and isolation facilities and are being prepared. The City is waiting for funding to be released.
The City provided lower tariff rates than previous annual cycles. The City is also providing assistance to those who are unemployed or in a fragile living environment to qualify for rates rebates. Temporary payment arrangements can also be made. Credit control has been stopped during the period. There are business hubs around the City and businesses and small business have been briefed on how to interpret the regulations to access provisions from the Solidarity Fund and how to access other relief measures from government. The City is in touch with those businesses and it organized with representatives all the time. A very big concern for the City is trying to sustain the service economy and understand what the future of it looks like. They are working with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism on these longer term plans as well. The City escalated the interpretation of regulations and provisions for sector support to the relevant national ministers when they published their regulations, including requests for greater clarification under the different levels of the risk adjusted strategy.
He will refer the questions about schools to the provincial Department of Education for their reporting structures.
The City is escalating the cleansing within public transport as much as possible. Deep cleansing is the method used for when an area has been exposed to infection so as to protect staff. This takes into account the environmental health perspective that is needed to prepare sites for staff to return to work safely. In terms of expenditure, it is proposing augmented clinics and satellite stations so that if there are infected areas, they do not have to close down the entire clinic.
The metro is trying to enforce social distancing as much as possible using ongoing public awareness and communication campaigns which do require a careful balancing act with resources. Law enforcement officials are working to enforce regulations
Mr Richard Bosman, Executive Director: Safety and Security, replied about the land invasion in Empolweni. He referred to the court judgment that was handed down in April and the City had provided water, toilets, taps and building materials and had thus met the court order.
Cllr Badroodien replied that law enforcement is playing a role to enforce regulations. Volunteers have been recruited to assist in enforcing regulations and there are around 400 volunteers.
The Chairperson said that she will liaise with the Mayor to organise another meeting after the council meeting takes place. This will give Members an opportunity to ask further questions.
City of Johannesburg municipality
Executive Mayor, Councillor Moloantoa Geoff Makhubo, said the City formed a political structure that includes a war room with sub committees that deal with disaster management, governance, communications, change management and service delivery. A team is involved in imagining what a post Covid Joburg would look like. Steps have been taken to ensure that all political parties are up to date and in consensus with the plans. Virtual meetings are in place. The City has taken coordinated response efforts at a central level, enabling harmonisation of surveillance and rapid response in the provision of essential services. There is the use of evidence-based information that is trusted by the leadership of the City for strategy development. Multiple facilities that are council-owned are being used for homeless shelters and quarantine facilities.
The City is part of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group C40 and it is learning from mayors in other parts of the world such as New York and Italy. Of the positive cases in Gauteng, over half are in Johannesburg. The hotspots are moving into Region D which is Soweto.
Health awareness activities at taxi tanks, shopping malls, hostels, high density areas including informal settlements (awareness focused on understanding COVID-19, prevention measures). To date, more than 1 million leaflets and posters have been distributed. The City has 28 designated primary health care facilities that conduct COVID-19 testing. There is mass screening targeting high risk areas such as densely populated areas and informal settlements, taxi Ranks and areas with increased positive cases. Joint Contact Tracing teams are active in each sub-district for daily tracing of contacts of Covid-19 positive cases.
In anticipation of the peak, the flow of patients at health facilities has been modified to separate suspected Covid-19 cases from the rest of the patients attending the health facility. This is to minimize the risk of cross -infection at facility level. Social distancing principles are being implemented. Designated wards have been identified at Provincial Hospitals for admission of ill patients that require hospitalization. There is participation in the Outbreak Response Teams (ORT) at district and sub-district level and daily reports are submitted to the District Office for analysis and reporting.
To protect its employees, there is a mass screening and testing campaign for Category A and B employees. As the City prepares to allow 1/3 of the total workforce to return to work, the following key measures are in progress: Adoption of a strengthened ‘Work from Home’ strategy to ensure business continuity; Workplace risk assessment across all office space; Instruction to all staff above age of 60 and those with underlying diseases to work from home.
For sanitisation, Pikitup have geared its depots to focus on high density areas by increasing from two to three shifts. A total of 65 market, office and transport facilities have been identified for deep cleaning as part of disinfecting and sanitizing the facilities. It is working on a sanitation pilot project at Bara Taxi Rank. The lessons learnt will be used to relook at bus stops. The intention is to ensure the entire public transport system is reorganised to minimise the spread of COVID-19. The City has identified several facilities as isolation and quarantine sites that will be made available should the need arise.
The Executive Mayor discussed plans for food insecure households, accommodating the displaced and homeless people, early warning systems on land invasions, increased patrols in hotspot areas.
In terms of economic relief, key initiatives for business include rates rebates, business linkages, tourism fund assistance and establishing of an economic advisory council. For citizens, there is the suspension of credit control and interest charges. Over 100 000 customers have active payment arrangements for their debt to be paid over a longer period. Charges related to disconnections and reconnections will also be waived subject to payment arrangement.
COJ has done well in slowing down the infection rate with an 81% recovery rate as at 10 May 2020. This demonstrates the efficiency in screening, contact tracing and monitoring as well as adherence to isolation / quarantine protocols.
There needs to be finalisation of all COVID-19 budget requirements as a means of gearing the City to manage the peak as and when it arrives. It is revising the City’s COVID-19 Task Team to include a ‘Business Sustainability’ function to focus on initiatives needed as the foundation for COJ’s ‘next normal’.
Mr Brink noted that the City of Joburg did not address the loss of revenue in its briefing. He asked if data has been collected to determine the effect of this loss and if the City had developed a plan to combat this. He asked about the supply of chemical toilets to informal settlements. He raised a concern about whether protective gear has been supplied to the volunteers.
Ms Xaba appreciated the improvement in funding for informal trading. She raised a concern that soldiers and police are not placed in Ivory Park as in her opinion foreign nationals are not adhering to the restrictions. She asked if army or police personnel could be deployed.
Mr Ceza noted the hotspots are in poor, heavily dense areas. He asked what measures are in place to mitigate this especially protecting those working in service delivery.
Ms Mkhaliphi queried the billing system that has caused great difficulties for poor people. She referred to some Soweto homes that do not have access to electricity. With the housing backlog, she asked how people with big families will adhere to lockdown regulations. She referred to evictions and said that land redistribution and providing housing had not been addressed. She asked what the strategy is to solve this.
Inkosi B Luthuli (IFP) asked how the Mayor is handling the situation where ward councillors are distributing food parcels to their relatives and friends. He asked what is being done about this. He queried what intervention plans are in place for the growing number of infections in the City of Joburg. He asked what is being done to enforce social distancing
Mr Motsamai queried what is being done to stop the sale of contraband cigarettes and drugs. What is the City of Joburg is doing to provide sanitisation and land to people?
Ms Muthambi asked for the Mayor's response to the Transport Minister who suggested the City of Joburg busses should close as the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions was lacking. She queried how food parcels are distributed, and if all people that need food parcels are receiving them. She asked what is being done about the homeless people still on the street. She asked what is being done for the drug addicts that have been homed. On the resumption of services in City of Joburg, what is the status for repairing roads and parks? She asked how the Mayor communicates with the councillors. She stated that the City of Joburg Disaster Management should have a list of NGOs available to assist it. She asked if there is an updated plan to provide for those in need of social services.
Mr Hoosen queried the centralisation of food parcel distribution and delivery as well as what provisions the City is using in the Disaster Management Act to carry this out.
Mayor Makhubo replied that the City has analysed the potential loss of revenue already and will distribute it. The demand for electricity is reduced so bulk purchases from Eskom will decrease. A 5% reduction is expected. Large energy consumers might close or struggle to consume the same number of kilowatts. The potential risk of working from home is that building vacancy rates will increase, impacting property value. This will affect rates and taxes. Final numbers are still in the works, however, the City knows that it needs to take an active approach to this budget and looking towards 2021. The City is planning on scaling back on expenditure. The decrease in revenue is anticipated but does not know what funding is still to be received.
Before lockdown, the number of chemical toilets were increased with the help of the national department. The City is responding to the need for land and housing. The people were evicted during land invasions were housed in tents. In terms of long term solutions, the community is planned to be relocated to plots 3km away. The team will investigate the sanitisation of Silver Town, even though the mayor believed the City has addressed this all.
There is no formal volunteer program. Ward councillors are going into communities to lead the process of awareness and prevention. The City of Joburg has enough PPE stock and is focusing on transformation.
The City works together with SAPS and will raise the issue with them but the issue of foreign nationals needs to be raised with national government.
Mayor Makhubo replied that something needs to be done about the densely populated areas with positive cases, especially in Alexandra. The TRA will be solution used to deal with these areas as well as sustainable measures. Mass screening and testing are in place.
He believes that the billing system has been stabilised but they will continue improving it.
The City has raised the issue of Eskom-supplied areas with provincial and national levels. These areas are a problem. Eskom has been slow in restoring electricity. Some areas have been restored, however the process is very slow. The capacity growth of these areas must be updated.
There is a housing backlog. The City of Joburg is working with the province to resolve this. The number of informal settlements has grown substantially and thus resulting in the slow process of formalising these areas. There is a backlog of 211 informal settlements. The aim to prevent more informal settlements by increasing land release. The City is aware of syndicates taking advantage of poor people through illegally obtained formalities.
Mayor Makhubo replied that no councillor in the City of Joburg is allowed to deliver food parcels. However, there are councillors that organise with NGOs to supply parcels to their communities.
The City has encouraged their staff to practice social distancing and using protective gear.
The Transport MEC was pleased with the City’s plan for enforcing social distancing at taxi ranks and checking permits. However, hygiene in taxis and busses needed to be improved upon. This is currently underway.
Food security needs to be improved n to provide for households in distress. The City is aware of the incidence of poverty. The City is working with NGOs and other parties to deliver to those in need. In informal settlements, there are a large number of foreign nationals but work needs to be dealt with in terms of policy.
In the beginning, the displaced and homeless were moved without consideration of their background and needs. Social workers are deployed to analyse their needs. The City has improved on this and are using NGOS to assist in its plans.
Johannesburg City Parks is ready with data on how to handle burials in cemeteries. The City believes it is ready to handle this. However, they expect that when the peak hits there will not be enough graves.
In terms of the expanded social package, it is providing methods and resources on how to help indigents out of poverty. The lockdown has made the City realise that they under-determined the number of indigent and vulnerable people.
Mr Manenzhe Manenzhe, City of Joburg CFO, provided an analysis of revenue. In March 2020, the budgeted revenue was R3.5 billion but R3.9 billion was collected, bringing the City into a surplus. In April, the budgeted revenue was R3.7 billion but only R2.8 billion was collected, resulting in a deficit. On further analysis, there are some bigger companies that have not paid and this will be looked into. PPE procurement is under control. The team is ensuring social distancing and law enforcement in specific areas.
Joburg City Manager, Dr Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni, replied about the back to work question, saying many of the municipality services were still working on the ground. With the next phase, discussion with labour took place to determine the best method in bringing back the rest of the workforce. An analysis of the employees was conducted in terms of their health conditions. The City is working to provide employees with face masks and a minimum of two cloth masks is the goal.
Mayor Makhubo replied on food parcel distribution that the City of Joburg must encourage solidarity. When NGOs go into a community and distribute on their own they are giving to the same households. The City wants to aid NGOs in effectively distributing food parcels and not becoming overwhelmed or starting food riots. This is done to ensure that other families are catered for.
The Chairperson concluded by saying that one hour for each city is not enough. More engagement needs to take place and will happen in due course.
The meeting ended.