The Municipal Demarcation Board has says it is going back to communities which are unhappy with the redrawing of ward boundaries in various parts of the country, including those threatening blood on the floor.
Briefing the cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee, board chairperson Thabo Manyoni said they have finalised the ward delimitation process and handed over wards to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to prepare for the elections to be held between August and November.
“In our earlier engagement, we indicated that even though we technically finalised the work, we are not to disappear from the scene. We are going back to communities to explain how we came to conclusion and explain our decisions. The intention is to ensure that the potential voters are properly informed. Obviously, to make sure at least we have smooth elections in terms of the forthcoming local government elections,” said Manyoni.
Manyoni said the board would be in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday to address the KwaMashu community as an example. He said they have been to Sakhisizwe Municipality in Cala, the hometown of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, in the Eastern Cape doing the same.
“Of course, we know that even if we go all the way to try and explain, there will be communities who will not be happy for one reason or another. In Sakhisizwe, Inkosi Zengethwa and councillors decided in that meeting that they are not accepting the final outcome of the demarcation board. Of course, we had to explain that they are allowed to go to court. They indicated that they are not interested in a legal process, but there will be blood on the floor. These are the issues we have to deal with,” said Manyoni.
Manyoni said they were taking into consideration and noted those areas that could be potential hotspots areas. He said the board reports these areas to the joint committee meeting on safety to make sure as the country is preparing for the elections. He said this way, agents and departments know where there could be potential instability and are able to assist and be prepared for local government election in handling those areas.
“Our intention is we must go back to communities where we are requested and be able to explain ourselves to ensure elections should be smooth. Sometimes some of the communities accept and are happy with the explanation, others don’t. It is the nature of these activities to have those types of issues,” Manyoni said.
The Municipal Demarcation Board received 1465 objections during last year’s delimitation process of wards, with most of the objections coming from Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, among others.
It has since identified Ntabankulu, Buffalo City and Sakhisizwe Municipalities in the Eastern Cape and Msinga, Ndwedwe and eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal and Merafong Municipality in Gauteng as some of the potential hotspots.
Others include Fetakgomo Tubatse Municipality, Makhado and Collins Chabane municipalities in Limpopo, JB Marks and Mafikeng municipalities in North West, the City of Mbombela and Thembisile Hani municipalities in Mpumalanga and Phokwane Municipality in Northern Cape.