Communities divided over Midvaal merger

2013-04-11 17:46

Vereeniging - Communities were divided on Thursday about plans to merge three Gauteng municipalities into a metro which will include Midvaal, the only DA-run municipality in the province.

Hundreds of residents filed into Vereeniging's town hall to attend and participate in a public consultation meeting on the proposed merger.

The proposal to merge the Midvaal, Emfuleni, and Sedibeng municipalities into a metropolitan municipality was first made last year.

The proposal also suggested that the Lesedi local municipality become part of the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality.

During Thursday's meeting, presentations were made by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB), concerned parties, and members of the public.

MDB chairman Landiwe Mahlangu said the board had come to listen to the people's views on the proposal.

"We have come here to listen. We, as the board, will digest and take in all the views that were made."

Midvaal mayor Timothy Nast told the crowd the metro would have a negative effect on his municipality.

He said a large financial institution had said it would turn down a loan application by Midvaal if the merger took place.

"You are creating a bankrupt and unviable metro," Nast said.

If the board approved the proposal, the municipality would object and would be willing to go to court.

Sedibeng mayor Simon Mofokeng was in favour of the proposal.

He said the economy of South Africa was no longer sectoral and should be unified.

Collaboration would benefit everyone living in the area.

"If we can work as a team... there will be growth and development."

He said decision-making would be easier if the three municipalities merged, as there would be only one mayor and council.

"That's why there should be a metro."

He said that whether the board decided for or against the proposal, the municipality would continue to focus on service delivery.

"For us, the metro is about service delivery."

Civil unrest

Council members, political parties, and members of the public were also vocal about the merger. Some praised the idea and others said it would be disastrous.

The crowd cheered or heckled the speakers who stepped up to express their views on the metro.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions and the SA Youth Council said the merger was overdue.

The Congress of the People said the management of Midvaal's services could be hampered if it was incorporated into a metro where management was poor.

The Freedom Front Plus said civil unrest could take place if poor service delivery in the region continued.

The Democratic Alliance argued that consultations had not been sufficiently broad or inclusive, and urged the board to hold a meeting in the Midvaal and the Ekurhuleni municipalities.

Midvaal councillor Dennis Ryder contended the municipalities did not qualify to become a metro.

"We are a rural area. This is farmland. We aren't densely populated," he told the board.

The criteria for a metro included a dense population.

"There is no way we should be a metro," he said.

African National Congress regional secretary Bob Mthembu disagreed.

He said that with a metro and only one council, the money usually spent on paying individual municipal leaders could go towards service delivery.

Mthembu believed the DA-led Midvaal's reason for objecting to a metro was political.

"The reason Midvaal does not want to become part of a metro is primarily because they want to protect their political terrain."

The board said the decision on municipal boundaries had to be made by August, as the information would have to be passed to the Independent Electoral Commission for elections.

"We hope to complete this process by August. We will definitely have a decision by then," Mahlangu said.

He said if a merger took place, it would be fully effective only in 2016, when the next local government elections were due.

  • Francois Smith - 2013-04-11 18:06

    It will be ironic if they merge and the DA wins the Super Metropole and the DA's province wins the S15. I think the DA's chances in the Super Metropoles are better.

      NickvanGraan - 2013-04-11 18:42

      Its funny to think that all this head scratching by the ANC has nothing to do with offering people better service delivery, but rather finding ways of getting Midvaal back into their clutches.

  • Johan Retief - 2013-04-11 18:14

    I won't mind a merger if it is done on equal footing. In other words, if all three have separate clean audit reports, go ahead. Otherwise, delay the merger until this happens. We are talking what is best for the residents and businesses, not the DA or ANC.

      Wilhelm Wolfgang de Beer - 2013-04-11 18:51

      I fear this is a political move by the ANC to oust the DA from Gauteng, It appears that the ANC is merging two if its run municipalities with the DA run Midvaal to form a 'Metro' where they will have majority of the votes. This is just my theory tho, as I do hope I am wrong. Another problem I have is this; met·ro·pol·i·tan, Adjective. Of or constituting a large city or urbanized area, including adjacent suburbs and towns. I have an extra dictionary at home if the ANC would like to borrow it...

  • Bart Onderweegs - 2013-04-11 18:18

    I think it is a bad proposal, apart from party politics. Bigger isn't better as far as adequate managing things is concerned, This has been proven around the world. bigger means more difficulties. Being a hospital, a City, or whatever. Bigger means people cannot oversee it anymore. I for one, believe in the strength of small.

  • Adrian van der Merwe - 2013-04-11 18:19

    Burn and loot that is the only language the ANC understands!

  • attie.tredoux - 2013-04-11 18:59

    The proposed merger is stupid? Before 1994 autonomous local authorities were able to manage their areas of jurisdiction. However the ANC politicized the whole country for its own greedy and selfish purpose no matter of the consequences.

  • Dave Ducker - 2013-04-11 19:06

    Yep they done the Same in Hilton, divided it between Howick and Sweetwaters, went from profitable to bang in about 3 months!!

  • JudithNkwe - 2013-04-11 19:08

    The Sedibeng Waste Water Works don't work and Sebokeng and Boipatong have sewage running and standing in their streets. Sedibeng and Emfuleni are non-functional municipalities. I've been there and seen what is going on. It would serve them right if the merger went ahead and the ANC was replaced

  • Tiaan Van der Berg - 2013-04-11 19:34


  • Seun Mogotji - 2013-04-11 20:10

    The proposed merger is stupid? Before 1994 autonomous local authorities were able to manage their areas of jurisdiction. However the ANC politicized the whole country for its own greedy and selfish purpose no matter of the consequences.

  • Anthony Richardson - 2013-04-11 20:18

    This has nothing to do with improving service delivery, Sedibeng and Emfuleni are disfunctional at best. Midvaal works because there is little evidence of corruption and ratepayers money is put to good usem things work, things get fixed when they are broken. That's why Midvaal can attract commercial invesstment into the area whilst the others can't. Have you seen the growth in the R59 corridor recently? That's what good governance can do, attract investment and create jobs. It will be a sorry day if this merger does go ahead, mark my words

  • Anthony Kikoba - 2013-04-11 20:21

    People are no longer dupe! if one has time, just stroll in Meyerton thereafter do the same in Vereeniging then you will have a clear idea of Who is what!

  • Anthony Mark Bird - 2013-04-11 20:27

    LET'S SEE... The cANCer rep says a metro will result in one council with one mayor etc etc so more money available for service delivery! Yeah right like there has been service delivery anywhere in Sa by the cANCer, they only sevice delivery they understand is money going into their pockets! For the rate paying citizens, a metro will only resut in higher rates and taxes so even less money in your pocket! Isnt strange how since 1994 when the cANCer was elected into government everything has become more expensive - fuel, electricity, road taxes, all other taxes including some new ones and the avergae citizen is struggling to survive whilst the cANCer cadres are drinking Chivas Regal and Johanny Walker blue Label Whiskey! Some thing very wrong with this picture and my opinion is that a merger will be an enormous mistake that all will only realise years after the merger.

      DezLee - 2013-04-12 11:02

      So now the cANCer is to be blamed for wold economics as well? Pre-1994 prices were purposely deflated to cater for a small group of the population. Look at electricity, South Africans (those who did receive it) paid of the lowest prices in the world..not because production was cheap, but because slave labour wages was cheap.

  • pws69 - 2013-04-12 07:45

    The other two municipalities are dysfunctional and insolvent. The ANC needs the money that the DA run Midvaal has, simply to survive a short while longer. Midvaal is the ONLY municipality to get a higher service delivery rating than provincial or national government in the country.

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