According to reports, mergers would greatly reduce bureaucratic processes for the premier’s planned mega human settlement projects in the West Rand and Sedibeng district municipalities.
However, developers complain that even in existing megacities like Johannesburg they are frustrated by town planning delays and inability to obtain clearance certificates.
Clearly, the premier is incorrect in his assumption, as experience has shown that large metropolitan municipalities regularly struggle to properly manage their finances and to deliver basic services. All 3 of the province’s existing metros struggle to get their billing systems rectified.
Furthermore, trends in rural provinces have shown how large municipalities fail to provide services to small towns and communities, and that those furthest away from the administrative seat receive the least amount of attention.
The question that needs to be asked is whether the drive to create cities across municipal borders is merely a smokescreen to justify merging the DA-controlled Midvaal municipality with the Emfuleni local municipality.
So too is the question of why the premier wants to establish new cities from scratch, when existing towns can be expanded without upsetting municipal borders.
However, the most compelling question that needs be answered is how the premier intends to ensure that these mega developments remain free from corruption, while at the same time creating sustainable jobs for the medium term.
The DA will keep a close eye on developments and continue to hold the premier and his administration to account.
Mike Moriarty MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance
082 492 4410