Fred Nel MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Local Government
The DA today handed Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) CEO Ms Gabusile Gumbi-Masilela a petition outlining the party’s opposition to the proposed inclusion of Lesedi Local Municipality into Ekurhuleni Metro.
The petition outlines the DA’s objection to the merger, arguing that it is not in the interests of the residents of Lesedi and will undermine effective service delivery, good governance and accessible, responsive and accountable local government.
The proposed merger raises the following significant concerns:
* The inclusion of Lesedi into Ekurhuleni will lead to deterioration in municipal service delivery as has happened in neighbouring Nigel. There is no guarantee that sufficient resources will be allocated to the area once included in the Metro;
* The reduction in the number of councillors due to the formula applied in Gauteng for the determination of municipal wards for metros will lead to a regression in service delivery. Fewer councillors will have to serve larger wards with more households. This is unfair towards the inhabitants of Lesedi;
* Residents will have to travel to Germiston or Kempton Park to engage meaningfully with the Ekurhuleni metro to resolve enquiries related to billing, city planning and other services. Currently all these services are available in Lesedi. This will especially affect poorer members of the community as they can’t afford these additional travel expenses. It also has an economic impact as the time that residents will have to spend to interact with their municipality will affect their economic productivity;
* Lesedi is a viable municipality that can exist on its own and locates government at the closest possible level to the people.
The DA sincerely hopes that the MDB CEO will give serious consideration to the concerns of the residents of Lesedi and that the consultation process with the community will be thorough and well-advertised to ensure that all have an opportunity to air their views.
The proposed merger directly affects the livelihood of residents, particularly those who are most dependent on the services rendered by local government.
The DA trusts that the MDB, in its consultation and deliberations, will place the highest value on the views and needs of the people of Lesedi.