Durban - The ANC in eThekwini has come out against the Municipal Demarcation Board’s controversial proposal that the eThekwini municipality cede large tracts of land on its northern boundary, including King Shaka International Airport and the Dube TradePort, to the KwaDukuza local municipality.
The ANC’s eThekwini regional secretary, Bheki Ntshangase, said the party’s official position was that it was opposed to eThekwini’s ceding of any wards.
The party held its regional general council meeting at the weekend, during which a decision on the matter was made.
“We consulted with affected branches in the north and we concluded that we do not agree with the airport and some wards in the north being moved from eThekwini,” he said.
Ntshangase said the party wanted to avoid a possible catastrophe similar to those experienced in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
Similar moves to cede Moutse from Mpumalanga to Limpopo and Khutsong from Gauteng to the North West resulted in people not voting in the 2006 local government elections.
Khutsong was reintegrated with Gauteng before the 2009 elections. Moutse is still part of Limpopo, against the will of residents.
“With our status as a metro it is impossible for eThekwini to let go of the airport as it is a major revenue generator,” he said.
Ntshangase said the party had held meetings with residents to explain all major development projects in the pipeline.
Thabo Mofokeng, eThekwini’s municipal spokesman, said the municipality was also against ceding wards 58, 60, 61 and 62, which included Tongaat and Verulam, to the iLembe and KwaDukuza municipalities.
He said the municipal manager, S’bu Sithole, and the mayor, James Nxumalo, had made their submissions during public hearings.
The public has until December 10 to make written submissions to the Municipal Demarcation Board on the proposed changes to the eThekwini boundaries.
The iLembe district municipality wants prime ratepaying areas such as Dube TradePort and King Shaka International Airport to be incorporated into the KwaDukuza municipality instead of eThekwini.
The board, which is responsible for determining municipal boundaries, has received proposals from traditional leaders and the Department of Co-operative Governance to have large portions of traditional areas to the south and west of Durban incorporated into the eThekwini metro.
The tribal areas eThekwini stands to inherit include KwaXimba, Mgangeni, Enchobeni, KwaNdaya, Toyana and Maphumulo.
Sithole previously told The Mercury that the city had no objection, in principle, to the inclusion of large traditional areas in the municipality from the south and west of its current borders.
However, opposition parties in the city have warned that the city has a diminishing rates base and that the impact on ratepayers would be massive if the municipality inherited the tribal areas. - The Mercury