In a move regarded as a crucial step towards deepening spatial democracy, the MDB has concluded the ward delimitation process. A total of very 4 468 ward boundaries have been handed over to the Electoral Commission (IEC) in preparation for the 2021 Local Government Elections.
Wards are delimited every five years in metropolitan and local municipalities for electoral purposes necessitated by changes in the number of registered voters as a result of migration as well as the enrolment of new voters on the voters’ roll.
The MDB commenced with the ward delimitation process in 2019 with extensive, public education and awareness campaign. Public consultations commenced in February 2020. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a national state of disaster, the public meetings were cancelled. At that time only 109 out of 213 municipalities had already been visited.
As such deadlines for public submissions were revised accordingly to allow communities to participate and submit proposals on how their wards should be configured. The due date for submission of written proposals for municipalities which had already been visited (Batch1) was extended from 31 April to 31 May 2020 and from 31 April to 31 July 2020 municipalities which could not be visited physically.
The MDB received and considered a total of 1 206 submissions from 213 municipalities. 70% of these were accepted and wards determined and published in provincial gazettes inviting anyone aggrieved by the wards to submit objections within 14 days.
When the objection period ended, a total of 1 465 objections were received. The MDB considered all objections and confirmed and varied wards for all municipalities in the country. 90% of 4 468 wards were confirmed as published and 10% of those were varied.
Objections/proposals are rejected, amongst others due to the following reasons:
a. Non-compliance to the ward delimitation criteria including:
i. Noncompliance to the norm (either below minimum and/or above maximum
number of registered voters allowed in a municipality).
ii. Unnecessary fragmentation of communities;
iii. Proposal resulting in an unidentifiable ward boundary;
iv. Non-consideration of the effects of topography and physical characteristics; and
v. Others as stipulated in the Local Government: Municipal structures Act,
schedule 1, item 4.
b. Requests for additional wards;
c. Requests affecting municipal boundaries; and
d. Request creating non-contiguous ward.
The wards are delimited solely for election purposes. As such, communities should know which wards they belong to (#KnowYourWards), and which voting station they should use to cast their votes.
MDB Chairperson Mr Thabo Manyoni said: “The Board assures its stakeholders, and most importantly the communities, of its unwavering commitment to engage with them in order to enhance their understanding of demarcation processes. The Board is intentional in its drive to deepen democracy through spatial transformation and looks forward to improved relations and active public participation for its processes going forward.”
ISSUED BY THE MUNICIPAL DEMARCATION BOARD