Consultation over future boundaries
January 24, 2005

The Municipal Demarcation Board and provincial legislatures have been tasked to facilitate the process of consultation with residents of the 16 cross-boundary municipalities in the country. This follows last year's tension in Kungwini Local Municipality, formerly known as Bronkhorstpruit, and Westonaria, where irate residents rioted, burned police cars and damaged council property after news of the ANC's national executive committee decision to move Kungwini and Westonaria out of Gauteng. Xolani Xundu, spokesperson for the Department of Provincial and Local Government, said the government took a principled decision to do away with this cross-boundary municipalities "because they are not working and hamper service delivery meant to improve the lives of citizens residing in those areas". -  IOL Staff Reporter

Bushbuckridge residents happy to be on the move

By Sizwe samaYende and Tshwarelo Mogakane

Not everyone is outraged at the ANC's decision to cede cross-border towns to Mpumalanga. The nearly 1-million people of Bushbuckridge are overjoyed at having won a bitter seven-year campaign to transfer the sprawling network of peri-urban villages from Limpopo to Mpumalanga.

The transfer, which is yet to be promulgated by Parliament, will boost Mpumalanga's current population of 3,2-million people by 25%.

"We've fought long and hard for this, so it's great that the politicians have finally listened. When they first included us in Limpopo in 1997, we took to the streets and rioted for weeks. We closed roads, burnt trucks and even held (former) premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi hostage," says Agrippa Theko, a 21-year-old Dwarsloop resident. "The politicians ignored our anger then, but time has proven them wrong. It would be interesting to know what the cost has been to the taxpayer."

But Theko and fellow residents who support their transfer to Mpumalanga warn that government should heed objections of residents in other affected towns such as Bronkhorstspruit's Kungwini municipality.

"If they don't, residents there will organise themselves. The politicians seem to forget that we have a strong history of activism in South Africa," says Theko.

Kungwini township residents rioted last week, burning police cars and damaging council property, after news filtered out of the ANC's national executive council's decision to cede the area to Mpumalanga. Demonstrators also forced the resignation of three ANC councillors in Kungwini, claiming the politicians betrayed their constituents.

ANC Mpumalanga secretary Lucas Mello said the party had been unprepared for the level of public resistance to the decision to eradicate cross-boundary municipalities.

Bushbuckridge is the most densely populated area earmarked for transfer. It will be merged with Mpumalanga's existing scandal-ridden Thaba Chweu municipality in Lydenburg to form the new Bohlabela district municipality.

Mpumalanga will cede the mineral-rich Greater Tubatse (Burgersfort) and agricultural centres of Greater Groblersdal and Greater Marble Hall municipalities to Limpopo. Other towns affected by the transfer include Ekandustria, Ekangala, Zithabiseni and Bronkhorstspruit. Tshwane will get the mining town of Dinokeng (Cullinan).
ANC lashed over Gauteng border plan

By Moipone Malefane

Three provincial borders - Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga - will be redrawn within the next 18 months.

This follows a resolution at the African National Congress' Gauteng conference in Sandton on Sunday that municipalities in the three provinces would have to change in order to streamline service delivery.

In terms of the resolution, Gauteng will take over areas like Winterveld, Mabopane, Hammanskraal and Ga-Rankuwa, which are part of the Tshwane Metro but fall under North West, and hand over Bekkersdal and Westonaria to North West.

Residents of Kungwini are fighting the party's move

Kungwini (formerly Bronkhorstspruit) will be incorporated into Mpumalanga.

The resolution comes at a time when residents of Kungwini are fighting the party's move to incorporate them into Mpumalanga.

Last week, seven men were arrested, a policeman was injured and three police cars were damaged when thousands of residents from Zithobile, Rethabiseng and Ekangala marched to the Bronkhorstspruit magistrate's court chanting anti-Mpumalanga and pro-Gauteng slogans as part of their protest.

And on Sunday evening the Kungwini Residents' Association, which has accused the ANC of not consulting residents before making a decision, again swore to vehemently oppose the demarcation.

Spokesperson Ngadi Mpye told The Star that if the ANC was serious about pushing back the frontiers of poverty, it would not consider moving their municipality to Mpumalanga.

Consultation was likely to start early in 2005

"Our municipality in the ANC's records has been identified as the worst struggling municipality, and now they want to move us to a poor province."

"Gauteng has projects that benefit the poor, (but) what will happen to us? We will continue to oppose the move," Mpye said.

ANC provincial chairperson and Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said the demarcation was being discussed internally by the party, which had taken a decision that the municipalities should be moved into other provinces.

He said his provincial executive council, together with the ANC from the other two affected provinces, should continue to meet to finalise the process of integration before talking to communities.

"We all need to explain to the membership and communities in the affected areas that the changes are not aimed at getting rid of anyone but are more about consolidation of municipalities to ensure effective and efficient service delivery."

Shilowa said some residents had already expressed opposition to the decision, but "we as their leaders will go to them and explain why the move is important".

Consultation was likely to start early in 2005.

Shilowa admitted there were concerns that Mpumalanga would not be able to afford either the development already planned and budgeted for within the Gauteng legislature or services Gauteng currently provided, but not provided by other provinces.

He said the process might take 12 to 18 months, which meant the residents could still vote under their current provinces in the 2005 local government elections.

ANC Gauteng secretary David Makhura said the party was aware of people's concerns. "Their perceptions and their fears are very valid, and that is why we must engage with them."

Makhura added that nothing could be done to help those who objected to the rezoning for "sentimental" reasons, for example because they had lived in a particular province for a long time.

The provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) said some of the municipalities were struggling with service delivery and it would be a good thing if the proposed moves benefited people's daily lives.

"However, the ANC also should allow the people to make a decision. A referendum should be held and the people should decide whether their daily lives will be affected for better or worse," said DA spokesperson on local government Paul Willemburg.

In his address, Shilowa lashed out at electricity parastatal Eskom's failure to provide residents, especially those from disadvantaged areas, with basic free electricity.

"The ANC manifesto in 2000 for local government committed to basic free electricity for communities, but the process is taking long.

"We are the government, Eskom is state-owned, and government at national level should order them to fulfil the promise. We want action."

Shilowa was re-elected as chairperson, Angie Motshekga as his deputy, Makhura as provincial secretary, Mandla Nkomfe as deputy secretary and Lindiwe Maseko as treasurer.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on December 13, 2004

Another councillor resigns from Kungwini municipality

A ninth councillor has announced her resignation from the embattled Kungwini municipality in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng. Rosemary Stemele joins a horde of other councillors, who have stepped down amid protests over reports that the municipality will be incorporated into Mpumalanga province.

Stemele says she has not been forced into resigning, but chose to do so in accordance with the community's will. This comes as Sidney Mufamadi, the provincial and local government minister, is expected to visit the area tomorrow.

Yesterday, Mbhazima Shilowa, the Gauteng premier, called on the ANC in Mpumalanga to play a leading role in the resolution of problems in the Kungwini municipality. Addressing the party's ninth provincial conference, Shilowa committed to implementing the ANC's decision to do away with cross border municipalities.

Reports that the Kungwini municipality will be incorporated into Mpumalanga province have fueled a week of protests by residents opposed to the move.


ANC will consult on boundaries
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Johannesburg:  The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng plans to consult communities early next year on their re-demarcation into other provinces.

Speaking after the Gauteng ANC's ninth provincial conference in Sandton on Sunday, chair Mbhazima Shilowa said the ANC was still in the process of internal consultations on the matter.

The new demarcations suggested by the ANC some time ago have not all met with approval from the communities involved.

"I want to urge all ANC members inside and outside government not to engage in any activity that is aimed at undermining the decision of the NEC on this matter," Shilowa said on Sunday.

The ANC has proposed that Bekkersdal and Westonaria become part of North West, that the entire Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality fall under Gauteng, including those areas of Mabopane, Winterveld, Ga-Rankuwa and Hammanskraal presently in North West, and that Bronkhorstspruit (the Kungwini area) join Mpumalanga.

The ANC's structures in Gauteng, the North West and Mpumalanga were still looking at the process of integration, said Shilowa.

After this had been done, the proposed changes would be submitted to the demarcation board for consideration.

It was only then that consultations would take place with communities.

While there was "general acceptance", views had been expressed of opposition in particularly Bronkhorstspruit.

These were based on concerns that Mpumalanga would not be able to afford either the development already planned and budgeted for within the Gauteng provincial legislature or services Gauteng presently provides - such as a transport for scholars in rural areas.

The community needed to be told that Gauteng would carry on providing budgeted development funds until North West could allocate its own resources, and that the services were part of a national strategy.

"Their perceptions and their fears are very valid, that is why we must engage with them," said ANC Gauteng secretary, David Makhura.

He, however, added that nothing could be done to help those who objected to the rezoning for "sentimental" reasons, for example, because they had lived in a particular province all their lives.

Edited by Elmarie Jack

Angry residents go on the rampage
By Graeme Hosken

Thousands of Bronkhorstspruit residents marched on the town's police station and magistrate's court, laying siege to the buildings after the arrest earlier of several community members.

The protesters, who were demonstrating over the arrest of eight men on Monday, were also protesting at the town's imminent inclusion into Mpumalanga.

The eight men were arrested after a protest they had been leading turned violent, resulting in the stoning and torching of several police vehicles.

The men, who represent residents from the Kungwini area, allegedly became violent when ANC officials refused to listen to their complaints about the inclusion of their area into Mpumalanga.

Kungwini, which currently falls in Gauteng, includes the areas of Bronkhorstspruit, Zithobeni, Retha-biseng, Ekangala, Kanana and Sokhulumi.

Yesterday's demonstration, which saw more than 3 000 people surge through the town, forced dozens of shop owners to close for the day as protesters tried to loot the stores.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one shop owner said it had been absolute chaos.

"There were people everywhere trying to push into our store and grabbing goods off the shelves."

"We even had several people try to rip the till from the counter and only succeeded in fighting them off when a security guard came to help us," the businessman said.

Other shop owners said it was as though a whirlwind had hit the town.

"It was sheer madness. There were people everywhere running through the streets with rocks and sjamboks, threatening to beat anyone who did not join them," said Karel du Plessis.

Protest organisers said they were adamant that they would not allow their communities to fall under the Mpumalanga provincial government.

"That government is corrupt."

"There are no services and now the government wants us to go from a province where we receive good service to a place that has no service."

"There is simply no way that we will allow this to happen," said Masen Mtau.

Kungwini Residents Association secretary Haroon Khan said they had repeatedly asked to be given reasons for the decision, "but we have heard nothing".

"Our requests are falling on deaf ears and we are now tired of waiting for a response."

"We will not let this happen and will continue to show force through protests to voice our disapproval," he said.

Khan also said they did not want their areas to fall under Mpumalanga because of the poor social services provided by the provincial government. "At least in Gauteng we receive our pensions and other services on time."

"If we are to be placed under Mpumalanga we might never receive any services," he said.

Gauteng local government MEC Qedani Mahlangu condemned the protests, saying: "These are actions perpetuated by criminal elements who have no regard for the rule of law and public order."

"The government will not tolerate criminal behaviour that threatens the lives of our people and causes damage to property."

She said the country had structures in place to engage communities who felt dissatisfied about services.

"I want to encourage communities to use these structures instead of resorting to violence," she said. - Crime Reporter.

Residents reinstate local councillors
January 18, 2005, 11:15

The Kungwini Residents Association has reinstated nine local councillors who resigned from the local municipality late last month. The councillors resigned following pressure from the community because they were apparently against the proposed incorporation of the municipality and the Bronkhorstspruit town into Mpumalanga.

A letter has been sent to the offices of Qedani Mhlangu, the Kungwini chief whip and of the Gauteng MEC for local government, informing them that the councillors will be re-instated with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, the case of public violence, malicious damage to property, assault and intimidation against seven members of the Kungwini Residents Association has been postponed in the Bronkhorstspruit Magistrate's Court. The group was arrested after angry residents burnt three police vehicles and injured an officer during protests last year.

The residents were opposed to the proposal to incorporate the Kungwini local municipality into Mpumalanga. The seven are out on bail. The case has been adjourned to March 15 for further investigation.


Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (formerly Eastern Services Council - ESC ) comprises the nine former eastern municipalities of
Boksburg, Germiston, Benoni, Brakpan, Springs, Edenvale, Kempton Park, Alberton and Nigel. Included in Ekurhuleni is part of Bronberg,
Bapsfontein, Bedfordview, Tembisa, Ivory Park, Olifantsfontein, Rabie Ridge, Chloorkop and Phomolang. Ekurhuleni, is an isiNguni word
meaning place of peace..

Metsweding District Municipality (MDM): Comprises: 1) Nokeng tsa Taemane Local Municipality and 2) Kungwini Local Municipality.
Metsweding includes the former areas of Bronberg (Portion), Bronkhorstspruit, Cullinan / Rayton, Elandsrivier (Portion), Pienaarsrivier (Portion),
Roopdeplaat. Note: Part of Bronberg in now part of the Kungwini Local Municipality (KLM). Both the Kungwini Local Municipality and the
Nokeng Local Municipality are under the umbrella of the Metsweding District Council. Meaning: Nokeng tsa Taemane (river of diamonds) -
Kungwini (misty place).

City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality - Under the Metropole there are a number of Administrative Units - these includes the former
Pretoria and Centurion town councils.

Boer War: Local Places well known to Australians 
Pienaarsrivier (Pienaars River) - Elandsrivier (Elands River) - Hennops River (Sesmylspruit / Six Mile Spruit) -