KZN to have most councillors

2010-10-27 00:00

LOCAL government elections will take place in about seven months, before May 30 next year, with KwaZulu-Natal fielding the highest number of councillors in the country.

According to the province’s chief electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, this is because of high voter registration. There are 700 000 new voters in KZN, which means 57 new wards.

MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube spelt out these details at a joint press briefing with Mosery in Durban yesterday.

Dube said this means that a total of 1 763 proportional representative and ward seats will be contested in 51 muncipalities in addition to the 131 seats that make up the 10 district municipalities across the province.

While Msunduzi Municipality has no new wards or additional concillors, there are changes in the district at uMngeni and uMshwathi municipalities.

Fast-growing uMshwathi will get two extra wards and four extra councillors while uMngeni will get an extra ward and an extra councillor

According to Dube, the calculation of the increase in the number of wards is based on a formula set out by the national Co-operative Governance Department.

Durban will have three extra wards and five additional councillors. Municipalities across the south and north coasts and in northern KZN are set to get an extra councillor or two.

The biggest change will be in Hlabisa where due to major boundary changes by the Demarcation Board, the town will lose 11 wards and 21 councillors to Mtubatuba, which previously had five wards, and will now have 28 councillors.

She said that in carrying out the adjustments of the wards she was mindful of the economic constraints of municipalities.

There would have been even more councillors, but the formula was conservatively applied and restricted the number of new wards.

Dube warned outgoing councils not to enter into binding contracts at this time. She said her department has noticed councillors taking up positions in administrations and that it is carefully monitoring the situation to ensure that only qualified people take up positions.

Her department is also preparing manuals and tool kits so that the incoming councils can begin work straight-away

Mosery said the changes in the number of wards means that voting districts have changed. He urged voters to check whether they are affected by the changes.

He said the Independent Electoral Commission will be conducting targeted communications and registration drives in specific voting districts.

It also plans a major voter registration weekend in February next year for people to check if their names are still on the voters’ roll and at which voting station they will be casting their vote.

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