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Johannesburg - Residents in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape will have to apply to the Municipal Demarcation Board for their own stand-alone municipality, the Dispatch Online reported on Thursday.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi addressed the residents at the Bensonville College Stadium on Wednesday.
“According to your leaders, you are demanding a stand-alone municipality (and this) is informed by the fact that historically, even before we created the new municipality in the current dispensation, there was a municipality here,” said Baloyi.
Sterkspruit residents, under the banner of the Sterkspruit Civic Association, shut down the town for two weeks demanding a stand-alone municipality which is not part of the Senqu Municipality, which incorporates Lady Grey and Barkly East.
Other complaints related to lack of service delivery in Sterkspruit, and allegations of corruption and nepotism within the Senqu Municipality.
The fact that residents demanded to see the minister showed a connection between the government and the people, Baloyi added.
“But the government says that the responsibility for deciding which areas should have their own municipality and which should not, does not lie with the government,” the Dispatch Online quoted him saying.
“It is the responsibility of the demarcation board, which is an independent body that not even the government can control. These are the people you can make your demand to.”
He said there was not a single application lodged with the board for Sterkspruit to have its own municipality and encouraged the community to follow the correct processes and to apply.
“So apply. The demarcation board is ready to receive your application. The government does not deal with these issues and therefore we have to agree that sense will prevail.”
The Dispatch Online reported that Baloyi was booed by residents.