The Portfolio on Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has successfully concluded the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) leg of the public hearings on the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority (IMDA) Bill. This nationwide public consultation programme aims to gather citizens’ input on the draft legislation, which seeks to repeal and replace the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act. The proposed bill also aims to align and update the legislation with current Demarcation Board practices and rename the Municipal Demarcation Board to the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority.
The Bill’s primary objectives are to provide for the establishment of the Demarcation Appeals Authority to handle appeals and ensure more extensive public participation and stakeholder consultation for any demarcation or delimitation of municipal wards.
KZN became the fourth province where the committee conducted public hearings on the Bill, and it plans to visit the remaining provinces before the end of August to afford all South Africans the opportunity to comment on the draft legislation. For those unable to attend the public hearings, written submissions can be sent via email to IMDAB@parliament.gov.za before August 29.
During today’s public hearings in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, concerned citizens voiced their dissatisfaction with the lack of public consultations under the current Municipal Demarcation Board. Participants highlighted that any changes in demarcation should take into consideration the objectives of municipalities’ Integrated Development Plans and ensure minimal disruptions in service delivery.
Residents stressed the importance of considering the region’s growing population and utilizing the latest census records in municipal demarcation decisions. They emphasized the need for accurate and up-to-date data to plan for sustainable growth and effective governance.
Mr. Fikile Xasa, the Chairperson of the committee, expressed gratitude to the people of KZN for their valuable inputs on the Bill. He assured citizens that concerns regarding demarcation would be carefully examined by the Municipal Demarcation Board. Additionally, all service delivery-related matters raised during the hearings would be forwarded to the relevant government departments at the national, provincial, and local levels for consideration.
The IMDA Bill represents a crucial step towards enhancing citizen participation and ensuring effective governance in local municipalities. By seeking public input and addressing concerns related to demarcation and service delivery, the proposed legislation aims to create a more inclusive and responsive local government system.
The ongoing nationwide public consultation programme presents an excellent opportunity for South Africans to actively participate in shaping the future of their local municipalities. The rateweb audience, who have a keen interest in various financial services, credit, lending, personal finance, motor vehicles, insurances, and banking matters, should also take note of the potential impacts of the IMDA Bill on local governance, service delivery, and community development.
As the public hearings continue in other provinces, stakeholders are encouraged to engage with the process and submit their valuable feedback. By working together, citizens, government bodies, and other stakeholders can collectively build a stronger, more efficient, and inclusive municipal governance framework that meets the needs and aspirations of all South Africans.