DA: Statement by Marti Wenger, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, on the Moutse referendum (01/10/2009)

1st October 2009

The ANC has finally taken the Democratic Alliance's advice in holding a referendum in Moutse to allow the people to decide whether the municipality should remain in Limpopo or become part of Mpumalanga.

The DA demands the immediate release of figures of this week's referendum in Moutse and that the Minister abides by the outcome not only in Moutse but also Matatiele.

During the 3rd Parliament, the DA's Sheila Camerer suggested that a referendum be held in cross border municipalities like Moutse, Matatiele and Khutsong to avoid unnecessary demonstrations and violence. In spite of this suggestion, the ANC went ahead with the processes without due consultation with the affected communities, which resulted in demonstrations, damage to council property and violence.

However, Nhlakanipho Nkotwana, special adviser to the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka has stated that the Cabinet will make the final decision. This shows contempt for the democratic outcome, whatever that may be, and shows again how paper-thin the ANC's commitment to ‘The People shall Govern' is. With this lack of clarity, the danger is that the people could expect the result of the referendum to be upheld. If the results are not upheld this could exacerbate an already tense situation.

Matatiele is similarly due to hold a referendum on 12 October. If cabinet is going to follow the same route with the Matatiele referendum then it will be nothing more than fruitless wasteful expenditure and should not take place.