Apology to Khutsong

Loosely translated, Khutsong means a place of rest - though the township about 50km west of Johannesburg has ironically been an enclave of restiveness over the past few years.

Loosely translated, Khutsong means a place of rest - though the township about 50km west of Johannesburg has ironically been an enclave of restiveness over the past few years.

This after the government's unilateral decision to incorporate the area into North West in February 2006 against the will of the majority of residents, who preferred to remain part of Gauteng.

Whatever the political rationale behind the decision, it turned out to be unpopular, triggering intermittent bouts of public violence.

Running battles with the police, barricading of roads, damage to property and boycotting of schools became the order of the day.

Residents had also threatened to boycott next year's general elections in protest.

After months of a political impasse, the government has finally acknowledged that the decision was a huge mistake.

Also under review are controversial incorporation decisions relating to Matatiele in Eastern Cape and Moutse in Limpopo.

Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka offered an apology to the residents at the weekend.

Needless to say, governments - including ours - are rarely known for voluntary self-reproach. So we hope this is a genuine show of regret and not a ploy to garner support for next's year elections.

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