minister asks for time over moutse

Dudu Busani

The Moutse relocation case has been put on hold after Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka requested a consultation with residents.

Shiceka is the second respondent in the civil case brought to the Constitutional Court by the Moutse Demarcation Forum. It challenges the area's move from Mpumalanga to Limpopo in 2006. The forum claims residents were not consulted and it demands that Moutse be relocated.

Addressing a full bench headed by Chief Justice Pius Langa, Shiceka's lawyers asked that the matter be postponed to allow him time to consult with residents to find a resolution.

The postponement was granted, but Shiceka has to submit an affidavit within 20 days outlining what he intends to do to address the applicants' grievances.

The matter was postponed to March 17 next year, a decision that did not sit well with the scores of Moutse residents who had travelled to Johannesburg.

"That date is too far. We want a resolution now, or we will not vote next year. Our views were not taken to Parliament, which resulted in the move," said a resident.

The forum contends that the Mpumalanga legislature failed to facilitate public involvement in its legislative process. But the respondents, who include the president and speakers of both provincial legislatures, argue that the application should have been brought earlier, not so long after the acts were passed in 2005.