/ 15 October 2013

Gauteng municipal landscape set to change

Gauteng will expand with the addition of another metro.
Gauteng will expand with the addition of another metro. (Gallo)

The Municipal Demarcation Board announced on Tuesday, in Pretoria that Gauteng is set to get a new metro.

Board chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu told reporters the Emfuleni and Midvaal local municipalities and Sedibeng district municipality were interlinked.

"When an area starts to exhibit characteristics of high growth and there is evidence of an area becoming a hub of business, it has to be a category A municipality," he said.

The current and future growth prospects of the two local municipalities were taken into account when the decision was made.

He said the MDB had reached the final leg of its cycle and had made the final determination of the cases before it.

"In reaching its final determination the board was, by law, expected, based on objections received, to either vary, confirm, or withdraw its decision on a particular case," said Mahlangu.

The board had published 157 cases, and had received almost 10 000 objections, most of them from Gauteng.

Those from Gauteng included objections to the Mfuleni and Midvaal merger. However, Mahlangu said the objections were not based on merit, but were political.

"If we say we would like to hear objections and you come and say this thing will enable certain political [parties] to have control, you're not saying anything. We were looking at objections based on the criteria used," he said.

The decision angered Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, who travelled to Pretoria hoping to speak to Mahlangu, but was not allowed to enter the premises.

He claimed that from the onset it had been treated with "disdain and disregard".

The process used to go ahead with the merger did not comply with the demarcation act and the municipality would be taking the board to court, he said.

"Instructions have been given to file an urgent court interdict and we will be heading to court to fight it."

Baloyi told reporters that Midvaal residents did not want a metropolitan area. Mahlangu said that by 2016 there would be a reduction of 11 local municipalities and one district municipality.

Currently, there were 278 local, district and metropolitan municipalities.

KwaZulu-Natal was expected to be the most affected, with amalgamations expected to reduce the number of its municipalities from 61 to 54.

Mahlangu said the Independent Electoral Commission would be informed of the outcome of the board's final determination for it to assess its affects. – Sapa