West Rand Metro: Premier makes an about-turn on merger

By Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson:

Gauteng Premier David Makhura today made an about-turn on his previous position of the viability of a West Rand metro – instead singing the praises of the formation of a city region.

During question time in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today, the premier chose to toe the ANC line by claiming that the formation of a West Rand metro would be to the benefit of the people, and that it would be another step closer to the Gauteng City Region.

However, reality dictates otherwise, as one cannot expect one healthy and three lame horses to pull a cart as effectively as four healthy horses.

The fact is that one cannot fix poor performing municipalities by merging them into larger metropolitan areas without building the professional capacity of officials.

Instead of pushing for the establishment of a metro, the provincial government and district municipality should use the mandate of the Constitution and municipal legislation to assist municipalities where necessary – and improve service delivery and people’s quality of life.

Furthermore, the premier completely ignored the R1,5 billion outstanding debt burden and massive infrastructure decline in the four local municipalities, nor could he provide any guarantees over who foot the bill of streamlining and coordinating systems once the merge has been completed.

The Premier should have told the people of the West Rand that his government would first address poor accountability, lack of administration and poor financial management in the four municipalities.

The DA will continue with our efforts to ensure that service delivery and quality of life take precedence over poorly conceived ideas.

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