The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has launched its nationwide public participation process on a draft set of electoral wards, in preparation for the 2021 local government elections.
Thr Municipal Demarcation Board encouraged members of the public to give input on how their wards should be configured.
MDB chairperson, Thabo Manyoni, said:” We will be going to the public in February until April where the public will be making inputs in terms of determining these wards. I must indicate that we are concerned about this process not being in the hands of the people, hence we have called you to say let us inform South Africans that this process has started and they have to participate as part of participatory democracy to determine their future.”
Manyoni said in the period between 2019 and 2020 the Board will not conduct any municipal boundary re-determination process.
“We are mindful of concerning and sensitive issues which has manifested through a number of community protests, complaints and litigation against the decision of the Board over the last few years,” he said.
“In 2018, the MDB concluded the technical municipal boundary re-determination process. In the period between 2019 and 2021 the MDB will not conduct any municipal outer boundary re-determination until after the 2021 local government elections. That will allow the MDB time to delimit wards and the IEC to prepare for the election,” said Manyoni.
According to MDB, the North West province is one of the provinces with outer boundaries determination concerns.
MDB Chief Operating Officer (COO), Aluwani Ramagadza, said the public participation process will start in the North West province in April.
“We are visiting all municipalities in the North West from the 1st of April until the end of the month. Obviously the main thing is about ward limitations but we also know that there are areas where people might have submitted proposals that affect municipal boundaries determination.
We have written to them and engaged them that the Municipal Demarcation Board will only consider municipal boundary redetermination after the 2021 local government,” said Ramagadza.
”If you are changing a municipal boundary outside then you are impacting on the number of registered voters inside so we need that space to finalize wards boundaries and thereafter we will reopen the process after the local government election,” he added.
The national public participation process will start with the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape in February. In March it will be in Gauteng and conclude with Northern Cape, Free State, North West and Limpopo in April this year.