The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has announced its decision to re-determine certain ward demarcations and municipal boundaries in the country, ahead of the 2016 Local Elections.
Board Chairperson Jane Thupana on Thursday announced the decisions following Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Pravin Gordhan’s request that the MDB consider the determination and re-determination of boundaries of certain municipalities, with a view to make them more sustainable and financially viable.
“The proposal constituted 34 cases affecting 90 municipalities throughout the country, with the exception of the Western Cape,” said Thupana.
Thupana said the board invited and received written views and representations from members of the public, and after receiving the submissions, the board decided not to proceed with 13 of the cases that were considered to require more detailed investigations and could not be concluded before the 2016 Local Elections.
Following a number of public meetings conducted by the board, Thupana said the board met in June and considered all inputs from the public, reports on the investigations carried out by the MDB, and other relevant data sources.
“The board further tested all cases against the demarcation criteria and resolved to re-determine 12 cases in terms of Section 21,” said Thupane.
She said of the 34 cases, one out of five cases was approved for Mpumalanga, which would see Mbombela and Umjindi local municipalities being amalgamated into one municipal area.
For North West, one out of three cases was approved, wherein Tlokwe and Ventersdorp local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area.
The one case for Gauteng was disapproved, which would have affected the West Rand District Municipality, but Thupana said a decision was not to conclude on the re-determination but rather to conduct more detailed investigations and proceed with the matter only after the 2016 Local Elections.
One out of 11 cases for KwaZulu-Natal was approved, wherein boundaries of Mpofana, Umgungundlovu, Umvoti and Umzinyathi municipalities would be re-determined by excluding a portion from Mpofana — Cadham voting district– and including it into Umvoti.
“It has to be noted that the re-determination in KZN is a minor technical adjustment of the boundaries as opposed to the Minister’s request to have Mpofana municipality disestablished,” she said.
One out of two cases for Free State was approved, that means Naledi Local Municipality would be incorporated into Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality.
One case for Northern Cape was approved, wherein Mier and Khara Hais local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area.
Three out of six cases for the Eastern Cape were approved, affecting seven municipalities. Thupana said Gariep and Maletswai local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area; Nxuba and Nkonkobe local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area; and also Inkwanca, Tsolwana and Lukhanji municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area.
“The board has further re-determined the boundaries of Ikwezi, Camdeboo and Baviaans municipalities by amalgamating the three into one municipal area,” said Thupana.
For Limpopo, four out of five cases were approved, wherein Fetagomo and Greater Tubatse local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area. Modimolle and Mokgopong local municipalities would be amalgamated into one municipal area.
Mutashe would be disestablished with its portions incorporated into areas of Musina and Thulamela municipalities.
A new municipality comprising portions of Makhado and Thulamela municipalities would be established and Aganang municipality would be disestablished with its portions incorporated into areas of Polokwane, Molemole and Blouberg municipalities.
“These re-determinations therefore constitute 32% of the Minister’s proposed cases,” said Thupana.
Thupana said it is up to the IEC and MECs responsible for local government to perform their functions, and that the IEC will divide the national common voter’s roll in municipal segments for the new municipalities.
“MEC’s will gazette to establish them as well as determine the number of councillors, before the MBD would initiate ward delimitations.
After the announcement, Thupane handed over the first batch of wards to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Vice-Chairperson Terry Tselane.
“A total of 2 951 wards have now been finalised, which constitutes over 60% of the total number to be handed over to the IEC,” she said.
Thuapne said the board intends to conclude any outstanding matters with the view to hand over the final batch of wards to the IEC by no later than 30 November this year.
Receiving the first batch, Tselane said the IEC was extremely anxious about the possibility of not receiving the batch of wards on time, as it would affect the way IEC runs its business.
“Now that we have received the 2 951 demarcated wards, we are able to start with preparations for 2016 local elections. We are grateful that throughout this journey we have been working hand in hand with the MDB,” he said.