KwaDukuza fails bid to put Shaka airport under its wing

An ambitious plan by KwaDukuza municipality to have King Shaka International Airport fall under it has crashed.

This after the ANC-led KwaDukuza municipality had last year submitted a proposal to the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) requesting that eThekwini metro ward 58 be transferred to the KwaDukuza municipal boundary. The municipality lies on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Demarcation board rejects proposal

But the MDB, a body which determines municipal boundaries across the country, last week rejected the proposal.

The changes would have seen the airport shift to KwaDukuza. Other key areas were also going to be affected by the shift. These include Dube Trade Port, the province’s key economic zone, and some parts of affluent suburbs of uMdloti and Lamercy

Mayor raises concern at exclusion in the decision

KwaDukuza mayor Lindiwe Nhaca said the municipality had raised concerns regarding how the public participation process was handled by the MDB.

“The MDB made a deliberate mistake regarding the invitation for KwaDukuza to make their case. This deprived KwaDukuza from attending the sessions as the invitation was sent after hours. [It was] only discovered when the session was already under way,” she said.

Airport is KZN’s economic heartbeat

Nhaca also accused the MBD of deliberately acting to undermine KwaDukuza as a growing municipality. 

“Having said this, we are not bitter and we respect this outcome with the belief that we are the fastest growing municipality in the province,” said Nhaca.

Both the airport and the trade port are considered as the heartbeat of the provincial economy.

The changes would have also meant more investment opportunities for the Ilembe region. EThekwini was expected to lose close to R1-billion over three years if the move materialised. This is because about 180,000 rate payers would have been moved to KwaDukuza.

Haven for the rich

The municipality, with a financial purse of over R2-billion, is home to high income earners who live in suburbs such as Ballito.

During the submission phase, municipal director of local economy Skhumbuzo Hlongwane had contended that KwaDukuza was among the best run councils in the country. 

“It is very interesting for eThekwini municipality to declare that KwaDukuza Municipality is not ready to take these two wards. The independent assessment of eThekwini Municipality to provide basic services and financial sustainability has been under scrutiny.

“It must be considered that KwaDukuza municipality is not under the administration of either the provincial government or national government. However, eThekwini municipality has been put under administration,” Hlongwane said during a previous interview with Sunday World.

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