Resistance to bid to cut provinces

2012-12-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The plans of some in the ANC to reduce the number of provinces have met strong resistance in Mpumalanga.

During policy discussions at Mpumalanga’s recent nomination conference in Middelburg, most branch delegates agreed that the current number of provinces, and their demarcation, are correct.

Mpumalanga is one of the provinces that would, if rumours are true, be subsumed into another should reductions take place.

That would mean the loss of numerous civil service posts, and a whole legislature full of MPLs.

The motive behind the idea of reducing the number of provinces is often regarded as a bid to unseat the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape by joining it with the heavily ANC-supporting Eastern Cape, but the ANC denies this.

Constitutionally, it would be impossible to adjust the boundaries of the Western Cape without the approval of that province’s legislature.

In the policy document on governance structures that was accepted in June, the ANC dropped plans to hold the national, provincial and municipal elections on the same day in 2014, which would have meant holding municipal elections early.

Tough debate is expected at the Mangaung conference over the differentiation of service delivery mandates.

In essence, it is proposed the small municipalities with small rates bases cannot be expected to deliver the same level of services as larger cities.

There are wide differences of opinions on how such a system could be made to work.

Another question on the agenda is the future of district councils, which are seen by some as superfluous and by others as the providers of critical services in rural areas.

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