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MUNICIPAL DEMARCATION BOARD

What are the criteria used to determine these municipal boundaries? The MDB applies the delimitation criteria as set out by the law. The number of registered voters in each ward, may not vary by more than 15% from the norm: avoiding as far as possible the fragmentation of communities. The object is to enhance participatory democracy in local government and create identifiable ward boundaries. The availability and location of a suitable place or places for voting, takes into consideration: communication and

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Municipal Focus

accessibility; density of population; the topography and physical characteristics as well as the number of voters that are entitled to vote within the required time-frame. You spoke about the importance of not varying more than 15% from the norm – can you unpack this further? A norm – or average - is equal to number of registered voters in the municipality divided by number of wards in the municipality. For example: If a municipality has

20 000 registered voters and 20 wards, we would divide 20 into 20 000 and the norm would then equal 1000; 15% below norm is 850 and 15% above norm is 1150. Therefore, a municipal ward may have any number of registered voters between 850 and 1150. It should be highlighted that the MDB has no influence in the determination of the formulae or the number of councillors in a municipality and therefore cannot increase or reduce the number of councillors determined by MECs. The MDB cannot change the formulae, increase or decrease the number of councillors or the number of wards. As I mentioned earlier, wards are delimited every five years preceding the local government elections. This is necessitated by various factors such as changes in the number of registered voters due to either migration of people or new registered voters and changes in the number of councillors. What are the steps that need to be taken to delimit ward boundaries? Firstly, the IEC provides the national voters roll and then the Minister of COGTA determines the formulae to determine the number of councillors, which the MECs then apply. Based on the number of councillors, the MDB determines the number of wards – for example: ten councillors equals five wards. As part of enhancing public participation in the

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Municipal Focus Magazine - Volume 51  

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