Demarcation board rejects proposal to merge DA-led uMngeni with neighbouring municipalities

10 January 2024 - 16:51
By Zimasa Matiwane
uMngeni mayor Chris Pappas
Image: Sandile Ndlovu uMngeni mayor Chris Pappas

The Municipal Demarcation Board rejected an ANC-backed proposal for the only DA-led municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to merge with two ANC-run councils.

The board concluded the proposal to merge DA-led uMngeni municipality with its two neighbouring ANC-led municipalities, Mpofana and Impendle, fails to meet the demarcation criteria and does not meet the threshold required for a category A or B municipality as provided in the Municipal Structures Act.

The DA won uMngeni in the 2021 local government elections and has since been perceived by some as a model of good governance and service delivery under mayor Chris Pappas.

In its objection, the DA said redetermination of uMngeni’s municipal boundaries would jeopardise the viability of the municipality and have a negative impact on service delivery, adding it would disrupt social and economic relationships, cause confusion and hardship as well as undo the “great work” done by the mayor and his team.

The proposed incorporation also saw more than 10,000 objections from uMngeni residents, including a council decision rejecting it.

Welcoming the decision, the DA said it was a victory for residents of uMngeni and a clear sign the party was on the right track in service delivery.

“Had the amalgamation gone ahead, poorly ANC-run local municipalities such as Msunduzi, Mpofana and Impendle, among others, would have merged with the efficiently run uMngeni local municipality,” said the DA Mooi-uMngeni constituency head Greg Krumbock.

He added the demarcation process is more than just about spatial planning; it also speaks to the ability to deliver services to residents, “something the ANC has dismally failed to do while the DA-run uMngeni has received local, national and international recognition for positive and resident-centred service delivery successes”.

The municipality highlighted improvements since the DA took over from the ANC.

These, according to the municipality, include “clearing a multimillion rand historical debt, increased basket of services and support to indigent households, tackling electricity issues, supporting and assisting youth-owned business and tourism, making uMngeni one of the fastest developing municipalities in the country.”