Ward confusion reigns

New ward demarcations caused confusion for many residents during voter registration last weekend.

Changes in ward boundaries saw many residents being diverted from one registration station to another and this has prompted the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) to call for more education on the changes ahead of this year’s municipal elections.

Chairman Norman Jantjes said residents arrived at registration stations, which are also voting stations, not knowing that the ward numbers had changed.

MURA chairperson Norman Jantjes. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency(ANA)

“This created a lot of confusion. What about the people who took it for granted that their addresses have not changed, they voted before and now they don’t need to register again,” he said. “This will create chaos on election day. We need more education and explanations as to how the borders were changed and which wards we live in.”

The only unaffected areas are Wards 43, Strandfontein, and Ward 75, including Colorado Park and Woodlands, bordered by R300, Jakes Gerwel Drive, Eisleben Road and Highlands Drive.

According to the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) the number of wards for the municipality were determined by the MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell in December last year and the changes are:

  • Ward 76 now includes Mandalay, The Farm and Beacon Valley, bordered by R300, Swartklip Road, Morgenster Road and the railway line.
  • Lentegeur and parts of Portland is now Ward 78 bordered by the railway line, Highlands Drive, Eisleben Road and Wespoort Drive.
  • Portland, including the local sports field, is Ward 79 bordered by Wespoort Drive, Eisleben Road and Spine Road.
  • Rocklands and Westridge is now Ward 81 bordered by Wespoort Drive, Eisleben Road and Weltevreden Road.
  • Tafelsig is now Ward 82 bordered by Spine Road, AZ Berman Drive, Baden Powell Drive and Kapteinsklip train station.
  • Ward 92 is a new ward and covers Tafelsig bordered AZ Berman Drive, Baden Powell Drive
  • Swartklip Road and Spine Road. The ward councillor for this area at the moment reports to Khayelitsha subcouncil.
  • Ward 116 now includes Town Centre and Mitchell’s Plain industrial area, bordered by Morgenster Road, Swartklip Road AZ Berman Drive and Mitchell’s Plain train station.

The City has confirmed that the ward demarcations should not affect service delivery.

They said sub-councils would be reconstituted after the election and the demarcations would come in to effect on Monday November 1.

City spokesman, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said the demarcation of wards was done in preparation for the local government elections.

The term of office for current councillors will end the day before the elections and new councillors will be elected.

Chris Balie, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesman, said there were 24 registration stations in Mitchell’s Plain at the weekend.

MDB senior manager for stakeholder relations and communication Barileng Dichabe said that the number of registered voters as at the national and provincial elections; the norm or average number of voters; and proposals received during the demarcation process determined the demarcations.

She said the process allowed all citizens to make inputs to the ward demarcation through written submissions and public engagements.

Ms Dichabe said the 2019 voter’s roll will be aligned to the amended wards for 2021 and there will be a possible increase during the registration weekend.

“One June 6 2019 the MDB held a ward delimitation public awareness session in the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality, specifically inviting councillors, ward committees and community development workers.

“The municipal manager’s officer in liaison with the officer of the speaker arranged local attendance to the session,” she said.

A public meeting was held on February 20 last year at the City to allow all councillors and other stakeholders to make inputs or submit alternate proposals.

• Voters are encouraged to check their details by SMSing their identity number to 32810 (R1 per SMS); visiting their local IEC office from Monday to Friday during office hours; or the IEC website: www.elections.org.za and follow the link “Am I registered to vote?’.

You may also check the Voters’ Roll at the voting station where you are registered to vote during the voter registration weekend or call toll-free from a landline to the call centre 080 011 8000.