oa African Journal of Public Affairs - Politics of Municipal Demarcation in the South African Democratic Dispensation  : a case of selected mergers - research

Volume 10 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1997-7441



The purpose of this article is to reflect on the implications of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB)’s involvement in capacity assessment as well as public and stakeholder participation regarding municipal demarcation processes. In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), the MDB has the autonomous mandate to determine municipal boundaries. In doing so, the Board must consider the capacity of a district or local municipality concerned in order to perform its functions and exercise its powers when determining or re-determining boundaries. This article is theoretical and qualitative in nature as it gathers information by means of a literature review and policy interpretation. The article argues that, while the Board is entrusted with the authority to fulfil its legislative mandate, ideally there has been a fallout in certain decisions. It is often argued that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) manipulates the scope and functioning of the MDB to befit its political aspirations through the merger of certain municipalities throughout the country. This is often evident when the affected municipal communities express dissent against the major determinations and re-determinations across the country, conveying dissatisfaction with the decisions made by the Board. The article concludes that, any review of boundary determination or re-determination must consider the concerns of the municipal community beforehand in order to avoid violent protests. To avoid challenges associated with demarcations, the public ought to be actively involved in all the processes that affect the development of their own territorial spaces.

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