DA court threat doesn’t faze demarcation board

2013-08-07 17:16

The Municipal Demarcation Board will go ahead with its plans to create a fourth metropolitan municipality in Gauteng, despite threats of a law suit from the DA.

The merger of the DA-led Midvaal and the ANC-led Emfuleni municipalities will be published for public comment in the provincial government gazette tomorrow. It is the biggest change of the 157 proposed municipal boundary re-demarcations that will be published for comment for 30 days.

Midvaal is of strategic importance to the DA, which is vying for control of Gauteng in next year’s general elections.

Gauteng DA leader John Moodey told Business Day yesterday that the ANC was using the demarcation process to get the municipality as it could not win it through the vote.

But board chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu has denied this.

“We will not and have not caved in to political pressure ... If we had done so, we would have made that decision then and there,” Mahlangu said.

The board’s CEO, Gabisile Gumbi-Masilela, denied that the push to merge the two Vaal Triangle municipalities was taken irregularly, and said any court would likely find in the board’s favour if the DA took it to court.

“Anybody can take us to court ... Everything we do is guided by the law,” she said.

The MDB also dismissed the proposed amalgamation of the Sasolburg-based Metsimaholo with the Parys-based Ngwathe, but denied that its decision was politically motivated.

Residents of Zamdela embarked on violent protests in opposition to the merger, alleging that this will compromise service delivery in Metsimaholo.

Click here to view the gallery “Looting Zamdela”.

Calm was restored after then cooperative governance minister Richard Baloyi promised to halt the mooted merger.

The board said factors such as the viability of municipalities after a merger, cohesion and whether merging would improve the lives of residents weighed heavily in their decision about amalgamating municipalities.

Mahlangu urged the public to look at the proposed changes and submit their objections, as the comment processwas not a mere formality.

The final decision will go to the Independent Electoral Commission, which will use the changes when it compiles the voters’ roll for the 2014 elections.

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