UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

DISTRICT COUNCILS FACING A CRISIS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY CEDRIC FROLICK, MP

The tax base of the Western District Council in the Eastern Cape has shrunk from R 140 million to R 15 million. This is a result of the new local government demarcation, which moved the Council tax base within the boundaries of the Nelson Mandela Metropole.

This raises the question of whether government adequately considered the effect of the new local government demarcation on especially rural areas. It is uncertain at this stage how many other district councils face a similar fate. The current system seems to entrench the divide between urban and rural areas, despite government's much-vaunted Rural Development Strategy. If service delivery in rural areas through district councils is undermined, it will merely add to the rate of urbanisation and the degradation of rural areas. In the process social development, poverty relief and health services in rural areas collapse, whilst unemployment rises. A vicious cycle develops to the detriment of the most marginalised and poor people in our country.

Enquiries:
Cedric Frolick, MP

Cape Town
02 October 2001