ANC ‘could delay metro’

2009-09-29 00:00

INFIGHTING within the ANC may mean Pietermaritzburg does not get metro status by 2011. This is according to sources within the ANC and the local municipality.

According to the allegations, there is a strong faction within the ANC that does not want to see the current leadership of the Msunduzi Municipality running the metro.

They claim plans are afoot to get Local Government MEC Nomusa Dube to negotiate with the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to rescind its decision and incorporate the district along with the six local municipalities that fall under it. This will mean that Msunduzi will only get metro status in 2016.

Indications that there are problems with the metro status first emerged when Dube did not gazette the change of status of Msunduzi from a grade “B” to a grade “A” (metro) municipality. The other cities recommended by the MDB for metro status in 2011, Mangaung (Bloemfontein) and Buffalo City (East London), were gazetted by their provincial MECs by the due date of July 30.

Local Government spokesman Vernon Mchunu said that as things stand, the Msunduzi Municipality cannot be a metro on its own. Submissions from other municipalities in the district, said Mchunu, are being looked at and the declaration of the metro status will follow.

ANC provincial spokeswoman Nomfundo Mcetywa denied any infighting within the ruling party, saying Dube and the MDB are dealing with the matter.

Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said she supports a metro that incorporates the whole of the district.

However, the MDB is adamant that there can be no change in their decision to declare Msunduzi Municipality as a metro.

MDB chief executive officer Dr Hillary Monare said yesterday, on behalf of the board, that they have not reviewed or reversed that decision.

“The provincial government cannot overrule the decision of the board on any matter regarding the determination and re-determination of municipal boundaries, and the change in status of a municipality. A decision of the board can only be reversed by the board itself,” said Monare.

There is currently a lot of talk in various circles about this matter, said Monare, adding that it is a well known fact that the KZN provincial government is not in favour of the declaration of Msunduzi as a metro, with the current boundaries.

“Their preference is for a metro in the area to include the other municipalities, which currently form part of the district. Thus, we have seen in the media that the provincial government has to date not played its part, to gazette the change in status of Msunduzi. The board will continue to monitor these and other developments.”

Opposition parties in the Msunduzi Municipality condemned any delay in Pietermaritzburg getting metro status by 2011.

DA councillor Rodger Ashe said the city would lose out on major benefits if it does not become a metro in 2011.

“It’s wrong for the ANC to put party politics before the people of Pietermaritzburg,” said Ashe.

IFP councillor Dolo Zondi said it would be most unfortunate if the city did not become a metro in 2011 as the demarcation board has already approved this. Infighting is hampering progress and the city would lose out on major developments if the metro is delayed, said Zondi.

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