Fred Nel MPL
Spokesperson on Local Government
The DA welcomes the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) decision to consult communities living in Midvaal (Meyerton), Emfuleni (Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark) and Lesedi (Heidelberg) about proposed changes to their municipal boundaries and municipal status. This is a step in the right direction.
The MDB proposals seek to merge the DA-run Midvaal with Emfuleni to form a new metropolitan municipality, dissolving Sedibeng district municipality and incorporating Lesedi into Ekurhuleni.
The DA opposes these proposals as there are no concrete reasons for merging these municipalities. These municipalities are indeed viable to exist on their own, but the internal management of Emfuleni and Lesedi needs to be improved.
The MDB has not indicated what the reasons for their proposals are or how the proposed mergers will improve the state of local government in the Sedibeng region. We hope that during this consultation process the MDB would put these facts on the table.
The DA calls on the MDB to widely advertise the meeting to be held on 11 April in the Vereeniging City Hall and to take the inputs from residents seriously. Previously the MDB hardly ever listened to communities if it disagreed with its proposals at this stage of the process. The recent protests in Zamdela were as a result of communities fearing imposed demarcation upon them by the MDB.
The purpose of municipal demarcation should be to promote efficient and effective local government and not to pursue ulterior political motives as the case may be with the proposed changes to effectively get rid of Midvaal which is arguably the best run municipality in Gauteng.
The MDB has a huge challenge ahead of itself in order to restore its credibility as an independent body.