Pretoria - No final decision has been made on the proposed amalgamation of the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe local municipalities, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) said on Friday.
“No final decision has been made on the demarcation. The community was not supposed to revolt. They were supposed to write to us and say 'we are not happy',” said MDB CEO Gabisile Gumbi-Masilela.
The proposed merger was published to enable the communities, political parties and individuals to see that the board had made a decision and to then make their contributions, she told reporters in Pretoria.
Gumbi-Masilela said people had assumed the merger had been finalised when they read about the proposal in the media, but this was not the case.
They still had an opportunity to oppose the board’s decision or to make their own proposals, she said.
On Thursday, the MDB met Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi to discuss the violent protests which led to the loss of lives and the destruction of property in Zamdela, Sasolburg, in the Free State, this week.
“The parties have agree to collaborate closely within their respective mandates to ensure a concerted effort towards the building of an effective and efficient local government system,” said MDB deputy chairwoman Nondumiso Gwayi.
Baloyi has established a demarcation process review task team to help him monitor and review the process which led to the situation in Zamdela.
Gwayi said Baloyi and the board had agreed to identify similar cases in other parts of the country which might show the potential for similar, violent protests.
“The board has reassured the minister that the process was in full compliance with the law and beyond reproach,” she said.
Gwayi said the demarcation process had just started and the amalgamation of municipalities had not been finalised.
She said the board would in future try to improve public participation processes, to enable communities to better understand them.
The consultation process on proposed re-demarcations started in June 2011.