Free State municipal merger will never happen – residents

2013-01-30 16:39

The mooted merger of the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe local municipalities in the Free State will never happen, a residents’ association said.

Lucky Malebo, chairperson of the Metsimaholo Concerned Residents, said today they would not allow any merger processes to go ahead.

He was addressing a joint briefing by the residents’ association and the Municipal Demarcation Board in Pretoria.

“Before the submission (to merge the municipalities), we were supposed to be consulted by law. That first step was violated and the whole process falls apart.

“At the end, it doesn’t matter whether the board says we merge or we don’t. We, as the residents, say we don’t merge. We are saying this matter will not happen, no ways.”

Violent protests broke out two weeks ago in Sasolburg’s Zamdela township against the proposed merger.

Four people were killed and several others, including two police officers, were injured. More than 200 people were arrested. There was substantial damage to property.

Municipal Demarcation Board chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu said his organisation would probe the processes around the proposed merger instituted by the Free State government.

“Before the board can take a decision on reconsidering any municipalities, there are a number of factors to be considered. We are not desperate to amalgamate municipalities at the cost of the welfare of the residents,” Mahlangu said.

“The reasons given (for the proposed merger) were along the lines that merged municipalities were going to function much better. I can confirm it (the proposal) was done by the province and the district,” he said.

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