Speakers shouted down at border hearing

Residents of Merafong who want their municipality to remain a part of Gauteng shouted down speakers who wanted incorporation into the North West province at a public hearing in Carletonville on Friday, convened to hear views on a demarcation crisis in the area.

Among those who lobbied for incorporation into North West before the legislatures of both provinces was Bobo Ndlakuza, speaking for the African National Congress Youth League.

Those in favour of remaining part of Gauteng spoke of the province’s superior service delivery and economic power, their own contribution to Gauteng and Merafong’s proximity to Gauteng’s centres — and its remoteness from those in North West.

Carletonville, the principal town in Merafong, is 300km from North West’s capital, Mafikeng, and less than 100km from Johannesburg.

Gauteng is also on a rail route from Carletonville, the meeting heard.

Ndlakuza said: ”Merafong is better suited to the economic strategy of North West.”

Local Young Communist League chairperson Kgaile Senyane, who himself had been at the forefront of recent demarcation protests in Khutsong, a township outside Carletonville, said Ndlakuza had a personal agenda.

A handful of pro-North West speakers, also heavily censured by the crowd, were from the part of Merafong in North West that includes Fochville.

Unionists spoke of how being resident in Gauteng would offer workers better access to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

”It would be difficult for workers to consult the CCMA far away [from Gauteng], even from a [local] satellite office,” said Senene Mlukelai, representing the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

South African Communist Party speaker Jomo Mogale noted that the Stilfontein mining crisis saw ”no intervention from North West government”.

He also said that people in the Gauteng part of Merafong voted for Gauteng politicians, not those in North West.

Ntsikelelo Ngokuhlwa, from the Azania People’s Organisation, pointed out to Merafong mayor Des van Rooyen that Merafong is an underperforming municipality.

”Put an underperforming municipality into an underperforming province [North West] and it will be a disaster.”

Masilo Tampe, representing the Congress of South African Students, said Gauteng is a progressive province that empowers learners and educators. — Sapa

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