DA: ANC ignores wishes of the people of Matatiele
KwaZulu-Natal opposition parties on Wednesday accused the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of ignoring the wishes of the residents of Matatiele and forging ahead with the district’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) accused the ANC of “totally ignoring the wishes of the people of Matatiele Maluti”, while an Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) statement described recent public hearings on the incorporation as “a farce”.
The criticisms came shortly after the conclusion of a KwaZulu-Natal provincial local government portfolio committee became deadlocked along party lines on the controversial Constitution 13th Amendment Bill.
The five ANC members of the committee voted in favour of the Bill while the opposition parties—three IFP members, one DA member and one United Democratic Movement (UDM) member—voted against the Bill.
The chairperson of the committee, the ANC’s Mbuso Khubeka, cast the deciding vote in favour of the Bill.
The portfolio committee meeting on Wednesday followed public hearings on Tuesday when more than 3 000 people converged on the Matatiele Soccer Stadium to air their views.
IFP local government spokesperson Bonga Mdletshe said: “The message of the public hearings is clear. The majority of the people of Matatiele want to stay in KwaZulu-Natal and reject the demarcation legislation that is consigning them to the Eastern Cape.”
He accused the ANC of having already decided the region’s fate before the public hearings.
“What is the point of going to the trouble and expense of public hearings when the ruling party has already made up its mind and when it will disregard the outcome anyway?”
The DA’s KwaZulu-Natal caucus leader, Roger Burrows, said: “I feel so sorry for the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
“Despite the fact that the overwhelming response received at public hearings was in favour of being in KwaZulu-Natal, the KwaZulu-Natal ANC have obeyed their master’s voice, shut their eyes and ears to the pleading of the people, and possibly damned them to a Khutsong fate, or worse.”
He said that the committee had received more than 5 000 signatures on a petition in favour of the district staying within KwaZulu-Natal and only 80 signatures in favour of the district’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape.
Khubeka confirmed that the committee had deadlocked “along party lines” and that he had to make the deciding vote.
On Thursday the KwaZulu-Natal legislature will vote on the Bill.
The DA, the IFP the UDM are all expected to vote against the Bill.
The ruling ANC is expected to vote in favour of the Bill as is the Minority Front.
It is not clear whether the African Christian Democratic Party and the National Democratic Convention will support the Bill. The ANC commands a slim majority in the legislature.
Khubeka said that should the Bill be passed then it would be sent to the National Council of Provinces for approval.—Sapa