The Democratic Alliance (DA) said in a statement today that it will write to Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Dr Zweli Mkhize asking how much had been spent on “the failed amalgamation” of the former Tlokwe and Ventersdorp municipalities.
Residents protested following the announcement that the two municipalities would be merged, saying they had not been consulted.
The DA said it would write to Mkhize following JB Marks mayor Kgotso Khumalo’s public announcement during a meeting in Ventersdorp of his intention to write to President Cyril Ramaphosa admitting to the failed merger of these municipalities.
“According to media reports, the mayor allegedly admitted that the merger had failed due to the fact that they had expected R500 million for the merger but only received R13 million,” the DA’s North West provincial leader Joe McGluwa said.
McGluwa said the DA has always been vocal against the amalgamation of the two municipalities, adding that in 2015 the party had cautioned against it.
“However, the ANC continued with their gerrymandering to sway the outcomes of the 2016 local elections in their favour.
“Communities of both towns have been vocal regarding their disapproval of the merger, residents have protested and called on the merger not to go ahead. It is now election season and the ANC is again hitting the campaign trail and trying to appease communities by using the merger,” the DA said.
The party said the governing party’s electioneering comes after millions of rands have already been wasted on the merger, with a near collapse of service delivery in both communities.
“The merger is a result of the ANC steamrolling processes, undermining concerns coming from communities in a bid to win elections, and the costly failures of this exercise should fall directly on their shoulders,” McGluwa said.
The DA said it will request a full assessment of the merger and the extent of the damage to the municipality.
“We will also ask for clarity on how the ANC-led government plans to fix this failed merger.”