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Citizen participation essential to create electoral wards

Chairperson of the MDB Thabo ManyoniIn an effort to maximise active public participation in demarcation processes, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) is pulling all stops to promote and encourage active public participation in the ward delimitation process ahead of the 2021 Local Government Elections (LGE).The nation-wide public consultation sessions will commence in February to April 2020.     

The MDB delimits wards for the purpose of local elections after consultations with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). The ward delimitation process (#WardDelimitation2020) is regarded as a crucial step towards deepening local democracy and promoting spatial transformation within communities. The process followed after consultation with the IEC, is sequenced as follows: (i) the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) publishes the formulae for determining the number of councillors for different categories of municipalities, (ii) the MECs responsible for local government use the formulae to determine and publish the number of councillors for respective municipalities in particular provinces, in this regard, the MEC may deviate from the formulae determined by the Minister as provided for in legislation, (iii) MDB determines and confirms the number of wards by dividing the published number of Councillors by two and further calculates the norm that defines a ward for all municipalities.

“We appeal to all community members to make inputs on the first draft sets of wards and provide proposals on how their wards should be created.” When we announce the final wards in July 2020, we should have the comfort of knowing that the process was transparent and decisions taken have, as far as possible, embraced inputs from our stakeholders and communities,” said Thabo Manyoni, Chairperson of the Board.

It is important to note that the MDB has no influence in the determination of the formulae and the number of councillors in a municipality and therefore cannot increase or reduce the number of Councillors determined by MECs, and appeals to stakeholders not to make representations to the MDB to change the formulae, increase or decrease the number of Councillors or the number of wards.

As at end of October 2019, all provinces i.e. MECs have published the number of Councillors, and this enabled the MDB to commence with the technical sessions with municipalities, the process which culminated in the successful conclusion of the first draft sets of wards by mid November 2019. Stakeholders can obtain copies of the draft sets of wards with corresponding maps from their respective municipalities, to prepare their inputs for the consultation process in February-April 2020.

Why should wards be delimited or configured every local government elections?

Ward boundaries require to be configured before each local government elections. This is necessitated by the various factors such as changes in the number of registered voters due to either migration of people or new registered voters; changes in the number of councilors, etc.

During the 2016 local government elections there were 4392 wards in the country, indications are that there will be an additional 76 wards bringing the total of wards to 4468 for the 2021 local elections.

The MDB calls on all community members to take action and be part of the process to configure their wards when the public consultation sessions commence in Feb-April 2020. #ConfigureYourWards.

For more information, visit the MDB website
or contact the office:
012 342 2481 or info@demarcation.org.za