No metro status for Msunduzi any time soon

2015-05-15 09:24

Pietermartizburg (File)

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THE City of Choice will need to wait a few more years until it can attempt to officially claim the tagline of being a metropole.

In a media briefing held yesterday, MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube said the province will not be obtaining any further metropolitans before 2021.

In a prepared statement she said: “Proposals for the two metros of Msunduzi/uMngundlovu and the Uthungulu District have been shelved by the Municipal Demarcation Board and will only be discussed as a proposal for the 2021 local government elections.”

She later clarified this was largely because of the time frame before next year’s local election, admitting it would be impossible to form new metros before then.

Dube said “no further discussions” will take place on the future of the metros during the current round of demarcations.

Dube, who said her department’s theme for the upcoming financial year was tagged “Back to Basics”, said the province’s 35 indentified municipalities that needed intervention were starting to see signs of recovery.

“We are pleased to report that the majority of municipalities are graduating to fully functional status.”

She said they have set up a “nerve centre” to monitor performance and have established “rapid response teams” in the province and all municipalities.

Dube said Indaka, Abaqulusi and Mpofana are being taken out of provincial intervention because they have “returned to a good state of health”.

Ironically, while Mpofana has been seen as having recovered after its council was disintegrated and a new leadership elected last year, it is expected to be amalgamated with Umngeni Municipality, which has caused friction between the opposing residents.

During previous consultation ­meetings hosted by the demarcation ­authorities, the discussions became heated between residents of the two ­municipalities.

But Dube distanced herself from the demarcation process. “The demarcation board is responsible for demarcation not us as government. I do not have information pertaining to their outcomes of community engagements in Mpofana.”

The number of municipalities in KZN will be reduced from 61 to either 54 or 53 by the 2016 local elections.

THE threat of a prolonged provincial drought could see local authorities curbing water use drastically in coming months.

But limited water this year could be eased in the future with R3 billion earmarked for the increase in the provision of bulk water infrastructure in the province, according to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Nomusa Dube.

She said the water project, funded by Cogta and the Department of Water and Sanitation, will be used on projects such as the Spring Grove Dam, Bulwer Dam, raising Hazelmere Dam, the uMkhomazi Water Project and the Lower Thukela Regional Bulk initiative

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