THE last-minute attempts by the Gauteng provincial government to consult residents in certain municipalities about administrative plans to incorporate them into larger metros look like an after-thought to avoid another Khutsong explosion.
The affected municipalities are Metsweding, Nokeng tsa Taemane and Kungwini.
SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) chairperson Matlakala Mashishi said residents should have been consulted from the start.
"We are told that the decision has already been taken. The consultation that is happening now cannot be genuine," Mashishi said.
He said the Ekurhuleni and Tshwane metros were not "necessarily managed well".
"Tshwane has a big budget but they cannot manage it. There are still poor areas like Winterveld," Mashishi said.
Sanco was convinced that the sudden rush to the area, to involve residents and municipal workers, was an attempt to avoid a similar reaction to that of residents of Khutsong when they were "forcibly" incorporated into North West.
The demarcation board took a decision last year to redetermine boundaries by placing Metsweding district municipality under the Ekurhuleni metro council, and Kungwini and Nokeng tsa Taemane local municipalities under Tshwane.
Demarcation board chief executive Hillary Monare said the decision would be implemented in 2011.
Local government and housing MEC Kgaugelo Lekgoro recently hinted at the government's plan to eradicate smaller municipalities in favour of a larger metro system.
During his budget speech in the legislature two weeks ago, Lekgoro said: "The government has been seized with the concept of metro systems of local government."
Residents seem hellbent on opposing the relocation, claiming they were not consulted. Local government and housing spokesperson Fred Mokoka said the government was meeting all stakeholders.
"We want to ensure that everybody is on board. At present the municipalities are struggling and by integrating them there will be benefits like job opportunities," Mokoka said.
He said stakeholders were still holding discussions on how municipal officials will be integrated under the metro system.
Gauteng has three metro councils, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Johannesburg, and three district municipalities - Sedibeng, West Rand and Metsweding.
Under district municipalities are local municipalities. Kungwini and Nokeng tsa Taemane local municipalities fall under Metsweding district municipality.