Parties split on proposed metro status

2012-10-22 00:00

THERE is a battle brewing at the city hall between the ANC and DA over the issue of supporting Umgungundlovu District Municipality’s (UMDM) application for metro status in 2016.

The matter was brought to the fore during the executive committee (Exco) meeting last week, where council was requested to support UMDM’s application, which will mean that if the district is awarded the metro status by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MCB), Msunduzi will be incorporated into the new metro.

However, DA Councillor Mergan Chetty put his foot down, saying that they cannot just agree to support the district’s application when the matter has never been discussed by the Exco before.

He told The Witness that the eThekwini Metro Municipality is already experiencing financial constraints due to its vastness.

Chetty’s objection to the entire district being a metro was in view “of the fact that we did not have a consultative process with the roleplayers, namely residents, ratepayers and business”.

He said the only consultation with residents was solely for Msunduzi Municipality to be awarded a metro status. “We had been awarded the metro status, but, only due to the ANC’s indecisiveness, it was withdrawn,” he added.

Chetty stressed that he wanted residents, ratepayers and businesses to be consulted because the decision to support the entire district being a metro will have an impact on their rates.

When the Exco reached a deadlock on the matter, ANC councillor Jabu Ngubo proposed that the matter be put on hold for the decision to be taken at full council.

Msunduzi Municipality manager Mxolisi Nkosi said it was in the best interest of the municipality to support the UMDM’s application, because Msunduzi had not applied for it and the MCB had closed applications in December last year.

He later told The Witness that the ANC caucus supports the application for the entire district to become a metro, while the DA only supports the idea of Msunduzi being a metro on its own.

“As the municipality we believe that it will be unfair to exclude people living in Impendle, Umshwathi, Mpofana and various other municipalities under the district because they do generate revenue for the municipality, as they travel on a daily basis to work in the city,” he said.

Nkosi said he suspects that the DA is opposed to this because their support base is largely in Msunduzi and Umngeni Municipalities. He suggested that it would not benefit them if the entire district was to become a metro.


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