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AIC awaits ANC's report on Matatiele

Politics
Johannesburg – The African Independent Congress (AIC) is expecting a report from the governing African National Congress (ANC) next month on the way forward regarding the incorporation of Matatiele back into KwaZulu-Natal.

AIC spokesman Aubrey Mhlongo said on Tuesday that the report would be presented by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, who led the talks between the two parties.

"Minister Radebe will on March 15 give the report on developments on this issue at Cogta Department [Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs], and then the bill, once approved, would be presented in the National Assembly and then ratified by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). We did tell the ANC that the coalitions at municipalities will collapse should they not deliver on their commitment," Mhlongo said.

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File photo: Ian Landsberg

His party demanded to have Matatiele re-incorporated back into KwaZulu-Natal from the Eastern Cape as part of its set of conditions for the coalition with the ANC in Gauteng's Ekurhuleni metro and Rustenburg in the North West, after last year's highly contested local government elections.

Matatiele was moved from KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape in 2005, and the AIC was formed in December that year amid a dispute over the municipal boundary.

The party was formed by former ANC members with the express aim of contesting the 2006 local government elections in a bid to have Matatiele's incorporation reversed. While the AIC failed to get Matatiele reincorporated, the party has had staying power.

In that initial 2006 local government elections it picked up 10 seats and 19 856 votes – all of which were in Matatiele.

Apart from its success in municipal elections, it has managed to get three members elected to Parliament, as well as a member elected to the Eastern Cape legislature.

Mhlongo said his party was pleased with progress of talks with the ANC, and March as the deadline month to shift gears and have Matatiele reincorporated.

The parties' last meeting was on January 24. "We have agreed on timelines and a road map, we should know by March 31 as to when the bill would be tabled in the National Assembly where a two-thirds majority vote would be required for it to go through."

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