SPEECH BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR, ALDERMAN DAN PLATO
26 March 2020
Note to editors: This speech was delivered at the Council meeting on Thursday, 26 March 2020.
Councillors, members of the public, media, colleagues, I greet you today in what is an unprecedented time.
These are desperate times and they require desperate measures.
The global spread of COVID-19 has seen countries around the world take dramatic and extraordinary measures to protect their citizens and help them to limit the spread of this devastating virus. COVID-19 does not discriminate and it is not selective, it targets all people of all ages.
With a 21-day lockdown being implemented in a few hours, I will keep my message short.
Firstly, I would like to make it clear that as the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, this administration is in full support of the President’s announcement on Monday, 23 March 2020. We will do whatever is required to assist our residents in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I applaud the President for the difficult decisions he has had to make, as the alternative would have come at a great cost to our communities. The number one message is ‘stay home.’ This is not a request from the President, it is an instruction.
I have appointed a Coronavirus task team consisting of the Mayoral Committee and Executive Management Team. We have been convening every day for the last week to ensure, as a City, we are prepared to continue serving our residents during this difficult time.
All essential services will be in full operation. Some Mayoral Committee Members will be on duty during the lock-down. I will be in communication daily with Cllr Badroodien, as well as Alderman JP Smith, Alderman Xanthea Limberg, Cllr Maxiti, Deputy Mayor and Alderman Felicity Purchase.
All councillors, both ward and PR, will be on duty from their homes. You need to be available to our residents who may have concerns about services and escalate these to the relevant directorates. I know you will take the necessary precautions and adhere to the regulations that have been published during the lockdown. You can provide comfort to your residents by being available and dealing with their queries speedily, so let’s all do this together.
Today’s council session is being held so that the City of Cape Town can approve a draft budget that will allow us to continue delivering the best services to the people of this beautiful and resilient city.
I am disappointed that some opposition parties have decided to stay away today. The National Government has been clear in the Government gazette published by the National Minister of Cooperative Governance, Dr Dlamini Zuma, in recent days – municipal budgets must be tabled and council sessions must be held in order to do this. They have advised that we take precautionary measures in order to comply with the safety regulations that have been published and we have done exactly that. Where parties across the country are working together to combat the spread of this virus, I am disappointed in the official opposition party in this City who have let our residents down by not being here today. We do have a quorum without them, so we will continue.
I want to thank those councillors who are present here today, and who have put our communities first. Thank you.
I hereby table the draft budget for public comment.
The proposed budget for the 2020/2021financial year amounts to R52,7 billion and is comprised of R44 billion for operational expenditure and R8,7 billion for capital expenditure. We do not have the luxury of time to run through each item today, but the full budget is being published online for the public to view and provide input on.
I refer you to my Budget Report on page 12 of the document.
If we want to see our City return to a state of normality, we will all need to play our part, stay home, and respect the instructions given by the National Government.
We cannot afford for this virus to spread and I am calling on the people of Cape Town to show the rest of the world just how resilient we are – we defeated the worst drought his City has ever seen by working together and each playing our part. Now we need to do this again – play your part, stay home, stop the spread of the virus, and within time – hopefully a much shorter time – we can get back to work.