An ANC commission has adopted a proposal that the number of provinces in the country be reviewed, national executive member Nomaindia Mfeketo said on Friday.
“We made a concrete proposal at the policy conference Ä which was adopted Ä that we review, reduce and strengthen provinces, but what is more important in that recommendation is that this cannot be done through a thumb-suck,” she told reporters at the ANC policy conference in Midrand.
“The president needs to appoint a commission... with expertise to deliberate on how to demarcate the country 1/8and 3/8 what number of provinces do we need.”
She said that with provinces, the country would always have “issues about hanging on as a unitary state”.
According to a report earlier on Friday, the ANC commission at the conference agreed to reduce the number of provinces from nine to six.
Mfeketo said she had read the report, but that a decision would be made by a commission, which would be appointed by the president to review the number of provinces.
She said the process should be completed between 2015 and 2016.
Mfeketo said the commission to be appointed would have to take into consideration tribal boundaries when reviewing the provinces, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
“We are not going to be able to do away with tribal boundaries, but hope to tamper with apartheid boundaries... ,” she said.
Commission member Lynn Brown said the issue of single elections was discussed.
“Two commissions agreed that the current system of separate elections will be retained,” said Brown.
“But in the future, we will have a set 1/8of 3/8 studies done on why it should be left that way.”
She acknowledged that holding elections was expensive, but said that could not be the only reason to revert to a single election, instead of the currently separate local government and national government elections.
Mfeketo said the commission had also discussed the role of district councils.
“A district council can only exist where weak municipalities will never be financially viable,” she said.
Commission member Yunus Carrim said national and provincial government had to get more involved in municipalities.
“This creates a more integrated state,” he said.
“It's not ideological, it's practical.”
Carrim said a more integrated state would accelerate service delivery. - Sapa