R2BN ‘Bridging Loan’ Voted Down, But COJ Says Salaries, Bonuses Secured

Johannesburg – The City of Joburg (COJ) faces a cash crunch after the majority of Councillors voted against applying for a multibillion-rand bridging loan on Wednesday.

MMC for Finance Julie Suddaby said it was the second time the COJ Council had denied the R2bn loan application.

“Today, 23 November 2022, the COJ Council did not approve the loan application tabled for the second time with 137 Councillors rejecting the application and 130 Councillors in favour of it,” said Suddaby.

In a media conference held before Council, the Executive Mayor, Dr. Mpho Phalatse, and Suddaby, reiterated how important it is for the City, its residents, and sustained service delivery that this loan is approved.

“It is also not the first time the City of Johannesburg has taken advantage of a short-term loan to bridge a cash flow mismatch,” said Suddaby.

The Finance MMC said despite clear explanations to questions asked and the report being the very same one that the government had signed in October and would have approved, opposition Councillors did not put service delivery ahead of their political aspirations.

“If the decision was right on 24th October, it should still be right on 23 November,” said Suddaby.

“Unless, of course, the decision to not approve the loan has nothing to do with right, has nothing to do with delivering services to the residents who voted so that you could sit in this chamber today.

“But has everything to do with a power-hungry attempt to derail this legitimate government.”

Suddaby added, “The no-vote for a second time disappointed me, it is shortsighted, especially since the MPG had clearly shown it was a normal business decision to assist the City’s cash flow at this time.

“This action confirms that the ANC and the minority party coalition don’t have the residents and businesses of Joburg at the centre of their decision-making.

“It is not the residents of the City that the opposition seats served in Council today.”

Sinovuyo Mpakama, acting GFCO for the City, said: “We are aware that there is huge concern about salaries, and I would like to assure the staff that salaries for November and December are covered despite the no-vote.”