“These are actions of desperation that are aimed at denying development, and to frustrate the area of Midvaal, Emfuleni [and] Sedibeng to grow to its full potential and address the spatial inequalities in the process,” MDB chairman Landiwe Mahlangu said in a statement.
“The stance taken by [DA spokesman] Mmusi Maimane and others of his ilk is in our view selfish, parochial, and [I] doubt if it is equally supported in the area and within the DA itself.” Mahlangu said the DA was on a campaign to damage the MDB’s reputation by using a series of “baseless, unfounded, and irresponsible actions and statements”.
On Wednesday, the DA called for Mahlangu’s resignation because he had a conflict of interest in municipal mergers. “We believe that this conflict could have had a serious impact on the outcome of the MDB’s decision to merge Midvaal municipality and Emfuleni municipality into a metro,” Maimane said in a statement.
The DA claimed Mahlangu was a non-executive member of the company Sea Kay Holdings, which was contracted by the housing department in 2008 to build 1500 houses in Emfuleni. It also claimed he was a non-executive member of a waste management company called Interwaste.
“According to Emfuleni’s 2012/13 annual report, Interwaste operates the Waldrift landfill site in Emfuleni municipality,” Maimane said. “The DA believes that this is a serious conflict of interest on behalf of the MDB chair and that his decision-making process is questionable by virtue of these two positions.”
He charged that it was unethical for Mahlangu to make decisions about merging municipalities in which he had business interests. “Mr Mahlangu should at the very least have recused himself from the decision to merge these municipalities due to the lucrative business interests he holds,” Maimane said.
Mahlangu said he resigned from his position as independent non-executive chairman of Sea Kay Holdings in July 2012 after being appointed in December 2010. He said he was appointed independent non-executive director of the Interwaste Holdings Group in October last year and claimed not to have any shares or any financial interest in his capacity in the company.
The announcement of the merger of Emfuleni, Midvaal, and Sedibeng into a metro was made last Tuesday. The Emfuleni municipality incorporates Vanderbijlpark and Sebokeng. Midvaal includes Meyerton and Randvaal. Sedibeng covers Heidelberg and Ratanda.
Maimane said the DA was seeking legal opinion on reviewing the decision to merge the municipalities. The Freedom Front Plus said the merger should be scrapped following the allegations about Mahlangu.
Mahlangu said no decision would ever be taken by an individual on matters of national interest and that the board members had been appointed based on their knowledge, experience and expertise in local government.
“Now is the time for everyone to focus on transition measures to ensure that the new metropolitan municipality of Emfuleni, Midvaal, and Sedibeng functions from day one,” Mahlangu said.