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DA cries foul in Midvaal merger

After an announcement by the Municipal Demarcation Board, Midvaal may soon fall under ANC rule.

File: Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zillle is greeted by supporters during Freedom Day Celebrations on Saturday, 27 April 2013. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday said the public participation process was flawed with regards to the Midvaal Municipality merger with the Emfuleni and Sedibeng Councils, which are led by the ANC.

On Wednesday, the chair of the Municipal Demarcation Board Landiwe Mahlangu announced 157 new boundaries, including the controversial amalgamation of the municipalities.

The merger will be gazetted on Thursday but the party is now formally objecting.

In one month, Midvaal may fall under ANC rule.

DA leader Helen Zille is urging people to object in writing over the next month.

"We have many questions about those processes, I don't want to make any specific allegations now because we don't believe in the merging of boundaries of towns and cities for political purposes."

Meanwhile, the tripartite alliance of the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), has welcomed the merger and says it won't negatively affect service delivery, but will in fact improve it.

The DA has been fighting for years to keep its grip on Midvaal, which covers the town of Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, as it is the only one belonging to the opposition in the Gauteng province.

Last year, Gauteng's provincial government first submitted applications to merge the municipalities into a single metro last year.

In response, the DA's Midvaal Mayor Timothy Nast said the municipality did not meet the criteria for it to be classified as part of a metropolitan municipality.

He said Midvaal would be wiped out if the merger went ahead.

Fourteen wards would become three and rural areas forgotten, he said.

"We are going to have a single councillor serving one huge area which is totally unmanageable. We are saying that is not in the interest of local democracy."

The provincial department of local government and housing said the proposed merger is part of Gauteng's long term vision.

Department head Mongezi Mnyani said there was no political agenda for the plan.

"There is no agenda to downscale the area. We are doing this in the best interest of managing the