Malamulele demarcation protests a societal matter: MDB

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The so-called Malamulele municipal demarcation protests seem to have been influenced by deep-seated, longstanding societal matters, which require sensitive leadership, says the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).

The chairperson of the MDB, Landiwe Mahlangu, told reporters on Thursday that while the board appreciated and empathised with the issues, grievances and aspirations of some community members in Malamulele, it was disappointed that the issues had been reduced to demarcation matters.

“The board cannot demarcate on political and poverty issues. It seems that they are deep-seated, longstanding societal matters, which require sensitive leadership and responsible political management.

“I do trust that the leadership at all levels will rise to the occasion and address this matter. As the board, we will remain engaged and provide support and advice wherever we can as an institution within the confines of our mandate,” he said.

Last month, a municipal demarcation protest flared up and later turned violent in Malamulele, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, where residents were demanding to be separated from the Thulamela municipality and have their own municipality.

The Public Works regional offices were completely torched, including five vehicles and one grader, while the local Masingita shopping complex had been completely looted.

Mahlangu said when South Africa became democratic country, one of the choices made was to do away with the Homeland and Bantustan system, whose boundaries were dysfunctional and merely served to fragment and divide society.

He said the National Development Plan (NDP) reinforces the need to reverse the apartheid spatial legacy by reducing attended inefficiencies, increasing densification and integration of the economies.

“One of the key roles of the board is to change the apartheid spatial geography and municipal landscape into one that is integrated, cohesive and developmental.”

Objections received by the board

Mahlangu said the board has received a number of objections on municipal demarcations from all over the country. However, most of them are from Gauteng, where there is a proposal for the amalgamation of Midvaal, Emfuleni local municipalities and the Sedibeng District Municipality to establish a single category A municipality.

The board received a total of 9 833 objections, with Gauteng leading with 9 792, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 17, Eastern Cape 16, Northern Cape two and one objection from both Limpopo and the Western Cape.

Mahlangu said they were at the end of the redetermination of municipal boundaries process phase following the 30 days opportunity for interested stakeholders to submit their objections to the cases published in the respective provincial gazettes, in terms of section 21 notices.

The 30 days ended on September 16, and according to Mahlangu, there will be no extension of the deadline.

“We’ve now reached the end of the cycle of the redetermination of municipal boundaries. The final leg of this phase will be the final determination of the board of these cases.

“The volume of the objections does not matter. What is important is the quality, substance and facts that would play a key role when the board considers its final determination, which may include varying, confirming or withdrawing its decision on a particular case,” he said.

Mahlangu said the board will be meeting soon to consider the objections that have been submitted and make final determinations, and the final decisions will be communicated to the concerned stakeholders by the CEO Gabi Gumbi-Masilela.

The next cycle will be delimitations of wards, which will be another consultative process with the affected stakeholders.

He said the consultation process will start now until 2015 in preparation for the 2016 local government elections. -

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