Residents call for consultation and stop meeting
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.
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