Residents of the Northern Cape had the opportunity to express their service delivery concerns during the parliamentary public hearings on the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority (IMDA) Bill, held in De Aar yesterday. Organized by the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, these hearings allowed citizens to provide their inputs on the draft Bill, which aims to improve the demarcation of municipal boundaries and ward delimitation processes. The residents raised various concerns related to housing, water provision, unemployment, and other pressing issues. Additionally, representatives of the Khoi and San communities expressed their hopes for positive changes in their settlements through the new demarcation body.
The draft IMDA Bill seeks to replace the existing Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, aligning it with current Demarcation Board practices and renaming the board as the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority. The proposed legislation aims to enhance the demarcation process and ensure efficient service delivery to communities across South Africa.
During the public hearings at the De Aar Town Hall, numerous residents took the opportunity to voice their concerns and submit suggestions. The predominant issues raised were related to housing, water provision, and unemployment. The attendees emphasized the importance of resolving these challenges to improve the overall living conditions in the Northern Cape.
Representation and Inclusivity:
Some participants proposed that the composition of the IMDA board should include representatives from all nine provinces. This suggestion aims to ensure that the interests and needs of all regions are taken into account during the decision-making processes of the demarcation authority. The inclusion of diverse perspectives would contribute to a more comprehensive and equitable approach in addressing service delivery challenges.
Khoi and San Communities’ Expectations:
Representatives from the Khoi and San communities expressed their hopes that the establishment of the IMDA would lead to positive changes in their settlements. These communities have historically faced various challenges, including marginalization and limited access to resources. They highlighted the need for improved infrastructure, service provision, and recognition of their unique cultural heritage.
Nationwide Public Consultation:
The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is embarking on a nationwide public consultation program to gather further input on the draft legislation. This program aims to engage citizens from all provinces, allowing them to contribute their perspectives and recommendations. The goal is to ensure that the new legislation effectively addresses the current challenges and leads to improved service delivery in municipalities across South Africa.
Chairperson’s Appreciation and Call for Submissions:
Chairperson Mr. Fikile Xasa expressed gratitude to the participants for their engagement in the parliamentary process. He encouraged those who missed the opportunity to make oral submissions to submit their inputs in writing before the August 29 deadline. Submissions can be sent to IMDAB@parliament.gov.za.
Continuation of Public Hearings:
Following the hearings in De Aar, the committee will continue its public consultation program in the Xhariep District Municipality of the Free State Province today. This ongoing engagement with citizens underscores the committee’s commitment to ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive legislative process.
The parliamentary public hearings on the IMDA Bill provided a platform for residents of the Northern Cape to voice their concerns regarding service delivery. The engagement demonstrated the importance of community participation in shaping legislation that aims to improve municipal demarcation and address the challenges faced by South African communities. As the committee continues its nationwide public consultation program, citizens are encouraged to contribute their valuable insights to ensure the new legislation reflects the diverse needs of the country’s municipalities.