THE planned merger of three Gauteng municipalities hangs in the balance because of politics.
The Municipal Demarcation Board announced plans to merge Emfuleni, Sedibeng and Midvaal into a single metro municipality two years ago.
But the DA-controlled Midvaal is opposed to the merger and the other two ANC-run municipalities are unable to articulate their readiness.
Further delays could affect the Electoral Commission’s planning for the municipal elections next year.
Midvaal has been arguing with the board for months about the merging of the municipalities.
The board has been accused of gerrymandering – trying to dilute the DA support base in Midvaal by integrating the municipality with the overwhelmingly ANC-supporting Sedibeng and Emfuleni.
The board, established in 1999, determines municipal boundaries.
Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi said the board had delayed the litigation against the merger.
“We have requested that a record of the information used to make the decision be handed over to us. This includes the recording of the meeting of the board at which the decision was made.”
The board was to have responded to the DA request for information by December 12 but failed to meet the deadline.
He said Midvaal had wanted the dispute to be resolved in the first quarter of this year but expected this objective would be frustrated by the board because the Midvaal council was “dealing with a wounded animal”.
During the dispute between the board and Midvaal, the then chairman of the board, Landiwe Mahlangu, said all “due process” had been followed in arriving at the decision to merge the municipalities and that the board had never lost a case in court.
Midvaal is the only municipality in Gauteng not governed by the ANC.
The DA has received support from the Midvaal business community, the Freedom Front Plus and COPE.
– Kingdom Mabuza and Penwell Dlamini