MDB hands over final ward boundaries to IEC ahead of 2021 elections
The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has officially handed over 4 468 final ward boundaries to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) paving the way for the commission to prepare for next year’s local government elections.
The MDB conducts the ward delimitation process every five years for metros and local municipalities ahead of the local government elections.
This process is crucial as it needs to take into consideration the changes in registered voters in a particular area.
This year’s processes, which began in 2019, will see the addition of 76 additional wards in the country with the total now being 4 468.
The IEC announced the latest wards numbers on Tuesday along with DMB.
The MDB started with the process in 2019 with the Minster of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma publishing the formula for determining the number of councillors. The MDB then calculated the average number of registered voters in each ward and the number of wards in all municipalities in the country.
Wide-ranging consultations were then conducted with members of the public, municipal officials and other stakeholders. More than 1 000 submissions were made from 213 municipalities. A total of 1 465 objections were received as part of the process. The MDB said all these objections were considered.
“As one of the core mandates of the MDB, the ward delimitation process is regarded as a crucial step towards deepening local democracy and promoting spatial transformation within communities. During the last local government elections in 2016, there were 4 392 municipal wards in the country. However, for 2021, there will be an additional 76 wards in the country, which brings the total number of wards to 4 468,” MDB chairperson Thabo Manyoni said.
In total, 1 123 voting districts have been split due to the delimitation process. The provincial breakdown of split voting districts is as follows:
Eastern Cape: 63
Free State: 87
Northern Cape: 72
North West 117
Western Cape: 171
IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini said the final wards list would allow the IEC to start preparing for the 2021 local government elections. He said that an accurate voters roll was a crucial step towards free and fair elections.
The commission's chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo said earlier this month that details about the next registration drive for the 2021 local government elections were dependent on consultations with the government.
Mamabolo said that, by law, local government elections would have to be held within a 90-day window between August and November 2021.
"In law, the elections will have to be conducted between the early part of August and the early part of November. Within that 90-day period, an election will have to be held.“
The commission has started consultations with the Cogta Ministry, which has the responsibility of calling those elections.