South Africa: Demarcation Board Urged to Collaborate With District Development Committees

The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, has called on the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to commit to ensuring that the demarcation of municipal boundaries results in the creation of sustainable municipalities.

The committee made the call during a briefing from the MDB on its 2021/22 annual performance plan this week.

Committee chairperson Faith Muthambi has asked the MDB to work closely with district development committees.

"The MDB should be part and parcel of the District Development Model in municipalities, as it cuts across everyone in the value chain," Muthambi said.

The committee made the MDB aware that in some instances, the amalgamation process is directly related to serious municipal financial management problems.

"The overwhelming majority of municipalities briefing the committee in November and December 2020 were of the view that the amalgamation process worsened, rather than improved, financial viability," Muthambi said.

The committee commended the MDB on the finalisation of the ward delimitation process in time for the 2021 local government elections, despite a challenging COVID-19 working environment.

The committee also received a briefing from the Department Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the status of the Local Government Municipal Demarcation Act, which will change its name to the Independent Municipal Demarcation Authority Act, and will be aligned to the Constitution for an independent authority to demarcate municipal boundaries.

The meeting was the start of the portfolio committee's process of considering the annual performance plans, strategic plans and budgets of departments and entities reporting to it.

The process focuses on the allocation of resources to the departments and entities for 2021/2022 financial year.

During the meeting, the committee noted that the MDB has received a clean audit for the last two consecutive years and improved organisational performance from 59% in 2015/16 to 95% in 2020/2021.

The committee welcomed this improvement. However, it challenged the MDB to retain the clean audit status in the years to come.

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