Communities outraged by the actions of the Demarcation Board

By Cllr Marina van Zyl, Gariep Caucus:

Communities are concerned about the newly merged Maletswai and Gariep Municipalities.

For a voice clip in English click here.

For a voice clip in Afrikaans click here.

Outraged community members of the newly merged Maletswai and Gariep Municipalities have come together to voice their concerns:  firstly regarding the choice to merge these two failing municipalities to become one municipality (Eskom debt totalling a staggering R110 million), and secondly concerns over ward delimitation that has taken place.

The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has clearly allowed the ANC to interfere in the demarcation process and allowed them to manipulate the wards to best suit them.  The MDB’s first ward proposals brought to the community differ quite radically from the wards that are published in the Gazette.

It seems as if the proposal made by the Democratic Alliance was not considered at all.  The MDB must, according to the Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998), delimit the wards following the criteria set out in Schedule 1.

The gazetted new wards do not comply with the criteria set out in Schedule 1, namely that the MDB must as far as possible avoid the fragmentation of communities; the topography and physical characteristics of the wards; and lastly the identification of ward boundaries.

The proposed wards include split voting districts which will confuse voters, force them to reregister in a different ward as well as fragment the communities to which they actually belong.  The farming areas may look close to a certain voting district, but are in fact quite far as the terrain to travel is not suitable for even the best 4 x 4 bakkie.

The proposals that the MDB brought, which have been gazetted, still do not even indicate the ward boundary by means of street name, rail line or river and is only a black line on a very poor map.  It is very unclear as to which voters will be split to form part of newly delimited split wards.

Today, I will be submitting the final objections to the MDB regarding the delimitation of wards as per Gazette No. 3544. (Click here for a copy of the Gazette and the map)

The DA will continue fighting for communities where good governance is based on our principles of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.