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Friday Nov 16, 2012

Proposed eThekwini municipal boundary changes up for comment

The public can now make submissions to the Municipal Demarcation Board on the controversial proposal for the eThekwini municipality to cede a large chunk of land on its northern boundary, including King Shaka International Airport, to the KwaDukuza municipality.

The official public comment period is now open for affected and interested parties including local communities, business and municipalities.

There are 202 proposed changes to municipal boundaries across the country.

The board published doubleadverts in newspapers yesterday, which showed that in KwaZulu-Natal there were 48 proposed municipal boundary changes. Besides the application by the iLembe district municipality for KwaDukuza to gain control of four of eThekwini's northern wards, the board is also considering a proposal for the uMgungundlovu district to be recategorised as a new metro encompassing Pietermaritzburg.

Landiwe Mahlangu, chairman of the board, stressed that publishing the proposed changes did not mean a final decision had been taken. "These proposals must pass the legitimacy and public opinion test as well as all relevant legal requirements," he said. "As required by law, stakeholders will now be allowed at least 21 days to provide written submissions to the Municipal Demarcation Board... Even though not obligated to do so, after the 21 days we might hold public meetings, conduct formal investigations or do both so as to satisfy ourselves about the type of decision that will have to be made."

After public representations and consultation, the board will make a decision by March 31 next year and the public will then have 30 days to make any objections.

According to the board's time frames, the boundary changes are planned to be finalised before the 2014 national and provincial elections.

The eThekwini municipality said it was "vehemently against" ceding wards 58, 60, 61 and 62, which include Tongaat and Verulam, to the iLembe/ KwaDukuza municipalities. ILembe made the application. It hopes to boost the rates base of its KwaDukuza municipality by securing the prime development node around the airport and Dube TradePort.

The Mercury

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