Municipal demarcation board: chairman answers questions on rethink

2009-10-19 00:00

MUNICIPAL Demarcation Board chairman Landiwe Mahlangu answers the Witness’s questions on the rethink over Msunduzi’s metro status.

Q: Can the demarcation process be re-opened at this late stage, since Msunduzi was expecting to have metro status by 2011?

A: Circumstances warranted the matter be re-opened, as it was clear the matter was standing in the way of other important developments in KwaZulu-Natal, such as the publication of the number of councillors and delimitation of wards for the 2011 local government elections. KZN remains the only province that doesn’t have a number of councillors for the 2011 local government elections.

Q: What aspect of the KZN MEC’s submission requesting the board to reconsider its decision convinced the board to re-visit the process?

A: The board’s position is tht the redetermination of a metro in the area will be an incremental process starting with Msunduzi at its current boundaries. The provincial government on the other hand is of the view that if a metro is going to be declared, it must include the whole district of uMgungundlovu. The KZN government is in favour of a big-bang approach, not an incremental one.

The differences between the the board and the KZN provincial government are more about the initial boundaries of the proposed metro. The board remains convinced that declaring the whole of the district as a metro would not be in terms of the criteria as outlined in legislation, and in terms of internationally accepted definitions of what a metro is, the board has decided to call for submissions on the matter in order to allow the public to register their views and for the board to finalise the matter in whatever direction.

The board will also take into account the proposed changes in the reconfiguration of municipalities in the province and the mooted revision of a two-tier system of local government.

Q: A lot of time and money was spent on the process the first time around; is it not a waste of taxpayer’s money to go through it again?

A: The board believes the only way in which the matter can be resolved once and for all is by testing public opinion on the MEC’s request, and money spent in this regard will not be wasted as it would clarify the disagreement between the board and the KZN government on this matter.

Q: Has the board done an about-turn due to political pressure? Will this latest consultation turn out to be window-dressing and the end result be Msunduzi not getting metro status by 2011?

A: The board will not bow to any political pressure on the matter, and this process is not window-dressing. The process going forward will remain transparent and we will keep the public and all stakeholders fully informed of all developments. The process going forward and the decisions of the board on this matter will be fully open to public scrutiny.

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