Stakeholders speak about relocating Matatiele

2017-12-15 06:00
PHOTO: siphelele nketoAIC president Mandla Galo (left) at the stakeholder meeting, while Warren Smith from AIC holds the microphone.

PHOTO: siphelele nketoAIC president Mandla Galo (left) at the stakeholder meeting, while Warren Smith from AIC holds the microphone.

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AT a stakeholder meeting about Matatiele demarcation on Wednesday, some attendants wanted government to put services first and develop the town and its rural areas, not hold discussions about the issue.

The meeting was at the Matat town hall and chaired by the Matatiele Local Municipality Speaker, Nomasomi Mshuqwana.

Mshuqwana said it is the duty of the municipality to keep people informed about developments of relocating the town and its rural areas from Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.

She said she attended a meeting in Pretoria that was called by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs on October 12 and the matter of relocating the town was discussed.

The municipal demarcation board said at the meeting that municipal boundaries can be changed only if Parliament agrees to pass an act.

In 2006, Matatiele Local Municipality was demarcated from KZN to Eastern Cape and had only four wards, now it has 26.

Umzimkhulu was also demarcated from Eastern Cape to KZN.

Some Matatiele residents were disgruntled about moving from KZN to Eastern Cape, and as a result a new political party, African Independent Congress (AIC) was formed to fight the move.

After last year’s local government elections, the ruling party won the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan and Rustenburg municipalities after entering into a coalition with AIC, but under certain conditions.

The AIC wanted the ruling party to make easier the relocation of Matatiele back to KZN, build an agricultural college in Matatiele and tar all gravel roads leading to Lesotho.

The AIC warned that it will pull out of coalition if these conditions are not met.

AIC president, Mandla Galo, who attended with AIC members, said he is pleased about government’s process in demarcating the town to KZN.

“Government is playing with people of Matatiele because many want to go back to KZN,” said Tsietsi Lecheko from the taxi industry.

Reverend Xolani Qobo from Matatiele Council of Churches called on government to focus on development instead of holding debates about demarcation.

Matatiele Local Municipality said there are still many debates that will be held about the matter.

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