Cabinet: More consultation on Moutse needed

The Moutse Demarcation Forum will not boycott next week’s elections after Cabinet announced on Thursday that further consultations were necessary before making any provincial boundary changes.

“The stakeholders met with [African National Congress secretary general] Gwede Mantashe last week and we agreed we are going to vote,” said forum spokesperson Seun Mogotji, who is also district secretary for the SA Communist Party in the area.

But, they would insist on a timeline so that the issue is not ignored.

“We are holding a rally on Saturday to celebrate [that] at long last government is listening to us. Three or four years back when we first started this issue, no one was responding,” he added.

In an earlier Cabinet briefing, it was announced that further consultations were necessary before a final decision was made on provincial boundary changes, such as in the Moutse area in Limpopo.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said Cabinet had discussed a report on the consultation processes with the communities of Moutse 1, 2, 3; Matatiele (Eastern Cape); and Ba Ga Mothibi (North West) regarding their choice of provinces.

The meeting had agreed that further consultations needed to take place with the affected communities before government made a final decision on the matter.

Although Cabinet was willing to review the decisions on provincial boundaries, further consultation was found to be necessary to ensure that a measure of consensus was reached in the affected areas to prevent further divisions in the communities.

The matter would be finalised by the next administration and the new Parliament at the end of the consultation process.

The change in provincial boundaries would also require changes to the Constitution.

A demarcation dispute in Merafong, west of Johannesburg, led to a boycott of the 2004 elections, with former ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota being booed when he visited the area to draw residents back into the election.

The Moutse dispute is already underway in the Constitutional Court but was postponed at its last sitting in March to await the outcome of the Cabinet report on new consultations by recently installed Local Government Minister Sicelo Shikeka.

After that ruling, Moutse residents said they would not vote, and did not want to be part of Limpopo.

The court will sit again on that matter on May 21, after the new administration has been installed.—Sapa

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