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Residents reject municipal merger

Zamdela - The mooted merger of the Metsimaholo and Ngwathe local municipalities in the Free State will never happen, a residents' association said on Wednesday.

Lucky Malebo, chairman of the Metsimaholo Concerned Residents, said they would not allow any merger processes to go ahead.

Zamdela township residents in Sasolburg protest against municipal demarcation plans. Photo: x_2_zee/ Twitter. Credit: x_2_zee/ Twitter

He was addressing a joint briefing by the residents' association and the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) in Pretoria.

“Before the submission (to merge the municipalities) we were supposed to be consulted, by law. That first step was violated and the whole process falls apart.

“At the end, it doesn’t matter whether the board says we merge or we don’t. We as the residents say we don’t merge. We are saying this matter will not happen, no ways.”

Violent protests broke out two weeks ago in Sasolburg's Zamdela township against the proposed merger.

Four people were killed, and several others, including two police officers, were injured. More than 200 people were arrested. There was substantial damage to property.

MDB chairman Landiwe Mahlangu said his organisation would probe the processes around the proposed merger instituted by the Free State government.

“Before the board can take a decision on reconsidering any municipalities, there are a number of factors to be considered. We are not desperate to amalgamate municipalities at the cost of the welfare of the residents,” Mahlangu said.

“The reasons given (for the proposed merger) were along the lines that merged municipalities were going to function much better. I can confirm it (the proposal) was done by the province and the district,” he said. - Sapa

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