Matatiele still want to be part of KZN

2008-09-16 00:00

The KZN Legislature is to contest the town of Matatiele’s most recent application to the Constitutional Court to overturn its incorporation into the Eastern Cape.

This is in contrast with the experience of Khutsong, where the new ANC leadership are backing the move to have the area returned to Gauteng.

The Matatiele application is based on the premise that the KZN provincial parliament ignored the fact that the majority of people voted against being part of the Eastern Cape during public consultation hearings held in October last year.

Mandla Gallo of the Matatiele mass action organising committee (Maoc) said the KZN Legislature was welcome to oppose the application, but he did not believe they had a leg to stand on as the votes clearly showed that there were 686 people who voted against incorporation and 80 for.

Gallo added that they felt bereft that Khutsong now had the support of the ANC, while Matatiele still had a fight on its hands. He also warned ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe not to be mislead by the Eastern Cape government.

“We have been informed that he is being told that people living in the surrounding rural areas of Matatiele are happy to be part of the Eastern Cape, and that it is only the people in the town who are resisting incorporation.

“We want to warn Mantashe not to fall into this trap. He needs to get the report of the hearings and check the facts. He will find that the people resisting are those from the rural areas as well.”

He said people tried to raise the matter when President Thabo Mbeki visited Matatiele over the weekend, but were told by the premier of the Eastern Cape that the matter was sub judice because of the pending court case.

“They always say the matter is sub judice when they don’t want to address the issue. We will not give up our struggle, we have fought this issue in a peaceful and orderly way using the institutions at our disposal and will continue to do so,” said Gallo.

The Democratic Alliance issued a statement saying they opposed the decision by the ANC-led provincial parliament to contest the Matatiele community’s application to the Constitutional Court and supports the community’s efforts to be re-incorporated into KZN.

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