George Mari, MPP
DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA
The Democratic Alliance calls on KwaZulu-Natal’s COGTA MEC to ensure that proposed changes to the province’s municipal boundaries are not bulldozed through and to take the matter back to the public for further consultation. This after the Demarcation Board announced that it will gazette the alterations by the end of the week.
Given the many objections to the modification of certain municipal boundaries, the DA believes that the public of KwaZulu-Natal have a right to be consulted again.
According to the proposed changes, KwaZulu-Natal will see its number of municipalities reduced from 61 to 54 through mergers and amalgamations. The province is also likely to be the area most affected by any changes.
The DA in KZN has always made it clear that we will only support the altering of municipal boundaries when it stands to benefit the socio-economics of an area and where it will make a municipality more viable.
While the changes look good on paper, with weaker municipalities absorbed into those more financially viable and able to offer improved service delivery, the province has a duty to provide adequate gap funding so that one group of ratepayers does not end up subsidising another – an entirely unreasonable expectation.
The DA will study the proposed changes in the coming days. We will also be on the look-out for any attempt at gerrymandering ahead of the elections, which we will expose.
As an opposition party we are committed to monitoring the demarcation process in KwaZulu-Natal. We urge the MEC to engage with the public once more around this sensitive issue – their voices must be heard.