Premier deflects talk of metro

2013-04-18 00:00

AN attempt to clarify how far uMgungundlovu has got in its application for metro status was thwarted yesterday by Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize interrupted the chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) when he tried to answer a question put by The Witness.

MDB chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu was giving feedback on the public participation in the redrawing of KZN’s municipal boundaries.

The Witness asked him when the uMgungundlovu district would commission public hearings on its application to become a metro.

Mkhize interrupted to say that the metro issue was being managed by the board and the question of boundaries was not yet finalised. He said there were people in other municipalities who worked and shopped in Msunduzi, and it would be unfair to exclude them from the proposed metro.

He said there was still a long way to go before the matter was finalised and conceded that it had been a thorny issue between the Democratic Alliance and the ANC in the district.

The DA supports metro status for the district, while the ANC is against it. Msunduzi Municipality was awarded metro status in 2006, but it was revoked due to political infighting.

Mahlangu said the discussions to redraw borders had been “robust” in some areas, but some communities were happy with the proposed changes. He hoped the process would be finalised by August.

Out of 204 proposals submitted for new municipal boundaries, 51 are from KZN. If all the applications are approved, KZN’s 61 municipalities will be significantly altered. The province is likely to be left with fewer than 50 municipalities.

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