Matat’s demarcation discussed

2018-03-02 06:00
Gabriel Marais, the Griqua traditional chair, speaks at a public hearing held in Kokstad.PHOTO: siphelele nketo

Gabriel Marais, the Griqua traditional chair, speaks at a public hearing held in Kokstad.PHOTO: siphelele nketo

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THE relocation of Matatiele town and its rural areas from Eastern Cape Province back to KwaZulu-Natal is being discussed with all those it may affect. This comes after the government conducted public hearings to get the views of people about the matter.

Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Sipho Gcabashe, Jomo Sibiya, Cyril Xaba, Nontembeko Boyce, Francois Rodgers and Njabulo Mlaba, conducted public hearings in Kokstad last week and different views and expectations were raised.

People said that if Matatiele is relocated to KZN, it is most likely to be part of the Harry Gwala District Municipality and this will put more pressure on the government to pump more money into the district to improve services.

Some welcomed the proposal of relocating Matatiele back to KZN, saying this should be done before the general elections next year.

Others said the government must stop debating boundaries but should instead better the lives of people by focusing on development.

Last Friday, Matatiele Local Municipality speaker Nomasomi Mshuqwana told journalist that the council took a resolution not to support the proposal. “The Council resolved to reject the proposal,” said Mshuqwana.

In August 2016, the ANC lost power in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and Rustenburg Municipality. After a coalition agreement was signed between the ruling party and the African Independent Congress (AIC), those municipality were retained.

As a condition, the AIC wanted the ANC to facilitate the processes of relocating Matatiele back to KZN, build an agricultural college in Maluti and tar all gravel roads that connect Lesotho and South Africa.

At that media briefing, Mshuqwana said the deal was only for political purposes and not for the benefit of the people. She said that the ANC-led government never fought for provinces, but fought for a unitary South Africa.

AIC president Mandla Galo said the Council’s resolution of rejecting the proposal was not supported by all councillors. He welcomed the initiative of holding public hearings about the matter as many people want the proposal to be passed.

He warned that if the matter is not concluded by the end of May, the party will pull out of the coalition agreement. At the time of going to press, members of the Eastern Cape Legislature were expected to conduct public hearings in the Grenaker Hall in Ward 23 and the Maluti Civic Centre in Ward 1.

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