Plans for municipal re-jigging

2013-04-04 00:00

A NUMBER of KwaZulu-Natal municipalities will be either amalgamated or disbanded while others will lose some of their wards and land to neighbouring municipalities, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced yesterday.

During a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday, chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu said the board was conducting formal inquiries and would hold public meetings with the affected municipalities.

This follows the board’s announcement last year of its intention to consider several boundary changes, when it invited written representations and views from the public. All the views and representations received had been considered, Mahlangu said.

While Msunduzi Municipality will not be severely affected by the development, certain municipalities will cease to exist, while others will lose wards and land to other local governments.

Msunduzi will lose two farms to uMngeni Municipality, which in turn will lose a portion of Sweetwaters south of Mbubu Road to Msunduzi.

Mahlangu said the process had the potential to be “extremely successful if all stakeholders participate actively”.

He encouraged stakeholders and municipalities to co-operate with the demarcation board during investigations and public meetings.

Mahlangu stressed the board needed to finish the determination of municipal boundaries by August so the Independent Electoral Commission could start preparing for elections next year.

The proposed redrawing of boundaries has been warmly received by political parties.

ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the ruling party had no problem with the proposals, especially mergers and disbanding of certain municipalities.

“Most of the municipalities have financial problems insofar as collecting revenue,” he said.

Indaka Municipality relies on Emnambithi for its financial viability. The same applies to Imbabazane, which receives services from Mtshezi.

Mtshezi Mayor Bongani Dlamini said the two municipalities were in close proximity in that their residents shared the same town.

“Our boundaries are too close, so merging the municipalities will improve service delivery. We also need to look at the rates base which is fundamental in the municipal revenue,” said Dlamini.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela said: “Generally the demarcation board looks at all aspects before taking a decision to amalgamate parts or the entire area. Whatever decision they take is for the benefit of all who are involved and affected.”

George Mari of the Democratic Alliance said: “One of the problems in the municipalities has been lack of skills and experience. Maybe through the mergers they can share skills and experience to provide services.”

However, Mari warned about gerrymandering with the amalgamations and mergers to serve political agendas. “We will watch that. We don’t want willy-nilly demarcation that will suit certain political parties,” he said.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube is due to comment after examining the latest proposals by the demarcation board.

Impact on other KZN municipalities

Amalgamation of Imbabazane and Umtshezi municipalities;

Amalgamation of Indaka and Emnambithi local municipalities;

Hlabisa Municipality to be absorbed into Big False Bay Local Municipality;

Certain wards of Ntambana to be moved to Mthinjane and Mfolozi municipalities;

Certain wards in Vulamehlo to be moved to eThekwini and Umdoni municipaities;

kwaSani and Ingwe municipalities to form a new council in Sisonke District;

Ezinqoleni Municipality to be absorbed by Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

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