Minister says sorry to Khutsong

Ido lekota

Ido lekota

Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka says the government's decision to incorporate Khutsong into NorthWest was wrong.

Speaking to Sowetan in an interview Shiceka also apologised to the people of Khutsong for the pain the decision to move the area from Gauteng had caused.

"There is nothing wrong in saying sorry when we have made a mistake," Shiceka said.

He confirmed that steps are being taken to reincorporate Khutsong into Gauteng.

Shiceka also said the situation in Moutse and Matatiele - where residents have rejected being incorporate into Limpopo and Eastern Cape respectively - would be resolved.

Shiceka said he would do everything within his power to ensure that the people of Khutsong voted in next year's election.

But he pointed out that the matter was now in the hands of Parliament, which had to repeal some of the laws that led to the decision to incorporate the area into North West.

This would include amending some of the provisions of Chapter 7 of the Constitutions that deals with the issue of municipality borders.

After many years of being part of Gauteng, Khutsong was incorporated into North West after the 2006 local government election.

The explanation given by government then was that cross-border municipalities such as Merafong - of which Khutsong is part - slowed down service delivery because disputes often arose between provinces about who funded what.

After the decision Khutsong was ravaged by ongoing protests, including councillors' homes being burnt down and schools being closed.

The reason for the rejection was that residents felt that there was poor service delivery in North West compared with Gauteng.

Shiceka pointed out that if Khutsong was reincorporated it should include the whole Merafong municipality.