By Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson:
Representatives of the ANC on the West Rand continue to push for the formation of a new Metropolitan Municipality, despite those in higher office within their own structures admitting the municipalities in question are dysfunctional and bankrupt.
During the 2015/16 budget debate for his office, Gauteng Premier David Makhura clearly stated that: ”The merger of municipalities cannot be a panacea to poor management and poor leadership…”.
Furthermore, Section 24 of the Municipal Demarcation Act stipulates that when board re-determines a municipal boundary it must take into account:
- The provision of democratic and accountable government for local communities;
- The provision of services to these communities in an equitable and sustainable manner; and
- The promotion of social and economic development.
Research and factual evidence indicates that such mergers have a negative impact on service delivery and people’s quality of life.
Tshwane’s merger resulted in increased rates hikes, yet it still struggles with a debt burden of over R1 billion – and only received R20 million from national government towards the costs of the merger.
The West Rand will not be exempt from this process.
While some in the ANC claim that those opposed to the merger are missing an “opportunity to be futuristic”, the DA firmly believes that this merger will be severely detrimental for West Rand residents from all walks of life, that service delivery will further decline, and that the quality of life will suffer.
The DA’s objection to this merger proposes a future where the existing municipalities of Randfontein, Mogale City, Merafong and Westonaria are administered efficiently and cleanly by municipalities that are close them and readily available to serve their needs, and where residents are provided with equal opportunity to be the masters of their own future.