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Gauteng’s new municipality: Rand West City

Rand West City is a newly established local municipality in the Gauteng province. It was established after the August 3, 2016 local government elections by amalgamating Randfontein and the Westonaria local municipalities.

These municipalities were part of the West Rand District Municipality. In the local government elections the African National Congress got the most votes – 53% of all votes cast. The African National Congress won 37 of 69 council seats with the Democratic Alliance getting the next highest number of seats – 19. The new municipality has an executive mayor system with an ANC member holding the position of mayor.

The creation of the new municipality was, in part, a result of poor financial administration in the local municipalities. In the 2014/15 financial year Randfontein received a qualified opinion from the Auditor General. Westonaria received an Audit not finalised at legislated date opinion.

General description

There are two main urban centers in the area Randfontein and Westonaria towns. Randfontein is, by far, the larger of the two. Railway facilities, the N12 and R28 provide easy access to the area. Goods and services can reach markets and airports easily without sacrificing quality or excessive transport costs. The Westonaria region is characterised by dispersed urban structures consisting of various urban areas and mining villages spread throughout the area. These include Ventersdorp and Bekkersdal. As a result of the decline of gold mining, the area is characterised by high levels of unemployment and poverty.

Finances

Estimates based of the budgets of the amalgamated municipalities indicate Rand West City will have operating revenue of R22. 10 million. Approximately R11.69 million of this will be recouped from service charges. This indicates that 64% of operating revenue is raised from services provided to local residents and businesses.

The high level of income from the selling of services has resulted in households experiencing some hardship. Recent survey data (CRS 2016) indicates that residents think that cost of electricity is the biggest challenge facing the municipality. Approximately 21% of residents cited this as the municipality’s single largest challenge.

Another R254 million will probably be recouped from property rates. The capital budget is approximately R313 million. Initially the municipality will employ about 2578 staff (including 70 managers). The cost of this staff will be approximately R511 million. This amounts to 22% of operating expenditure.

Demographics and services

The new municipality has a population of 265887 making it the 4th most populous of the Gauteng province. The vast majority (77%) of residents receives mains electricity and 88% have water piped to their dwellingsor yard. 77% of residents have access to VIP latrines or better (flush toilet, septic tank system or ventilated pit latrine). Most (83%) have their refuse removed at least once a week.

Economy

The latest available municipal data, the 2011 census, indicated that residents of Rand West City had an average household monthly income of R6783. This indicates they have the 2 lowest incomes of municipalities of the 9 local/metropolitan municipalities in the province.

The 2011 census indicates that residents of the area had an unemployment rate of 27%. When discouraged worker seekers are included among the unemployed this figure rise to 32%. Residents of Rand West City have the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the Gauteng.

Currently 14536 households receive indigent support of some kind from the local administration. The average value of households receiving fee basic services was estimated to be R815 per month.

See this table for a list of all the disestablished municipalities in South Africa

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