Metro for uMgungundlovu?

2013-03-08 00:00

THE uMgungundlovu District Municipality looks set to become South Africa’s ninth metro city. The announcement is expected soon.

Municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo told delegates at a district growth and development summit at the Royal Showgrounds yesterday that the Demarcartion Board was due to make an announcement on the district’s metro status in the next two to three months.

Expressing confidence in the outcome, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu urged delegates to consider the municipality’s metro status when planning. He said the district would become a metro in three to four years.

“The district development strategy will become the metro’s development strategy,” said Mabuyakhulu. He told delegates — who included municipal, business and civil society representatives — to plan together how the district will operate as a metro.

Khuzwayo said they were confident of a favourable outcome because ­uMgungundlovu’s seven constituent municipalities had given their support to the application for metro status.

Once the metro status was announced, the next step would be to dissolve the individual municipalities and amalgamate them.

“Such issues as the creation of new wards would have to be dealt with, as well as the number of councillors. All of this has to be sorted out by the next local government election due to take place in 2016,” said Khuzwayo.

District mayor Yusuf Bhamjee described the summit as historic, saying it represented the National Development Plan being put into action, with the three spheres of government working together.

“We will come up with a district plan going up to 2030. It will speak to the provincial plan, which in turn will fit in with the national plan.

“When we look back from 2030, a mere 17 years away, we should be able to say that this was a turning point in the history of the Midlands region,” he said.

Economist Clive Coetzee noted that development along the N3 corridor was starting in the middle in the Mkhambathini Municipality.

“We had expected to start either in Durban or Pietermaritzburg and migrate outwards, but it is starting in the centre and we can see this in the number of warehouses coming up in the Camperdown area,” he said.

Frikkie Brooks, of the provincial planning commission, said the district needed to pay attention to agriculture.

“You are a key role player in agriculture in the province. Without you, our food security will be compromised.”

He urged the summit to pay attention to energy, which was one of the district’s biggest development constraints, as well as the land tied up in the Ingonyama Trust.

“You need to sit down and engage the trust,” he said.

The summit continues today.

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