Govt initiating further talks with Moutse, Matatiele residents

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is in the process of initiating further consultations with the communities of Matatiele and Moutse in Limpopo to assist government in the re-determination of their borders.

Moutse was incorporated into Limpopo from Mpumalanga by the Municipal Demarcation Board in 2006. Since then, residents have been embarking on marches demanding that the Elias Motsoaledi Municipality and five other wards should be reincorporated back into Mpumalanga.

In Matatiele, residents are demanding to be incorporated back into KwaZulu-Natal.

According to the Ministerial Media Liaison Officer, Vuyelwa Qinga Vika, a national task team, led by the department, provincial government departments, municipalities and traditional leadership, has been set up to drive the process.

"The team has been meeting on a regular basis since the beginning of July," she said, adding that the department expects the process to be completed in September, after which a report will be submitted to Cabinet for a decision on the issue.

Ms Qinga Vika said the initiative to further engage the affected community on the cross border demarcation is in line with Cabinet's decision of April, where the department was instructed to go back and test the views of the people in those areas before a decision of where their boundaries would lie was made.

"A critical difference of the current exercise from the previous one is that the views of the locals as "citizens" rather than as a "constituency" will be tested," she said.

The Cabinet's view was that the previous process was not sufficient to resolve the boundary disputes.

To achieve the objective of the exercise, the department aims to embark on consultative processes on a village-by-village or ward-by ward basis in both towns.

"This will also include maximum participation of residents in both Moutse and Matatiele to be ensured," Ms Qinga Vika said, adding that efforts will be made to ensure that the process enjoys wide legitimacy among those who will be participating.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Voters Roll in the recent General Elections will be used to check the residency of the villagers, but if a person does not appear, other means of validating residency will be applicable.