By Athol Trollip (MPL), Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:
The DA in Nelson Mandela Bay has objected to the latest irrational proposals by the Demarcation Board, which will undermine service delivery, divide communities and prejudice competing political parties.
The latest proposals from the Demarcation Board seek to allocate a disproportionate number of voters to ANC wards.
The proposals will, on average, see approximately 9 000 voters or less in ANC wards as opposed to over 11 000 voters in DA wards.
What this means in practice is that you will only need 9 000 voters to elect a councillor in ANC wards while you will need 11 000 voters to elect a councillor in DA wards. This will prejudice competing political parties and stretch the service delivery resources of an already cash strapped municipality to breaking point.
The Demarcation Board’s rejection of the DA’s comprehensive inputs flies in the face of the Board’s own values and commitment to a fair and inclusive process that “seeks to deepen democracy and promote local governance”.
For all intents and purposes the call for public participation is nothing more than a cosmetic feature of a predetermined outcome.
The DA believes that the delimitation of wards should be done in a fair, and rational manner and should ensure that the outcomes do not discriminate against communities by undermining service delivery.
The Demarcation Board’s proposal for Schauderville, for example, is that it be divided into three wards with the N2 separating one part of the community from the other.
Apart from flying in the face of its own guidelines stipulating that each cluster of voting districts must form a contiguous ward, the Board’s proposal will impact negatively on service delivery and divide this community.
Ward delimitation should not seek to produce a predetermined outcome that suits a particular political party’s agenda. The delimitation process should be fair and conducted in the interests of the affected communities.
The DA will consider taking whatever necessary steps to challenge the Demarcation Board where they are in clear breach of their own guidelines.
We will do this to ensure that fairness is upheld in this process so as to guarantee that all communities receive fair and equitable access to service delivery.