Khutsong aclassic test for our democracy

Merafong municipality will officially be handed over to North West next month but the community remains steadfast in its resolve to be part of Gauteng. It is important to analyse this classic test for our democracy.

Merafong municipality will officially be handed over to North West next month but the community remains steadfast in its resolve to be part of Gauteng. It is important to analyse this classic test for our democracy.

The protests by Khutsong residents against their forced incorporation into Merafong is one of the most robust and daring democratic demands to be made of the new South Africa.

At the heart of the protests is the charge that the government did not consult the residents. Its response to this basic and reasonable democratic demand was to disregard the people.

Cross-border municipalities were initiated by the post-apartheid government and could have been bypassed.

North West is institutionally and economically inferior to Gauteng and to say that we are "one unitary state" does not wash.

Have a referendum and let the community decide. The protests were, and remain sufficiently strong and substantial, to justify a referendum, which would restore the people's confidence in the democratic process.

The boycott of the local-government polls last year showed that Khutsong residents were not prepared to be bullied. We stand for democracy and we are 100 percent behind the people of Khutsong.

Hulisani Mmbara,Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania, Johannesburg

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