District wants in on metro

2008-06-17 00:00

The uMgungundlovu District Municipality and the six municipalities under it made an impassioned plea yesterday for the boundaries of the proposed Msunduzi Metro to be extended to include the entire district.

The district’s acting municipal manager, Sbu Khuzwayo, reminded the Demarcation Board of the political tensions over boundaries in Khutsong, which was moved from Gauteng to North West province.

Earlier, district Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said his counci’s submission is based on addressing poverty in the area, and it wants to spread the economic benefits of metro status.

Khuzwayo said the proposed boundaries of the metro are small and future growth might be hampered by availability of residential and commercial land.

He said the district welcomes Msuduzi Municipality being a metro, but is asking for a boundary determination that will bring about transformation for the entire area.

The uMgungundlovu submission was endorsed by the mayors of uMngeni, uMshwati, Mpofana, Impendle, Mkhambathini and Richmond — the other six municipalities. Their request was made at a meeting with the Municpal Demarcation Board (MDC) called by Local Government MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.

The MEC said the provincial government is expected to express a view on the issue of Msunduzi’s metro status and the meeting was to help him garner opinions.

Economist Clive Coetzee said it does not make sense to have so many municipalities as this is not financially viable. However, he believed the process should not be rushed as more problems will be created and the issue of changing boundaries should be a long-term strategy for 2011 or 2012.

Both the Mkambathini Ratepayers’ Association and business chamber want a separate municipality, saying they pay a lower rates randage and get a better service from their municipality.

Presentations by ratepayers and business associations of Howick, Hilton and Nottingham Road support inclusion.

The Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business met yesterday to finalise its submission. Earlier, director Babu Baijoo said it wants the boundaries of the Msunduzi metro to include certain development nodes, rather than the entire district.

Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo said in her submission to the board that her council is not against changing the boundaries, noting that it applied for the metro to include uMngeni and Mkambathini.

MDB chairman Vuyo Mlokoti said they the board will consider the proposals. The board is working on a timetable to finalise all boundaries by August 2008 so the Independent Electoral Commission can work out voting areas ahead of the 2009 elections.

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