To court

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - By Tem­bile Sgqolana

ADECISION to merge the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Lukhanji, Ik­wanca and Tsol­wana, as ap­proved by the Mu­nic­i­pal De­mar­ca­tion Board of South Africa (MDBSA), will come be­fore the Gaut­eng High Court on Mon­day af­ter the DA lodged an ur­gent court ap­pli­ca­tion to pre­vent the move.

The Rep re­ported (“Merger goes ahead” Au­gust 28) that a merger of the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties would lead to one of the big­gest mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Chris Hani area.

MDBSA board mem­ber Sim­phiwe Dzengwa, speak­ing on Tues­day at a pub­lic meet­ing in Queen­stown on ward de­lim­i­ta­tions stem­ming from the merger, con­firmed the court case. The de­ci­sion to merge the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties came af­ter the board re­ceived a pro­posal from Min­is­ter of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Pravin Gord­han to con­sider the re­con- fig­u­ra­tion of bound­aries of said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties be­fore the 2016 lo­cal elec­tions – the first time a Min­is­ter had in­voked sec­tion 22(2) of the Mu­nic­i­pal De­mar­ca­tion Act No.27 of 1998 since it was pro­mul­gated 17 years ago – to turn it into a District Man­age­ment Area (DMA).

Pub­lic meet­ings be­tween res­i­dents and the MDB were dis­rupted and failed to pro­ceed as res­i­dents de­manded that board of­fi­cials did not re­strict meet­ings to Queen­stown but also vis­ited Inkwanca and Tsol­wana.

The Rep re­ported (“Res­i­dents op­pose merger” June 5) that DA con­stituency leader Ce­leste Barker sub­mit­ted copies of pe­ti­tions con­tain­ing sig­na­tures of more than 3 000 peo­ple op­pos­ing the merger.

In an in­ter­view with The Rep this week, Dzengwa said the Board had, dur­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing, given com­mu­ni­ties of the ar­eas an op­por­tu­nity to state their views on ward de­lim­i­ta­tions. “Af­ter that the board will pub­lish the out­comes in the govern­ment gazette, then peo­ple will be given 14 days to ob­ject.”

Queen­stown civic and ratepay­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Tokkie Dey­sel said the meet­ing was con­fus­ing. “The doc­u­ments they gave and the map con­tra­dict each other and we have de­cided that we will give in­put straight to the board.” He urged or­gan­i­sa­tions and res­i­dents to use the 10-day pe­riod to make sub­mis­sions.

Vuy­isile Bloom from Hofmeyr said the process was po­lit­i­cal as the board was tak­ing the strong holds of the ANC and com­bin­ing them with ar­eas the par­ties had less sup­port. “They are just strength­en­ing their po­lit­i­cal sup­port in some wards.”

Chief Matata Hebe said he was af­fected by the de­mar­ca­tion as part of his vil­lage will fall in Nkonkobe mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the other sec­tion in Lukhanji. “This af­fects us but we are go­ing to sit with other chiefs and dis­cuss it.” There were other tra­di­tional bound­aries also due to be af­fected by the de­mar­ca­tion.

MDBSA spokesman Bulelwa Mbali-Khoele said the board had, on Au­gust 25, pub­lished its de­ci­sion on the re-de­ter­mi­na­tion or de­ter­mi­na­tion of the bound­aries of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the rel­e­vant provin­cial gazettes. Af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion the board had to de­limit met­ro­pol­i­tan mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties into wards. The board held meet­ings in the af­fected ar­eas to al­low the pub­lic to air their views on the pro­posed ward bound­aries and would like to fi­nalise the meet­ings be­tween Oc­to­ber 5 and 21. Khoele de­clined to com­ment on the DA’s court ap­pli­ca­tion as the mat­ter was sub ju­dice.

Lukhanji DA councillor Jerome Shaw said the party’s ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing op­posed by Gord­han and the board. The DA was claim­ing that the con­sul­ta­tion process had been flawed.

He said if the court found in favour of the DA then the de­lim­i­ta­tion of wards process would be nul­li­fied.

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