Earlier thus year, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) called on the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to amalgamate or disestablish a large number of local municipalities in eight of the nine provinces in the country.
Apart from the substantial financial costs involved the re-demarcation of municipal boundaries come at the cost of access to local governance on the ground where, for example, in the Eastern Cape 12 municipalities are involved.
Seven local municipalities are proposed to be amalgamated with four larger municipalities and one with Buffalo City Metro.
This is after Minister Pravin Gordhan backtracked on his initial proposal by abandoning a plan to amalgamate four dysfunctional Eastern Cape municipalities. Had the plan gone ahead it would have worsened service delivery in these areas.
Should the MDB continue with the current amalgamations as proposed, the Eastern Cape will, in the 12 municipalities effected, lose 22 wards and 38 councillors according to a formula determined by the Minister.
The result will be that wards will become much larger in the Eastern Cape where distances already pose problems to access to service delivery.
Losing 38 councillors will also further exacerbate service delivery problems currently being experienced and residents in these effected municipalities will have little or no access to their elected representatives in the local councils.
Elza Van Lingen
DA Member of Parliament for Kouga
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