The proposed Vaal Metro

Posted: 30/12/2013 in Politics

The decision to merge Midvaal and Emfuleni local municipalities into a metropolitan city which is under review by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) seems to have the Democratic Alliance (DA) on the edge.

Previously the party had objected to the amalgamation citing new metros as being much more expensive to run as officials, councillors and mayors are paid much more than in local municipalities as well as property, water and electricity rates likely to increase as a result of the merger.

The party has also not run short of accusing the ruling party of dirty tricks in trying to win the area which is the only municipality in Gauteng that is led by the DA.

DA, MPL John Moodey said, “The DA continues to oppose the establishment of a metro in the Vaal, simply because the proposal does not meet the criteria for such establishment. We have submitted objections to the relevant body; we have not ruled out taking legal action in whatever form is most appropriate.”

WHAT DOES A DECISION BY MUNICIPAL DEMARCATION BOARD MEAN OF GIVING MIDVAAL AND EMFULENI MERGER A METRO CATEGORY A STATUS
The proposed merger between ANC-run Emfuleni and Midvaal into a “category A” municipality has been on the cards since November last year

A total of 157 municipalities, including the Midvaal merger, fell in the category of boundary re-determinations.
When the Board determines a municipal boundary its objective must be to establish an area that would enable the municipality for that area to fulfil its constitutional obligations, including the provision of democratic and accountable government for the local communities and the promotion of social and economic development.

An area must have a single category A municipality if that area can reasonably be regarded as a conurbation featuring areas of high population density; extensive development and multiple business districts and industrial areas. This also includes a centre of economic activity with a complex and diverse economy; as well as having strong interdependent social and economic linkages between its constituent units.

MDB chairman Landiwe Mahlangu said after the list of re-determined municipal boundaries were published in the Government Gazette, objections should be filed within 30 days.

He further lambasted a group people who were bussed supposedly from Midvaal to picket and deliver objection letters at the Municipal Demarcation Board offices about the proposal amalgamating the Midvaal and Emfuleni local municipalities into forming a metropolitan municipality which is being considered by the Board.

“I am really surprised by this action. I acknowledge the democratic right of stakeholders to raise issues with the Board but that right has to be exercised within certain parameters, we are aware that the issue of municipal boundaries is an emotional one however, in executing our responsibility we are guided by legislation that provides guidelines on how to go about in re-determining boundaries.

“Decisions of the Board on the redetermination of municipal boundaries are not only influenced by one particular grouping but it is a combination of quality of inputs including our own investigations on the proposal at our disposal,” said Mahlangu.

WHY DID NAST RESIGN AND SUDDENLY ACCEPTS AN OFFER IN THE PREMIER’S OFFICE
Timothy Nast’s sudden resignation as the Mayor of Midvaal and his swift move to the Premier’s office is deemed as a “no surprise” and anticipated by opposition parties.

Nast, who has allegedly taken up a post at the Gauteng Planning Commission became mayor of the Midvaal in 2009, He was re-elected to the post in 2011.

“Midvaal municipality had been troubled by various allegations of corrupt officials in the past, and the Public Protector also referred to corrupt actions within the municipality. Although service delivery was good in Midvaal, the DA did not act when its members reported the alleged corruption years ago to both Provincial and National leaders,” says COPE spokesperson, MPL Hermène Koorts.

In a statement issued by the FF Plus, Midvaal Cllr. Corrie Pypers claimed Nast had no choice but to resign. Pypers said Nast’s resignation left the DA council divided and will have an effect on how management will be handled in the future.

“Nast was involved in the name change of a predominately Afrikaans school and instituted proceedings for the changes of various street and place names, similar to actions usually instituted by ANC controlled municipalities. It is therefore widely expected that Nast will be joining the ANC in due course,” concluded Pypers.

Moodey maintained Nast’s resignation as Mayor has not affected his affiliation to the DA. He went on to say that Nast informed the Party that he was looking for opportunities that would meet his long term aspirations. The opportunity presented itself and he took advantage of it.

Trade union federation Cosatu has condemned Nast’s appointment to the Gauteng planning commission. “We wish to indicate that this has not been canvassed with us or our views solicited on this matter. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the decision is reversed and for it to represent the interest of the poor and the working class than for it being the project of the elite and advantaged in our society,” said Cosatu Provincial Chairperson, Phutas Tseki.

WILL NEW MAYOR-ELECT BONGANI BALOYI BE ACCEPTED BY THE MIDVAAL’S WHITE FRATERNITY AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO BLACK PEOPLE IN THE AREA
“The DA is a multiracial party, there has been no claims of racism on the part of the DA that has ever been proven or substantiated. I do not believe that the Mayor Elect, Cllr. Baloyi’s race is reason for him not to be acceptable to any citizen of Midvaal. I have no doubt that he will prove to be a very competent Mayor. The majority of members of Electoral College, through a democratic process, elected him as the preferred candidate on the strength of his merits and not his race,” concluded Moodey.

ARTICLE: As published on VAAL TIMES (#1 Volume 1 – August 2013)

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