Cogta not happy about non-metro status

2013-10-17 00:00

THE decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) not to grant the uMgungundlovu District Municipality metro status has caused a stir in some quarters in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC and the ANC have both expressed their unhappiness at the MDB’s decision.

The number of KZN’s municipalities is set to shrink from 61 to 54 only after the 2016 local government elections.

At a press conference yesterday Cogta MEC Nomsa Dube said they believed that making uMgungundlovu into a metro would have assisted them by streamlining administration under one roof, under one mayor and under one municipality.

She said it was their view that the amalgamation of non-viable municipalities within larger blocks in urban settings will go a long way towards improving service delivery.

“It doesn’t matter whether you live in Impendle or Richmond, those people shop and do business in Pietermaritzburg,” she said.

She said, nevertheless, they respected the decision by the demarcation board because it is an independent body.

“We do wish to allay fears there may be in respect of merging municipalities or where a current municipality will be dis-established and accommodated with adjoining municipalities,” she said.

Dube said the seats of the councils were not going to change because they are determined by the wards.

“Nothing changes except that instead of having two mayors or two municipal managers, you are now going to have one mayor in the affected areas,” she said.

She said the process should be completed and the changes effected in 2016 after local government elections.

She said they would be establishing committees involving mayors and municipal managers of the affected municipalities to look at how best to amalgamate the councils involved.

The committees will look at what assets are owned by each institution and what roles will be required in the new municipalities. She stressed that it would not mean that municipal jobs would be lost.

Dube said this was not a new thing for the province because it had been done in eThekwini and Ntambanana.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala welcomed the ruling of the demarcation board to merge some municipalities.

DA spokesperson on Cogta, George Mari, MPP called on Dube to ensure that proposed changes to the province’s municipal boundaries are not bulldozed through and to take the matter back to the public for further consultation.

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