DA set to put a stop to Municipal Mergers

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg – The High Court in Pretoria is expected to hear the Democratic Alliance’s urgent application to stop the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) from merging 46 municipalities around the country.

The application was happening in two stages, the DA’s James Selfe said.

“The one is to interdict the demarcation board and the [Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa] from demarcating inner-boundary wards and preparing voters’ rolls for those wards pending the review.

“The review application will be heard slightly later and is an application to review and set aside the decisions taken on this round of outer-boundary municipal demarcations.”

The municipalities were in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West provinces.

The MDB handed over the first batch of final municipal ward boundaries for the 2016 local government elections to the IEC last month.

Selfe said the matter was expected to be heard later this month.

The MDB said it filed a notice of intention to oppose the application on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Bulelwa Mbali-Khoele said the matter was sub judice and the board would respect the court process until it was finalised.

The DA has implied there were some “political considerations” when it came to the MDB’s decision.

The ANC labelled the DA’s court action as an “electioneering gimmick”.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa rejected the allegation that the board was co-opted by the governing party.

“In the absence of a logical and convincing argument, it is not surprising the DA would resort to slanderous accusations to tarnish the image and standing of the demarcations board,” he said.

“Many municipalities have merged to consolidate their revenue base and to address the problem of non-viable municipalities to ensure communities in those municipalities are not left behind in terms of the delivery of basic services.”

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