Eastern Cape could have five more wards for 2021 elections

BCM Executive Mayor Xola Pakati
BCM Executive Mayor Xola Pakati
Image: File

The Eastern Cape is likely to have five more wards in the 2021 local government elections, the municipal demarcation board has said.

The province had 705 wards, which the municipal demarcation board is anticipating will likely increase to 710.

This, board spokesperson, Barileng Dichabe said, was this was due to trends which showed that, with every municipal poll, the Eastern Cape had more wards.

Dichabe was speaking to the Daily Dispatch as the demarcation board has embarked on public consultations to ascertain whether the existing wards should be configured ahead of the 2021 polls.

“The process is to obtain inputs from communities on how their wards should be configured,” she said.

The process is typically a messy one with residents refusing to be demarcated to other wards.

However, CEO Muthotho Sigidi said this was unavoidable as they could not have “illegal wards”.

A ward becomes illegal when it has numbers significantly higher than the norm.

But Dichabe said if such instances were to unfold, the demarcation board would return to the ward to find solutions.

She said the “norm average” of a ward was equal to the number of registered voters in the municipality divided by the number of wards in the municipality.

“If the municipality in Raymond Mhlaba has 82,162 registered voters and 23 wards, the norm is 82 162 divided by 23, which equals 3,572.”

She said in this scenario 15% below norm was 3,036, while 15% above norm was 4,108.

“Thus, a municipal ward may have any number of registered voters between 3,036 and 4,108.”

The delimiting process was disrupted in Buffalo City Metro by an unrelated service delivery protest at the East London City Hall.

Sigidi said residents had demanded that the process take place in several venues and not just the City Hall, which Sigidi said would not be possible.

“Where there are disruptions, we’ve told people that if they disrupt this process, we are not going to go back there and are going to publish the numbers [as they are] in May for comment.”

BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya referred queries to mayor Xola Pakati’s spokesperson, Luzuko Buku, who said he was out of town.

The consultative meetings in the Eastern Cape will be wrapped up on March 3 in Libode.

Sigidi said they would consolidate submissions from the Eastern Cape in April and would only be able to tell then whether there were illegal wards.