Steven Tau
2 minute read
7 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Team appointed to merge municipalities

Steven Tau

The African National Congress-led alliance in Gauteng has made it clear that it does not want the situation of no-go areas developing for certain politicians in the province.

A heavy police presence seen in Bekkersdal, 28 October 2013 in Westonaria. The informal settlement has recently been in the spotlight due to violent protests. Seven people appeared in the Westonaria magistrate court today (28 October 2013) after being arrested during protest action last week. Picture: Alaister Russell

This was in response to a warning from residents of Bekkersdal on the West Rand who said they will never allow Premier Nomvula Mokonyane back into the area, accusing her of being arrogant.

The residents also slated Mokonyane following the “dirty votes” remarks she made during her visit to the area, that was rocked recently by several violent protests.

Mokonyane had to be escorted out in a police nyala recently, after residents hurled stones at a local church she had visited.

Speaking to The Citizen on the sidelines of a media briefing on Bekkersdal yesterday, ANC provincial secretary David Makhura said they want all political parties, and leaders, in particular those who are deployed in government, to be able to move into any community to do their work.

“It is not right to have a situation like this,” he said.

Disgruntled residents have been demanding that the Westonaria Local Municipality, which Bekkersdal falls under, be placed under administration.

But, the leaders from the alliance strongly believe that would not be a solution.

Commenting on the declaration and road map agreed to by the alliance and community leaders, Makhura said the alliance has a common agreement with the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents’ Association that all West Rand local municipalities are not the best instrument for development, and therefore they must be merged into a single metro as a matter of urgency.

“Discussions with residents there have been taking place for some time now. Small municipalities will never be viable in an urban context,” Makhura said.

Trade union federation Cosatu’s provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile said a different approach was needed to manage small municipalities that are not sustainable.

SA Communist Party deputy secretary Jacob Mamabolo said the Bekkersdal area was now a completely different environment following the ANC-led alliance’s political intervention.

In giving effect to the declaration clause in transitional arrangements, a high-level technical intervention team will be established to explore the best possible option in law to be followed in giving effect to the process of consolidating and merging of the West Rand municipalities into a single Metro.

The team which will be announced in the next 14 working days by Co-oporative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli.

The team will be expected to report to the minister, provincial MEC and the residents’ association on a regular basis.