Dis­sat­is­fied

Res­i­dents call for con­sul­ta­tion and stop meet­ing

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - By Tem­bile Sgqolana

THE Mu­nic­i­pal De­mar­ca­tions Board (MDB) was forced to call off its con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing with res­i­dents of the Inkwanca, Tsol­wana and Lukhanji mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties at the town hall on Mon­day, fol­low­ing a protest by res­i­dents who do not sup­port the merger of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

The planned meet­ing was the sec­ond in­tended to dis­cuss the amal­ga­ma­tion of the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties which has been un­able to pro­ceed due to com­mu­nity dis­sat­is­fac­tion.

Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­ern­ment and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han re­cently asked the MDB to re­de­ter­mine the bound­aries of cer­tain mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and pro­posed that Lukhanji merge with Inkwanca and Tsol­wana to form a Dis­trict Man­age­ment Area (DMA).

The Rep re­ported (“Show down,” April 24) that an­gry res­i­dents brought the de­mar­ca­tion board meet­ing in Queen­stown in April to a halt be­fore it could get un­der­way with var­i­ous griev­ances listed, in­clud­ing the fact that no con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings had been held in Inkwanca and Tsol­wana and that the venue (the Chris Hani Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil cham­ber) was in­suf­fi­cient for the num­ber of peo­ple in at­ten­dance. The meet­ing moved out­doors, rais­ing the ire of those at­tend­ing.

On Mon­day, as the de- mar­ca­tion board rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sim­phiwe Dzengwa was ex­plain­ing the MDB de­ci­sion on the re­quest by the res­i­dents of Tsol­wana and Inkwanca to be ad­dressed in their own mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, the process spi­ralled out of con­trol as peo­ple started rais­ing points of or­der and de­mand­ing to speak.

When the res­i­dents no­ticed that their ques­tions about the de­mar­ca­tion board not vis­it­ing their ar­eas were not be­ing an­swered, they sang and dis­rupted the meet­ing, bring­ing it to a close even be­fore it had been of­fi­cially opened.

Toyi-toy­ing res­i­dents sang songs which called CHDM ex­ec­u­tive mayor Mx­olisi Koyo a ma­nip­u­la­tive per­son, point­ing fin­gers at him and lit­ter­ing the ta­ble in front of him and MDB mem­bers with copies of the agenda and re­lated pam­phlets.

Af­ter the meet­ing was called off, words were ex­changed be­tween the CHDM coun­cil­lor and ANC Chris Hani re­gional task team co­or­di­na­tor Lindiwe Gunuza and some res­i­dents who had been speak­ing to Dzengwa.

Mem­bers of the crowd charged to­wards Gunuza and she was taken away by CHDM speaker Ge­orge Xoseni.

Be­fore the meet­ing could start res­i­dents of Tsol­wana and Inkwanca asked Dzengwa about a re­quest made in the pre­vi­ous meet­ing where they asked the MDB to hold public con­sul­ta­tions in their ar­eas.

Dzengwa said he had ex- plained in the pre­vi­ous meet­ing that the re­quest to go to other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties may or may not be ac­cepted. “When the board takes a de­ci­sion it con­sid­ers the sub­mis­sions in the form of pro­pos­als, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the public meet­ings, how­ever, the board can take a de­ci­sion on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion only, or the pro­pos­als. This does not mean that one of th­ese is more im­por­tant than the other,” he said.

He added that the dead­line for sub­mit­ting this was Au­gust 1 as the process had started in De­cem­ber last year. “When there are prob­lems in the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties the de­mar­ca­tion board can deal with Lukhanji mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The cut-off date was May 30, but we said let us come to Chris Hani to­day.”

He con­firmed the board had re­ceived a let­ter from Inkwanca mu­nic­i­pal­ity, say­ing when the board vis­ited Inkwanca, it should go to Molteno and Sterk­stroom.

The board had taken note of all sub­mis­sions and a re­port by an in­de­pen­dent ser­vice provider which was con­duct­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said when the mu­nici-

pal­i­ties were merged a new man­age­ment com­mit­tee would be formed. “The com­mit­tee de­cides on the name of the new mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the level of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the seat of the mu­nic­i­pal of­fices.”

Pa­trick Gama of Inkwanca asked what the point was of the board re­turn­ing to the Chris Hani area if the cut-off date of May 30 had al­ready passed. “The de­mar­ca­tion board does not care about the peo­ple. If they did they would have gone to Tsol­wana and Inkwanca.

Mzuvukile Sonkosi, who is res­i­dent in the Lukhanji area, said the de­mar­ca­tion board should not take de­ci­sions for peo­ple with­out con­sul­ta­tions. “We will not ac­cept this, the de­mar­ca­tion board must go to ev­ery area and talk to the peo­ple. They should have vis­ited all the ar­eas.”

Luyanda Ma­co­keni from Inkwanca said the de­mar­ca­tion board had al­ready taken a de­ci­sion. “We are deal­ing with peo­ple who want to im­pose this on us. If they are do­ing it this way, we will be left with no op­tion but to take them to court.”

In­fu­ri­ated res­i­dents said if the board did not lis­ten, the var­i­ous mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas would be brought to a halt. As pro­ceed­ings spi­ralled out of con­trol, board of­fi­cials left the hall.

Pic­tures: TEM­BILE SGQOLANA

AN­GRY: Res­i­dents of three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Chris Hani dis­trict forced the Mu­nic­i­pal De­mar­ca­tion Board meet­ing to a halt on Mon­day

SINGING: Uniden­ti­fied men protest dur­ing the de­mar­ca­tion meet­ing

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