Background to Municipal Boundaries

South Africa’s Constitution (1996) sets out a vision for local government and requires of local government to provide equitable and efficient services, build local democracy, promote social and economic development, collect revenue, ensure safe and healthy environments, and create a generally viable and sustainable system of local government.

The drawing of new municipal boundaries was one of the first steps in a local government transformation process that aims to give substance to the Constitution’s vision. Demarcation was and it not meant to solve all the problems that municipalities face, but set the structural conditions within which the other processes of transforming and developing local government can take place.

During the period 1999/2000 the Board successfully rationalised the total number of municipalities for 843 to 284.  Six metropolitan municipalities, 47 district municipalities and 231 local municipalities were demarcated within a period of some fifteen months.

This was a daunting task for a new Board that, at that time had no staff, infrastructure and a decent budget.  To complete the task prior to the 5 December 2000 local elections strict adherence to timeframes was necessary and the Board dealt with the process in different phases:

PHASE I:Ongoing work in developing policy statements on demarcation matters.

PHASE II:The finalization of metropolitan (Category A) and district (Category C) municipality boundaries (August 1999 – February 2000).

PHASE III: The finalization of local (Category B) boundaries (December 1999 to end August 2000).

PHASE IV: The delimitation of ward boundaries (March – August 2000).

PHASE V:The determination of boundaries for cross-boundary municipalities.

This major spatial restructuring took place prior to the 5 December 2000 local elections.  Due to the stringent time frames that the MDB had to work to, it was decided at the very outset that a technological approach would have to be taken to ensure the timeous completion of the re-demarcation for the 2000 local government elections.  The MDB outsourced its IT/GIS activities for the project to DataWorld.  However, only the technical aspect of the work was contracted out, and the MDB invested in developing its own GIS infrastructure.

The short term goal was to build a database on all available spatial data in South Africa that was applicable to the demarcation work of the MDB, with the long term vision being for the MDB to develop its own GIS capacity once the initial demarcation was complete.

The spatial database was then the foundation that informed the MDB throughout the demarcation process, from the initial identification of the nodes for metropolitan and district nodes, to the demarcation of the six metropolitan (Category A) and 47 district (Category B) municipalities, after which 231 local (Category C) municipalities were demarcated.  Due to the disestablishment of cross-boundary municipalities in 2005, the number of district municipalities was reduced to 46.

After the 05 December 2000 local elections the Board started a process to further refine municipal boundaries.

For the term of office of the first Board (2000 – 2005) the following statistics is provided:

PROVINCE NO OF CASES PROCESSED FINALISED CASES CLOSED/WITHDRAWN CASES NO OF REDETERMINED MUNICIPALITIES
EASTERN CAPE 55 31 24 30
KWAZULU-NATAL 61 20 41 36
FREE STATE 13 2 11 4
GAUTENG 16 8 8 11
LIMPOPO 32 8 24 14
NORTH WEST 15 3 12 6
NORTHERN CAPE 12 4 8 9
MPUMALANGA 9 3 6 10
WESTERN CAPE 17 9 8 16

 

DEMS AFFECTING CROSS BORDER MUNICIPALITIES
FINALISED CLOSED / WITHDRAWN
12 34

 

For the term of office of the first Board (2006 – 2009) the following statistics is provided:

PROVINCE NO OF CASES
PROCESSED
DMA’S TO BE INCLUDED INTO
LOCALS
PENDING CASES
(2011 NEXT LOCAL
ELECTIONS)
FINALISED CASES CLOSED/
WITHDRAWN CASES
NO OD REDETREMINED
MUNICIPALITIES
EASTERN CAPE 22 2 6 10 4 25
KWAZULU-NATAL 19 4 3 9 3 25
FREE STATE 5 1 2 2 0 10
GAUTENG 6 1 3 2 0 11
LIMPOPO 12 1 3 7 1 17
NORTH WEST 4 0 2 1 1 9
NORTHERN CAPE 5 5 0 0 0 18
MPUMALANGA 2 1 1 0 0 4
WESTERN CAPE 11 5 0 4 2 16