Thabo Manyoni, Municipal Demarcation Board chairperson File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)
Thabo Manyoni, Municipal Demarcation Board chairperson File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)

Boundary disputes postponed until after 2021 local government elections

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jan 24, 2020

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Cape Town – The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) said it would only deal with municipal boundary disputes – which nearly collapsed the 2016 local government elections in Vuwani, Limpopo, and other areas – after the 2021 local government elections.

The MDB, under Thabo Manyoni, former mayor of Mangaung Metro, Bloemfontein, made the announcement yesterday during the board’s revelation of its readiness for the upcoming elections.

Manyoni and MDB’s chief executive, Muthotho Sigid, confirmed that boundary disputes have been lodged in Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

“Some of the disputes really revolve around certain municipalities wanting to be merged with a particular municipality for greener pastures.

"So it is incumbent upon us to ensure that all local and metro municipalities deliver services to the people to avoid these disputes,” Manyoni said.

He singled out the JB Marks Local Municipality, a merger between Ventersdorp Local Municipality and the Tlokwe Local Municipality in Potchefstroom.

According to Manyoni, Ventersdorp wants to break away from the JB Marks Municipality.

“In 2018, the MDB concluded the municipal boundary redetermination process. In the period between 2019 and 2021, the MDB will not conduct any municipal boundary redetermination until after the 2021 local government elections. 

"That will allow the MDB time to delimit wards and the Electoral Commission (IEC) to prepare for those elections,” the MDB said.

The MDB made the ruling despite their own findings in March 2018 that residents of Vuwani in Limpopo were vehemently opposed to the merger of Thulamela Local municipality in ­Malamulele and Makhado Local Municipality in the Vhembe District.

The merged municipality was later named Collins Chabane Local Municipality – the late Chabane was the former minister of public service and administration under then president Jacob Zuma.

Violence broke out following the announcement of the merger ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

Yesterday, however, the MDB announced its nationwide public consultations on the new draft sets of electoral wards ahead of the 2021 local government elections. All municipalities have seen an increase in the number of wards.

MDB board deputy chairperson Mbali Myeni said: “During the 2016 local elections there were 4392 wards in the country, but there are now an additional 76 wards, bringing the total of wards to 4 468 for the 2021 local government elections.”

Myeni said they were calling on members of the public to actively participate and express their views on how their wards should be configured.

“As one of the core mandates of the organisation, the ward delimitation process is regarded as a crucial step towards deepening local democracy and promoting spatial transformation within communities,” Myeni said.

She said consultation processes would be held from next month until the end of April. 

“After the public meetings, the MDB will consider all public proposals received and delimit wards. The wards will be published in provincial gazettes for objections by May this year. 

"Any aggrieved party will have 14 days to object,” Myeni said.

Political Bureau

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