The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) will soon embark on nationwide public consultations on the draft sets of electoral wards in preparation for next year’s local government elections.
Addressing the media recently, MDB board chairperson Thabo Manyoni said the consultative process - which will be held between February and April this year - reflects the board’s commitment to improve public participation in democratic processes.
“We therefore call on all members of the public to actively participate and express their views on how their wards should be configured,” said Manyoni.
As one of the core mandates of the organisation, Manyoni said the ward delimitation process is regarded as a crucial step towards deepening local democracy and promoting spatial transformation within communities.
The ward delimitation process entails the division of the whole geographic area of a municipality into smaller geographic areas, called wards.
The MDB delimits wards for the purpose of local elections after consultations with the (IEC). Wards are delimited in all metropolitan and local municipalities. This process is necessary to lay a solid foundation for the delivery of free and fair local government elections.
During the 2016 local government elections, there were 4 392 wards in the country. An additional 76 wards will bring the total number of wards to 4 468 for the 2021 local government elections.
Over the next three months, the MDB will visit all local and metropolitan municipalities across the country for consultations. In February, the board will be in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. The following month will see the board in Gauteng. The consultations will conclude in April in the Northern Cape, Free State, North West and Limpopo.
MDB deputy chairperson Mbali Myeni said the final wards will be announced in July.
“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,” she said.
The final list of wards will then be handed over to the IEC in August 2020.
Myeni said it is important to indicate 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 Members of Executive Councils. SAnews.gov.za
For more information visit the MDB on www.demarcation.org.za.