Team hears Matat woes

2009-01-21 00:00

Matatiele residents were offered a glimmer of hope at a packed public meeting yesterday, organised to find a way forward in their drawn-out fight for the town to once more become part of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mandla Galo of the Matatiele Mass Action Committee (MAOC) said various community representatives were able to make detailed presentations on why they wanted to be returned to KZN.

Their arguments were recorded by a task team sent by National Minister of Local Government Sicelo Shiceka. According to Galo, not one person at the meeting presented a case for Matatiele to remain in the Eastern Cape. He also commented that the town’s mayor was conspicuous by his absence.

The Witness tried to get hold of the mayor to find out why he was not at the meeting but did not succeed.

Yesterday’s meeting almost never took place after MAOC accused Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government, Thokozile Xhasa, of sabotaging the current effort to find a solution to the town’s demarcation saga.

The committee claimed that Xhasa only invited politicians and not MAOC, nor community representatives. Galo wrote to the national minister about the situation. “The next minute I received a call from the acting municipal manager apologising for the oversight and extending an invitation to the meeting,” he said.

MAOC took their fight for Matatiele to the Constitutional Court. In his replying papers to the court, Shiceka asked for a chance to engage with the people of Matatiele with the aim of trying to find an out of court settlement on the issue.

Shiceka then requested his Eastern Cape counterpart, Xhasa, to assist with arranging the meeting.

According to Galo. the task team after hearing their presentations said they would be compiling a report for Shiceka, they will also be meeting with the Municipal Demarcation Board and plan to have their recommendations ready to present to Shiceka by the end of this month.

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