Statement on DA’s participation in consensus-building meeting on eThekwini Ward Demarcations
The Municipal Demarcation Board met with all political parties on Friday 7 May in the City Hall. At this meeting the ANC stated that its proposals for the 2011 ward demarcation were non-negotiable. The DA requested that no party be allowed to take such a position and that in the 7-day period granted by the MDB, the City be required to host negotiations whereby consensus can be reached on as many of the counter proposals as possible.
We were invited to the meeting on today on Monday 10 May and release the following statement indicating our support for this meeting:
The DA will be in attendance at this meeting. In the spirit of consensus building we are reviewing the proposals tabled by other parties with a view to accepting those where we feel the best interests of the people have been upheld.
As political parties we have the responsibility to ensure that collectively we decide the best ward demarcations for the City and do not leave this task entirely to the Municipal Demarcation Board.
The DA feels it important to acknowledge that there is a difference between the legislated mandate of the MDB not to fragment communities and the stated intention of the ANC that their proposals seek to integrate communities.
To use the example debated during the Friday 7 May MDB meeting, there is no longer such as thing as a “white suburb” as was argued of Westville by the ANC MP Belinda Scott. Any person wishing to move into Westville simply rents or purchases there and moves in. A look at the demographics of the schools in the area and will show that Westville is already an integrated community.
When someone from Chesterville moves into Westville, they leave one community and join another, furthering integration. Integration is not achieved by lumping parts of one community with another in a ward.
It is obvious from the ANC proposals, such as their Ward 52 proposal that their input is frequently less about integration and more about introducing voters which will strengthen the hand of the ANC come election time.
The facts are simple:
1. The legislation seeks to avoid fragmentation
2. The ANC is proposing fragmentation of further communities under the guise of “integration”
Regarding the legal provisions as well as the MDB’s own guidelines:
The 2009 Legal Provisions for Ward Delimitation document stipulates on page 3, item 4.b:
“The need to avoid as far as possible the fragmentation of communities.”
The MDB itself clarifies the question of what a community is on its website under the section Criteria for Delimiting Wards (page 3 of the PDF):
“The need to ensure that residents who think of themselves as a community are able to vote together and are able to participate in ward committees together. It is not always possible to ensure that communities are kept together in the same ward, but, as far as possible, boundaries have been drawn in such a way that individuals can vote and participate in local government together with people they see as their neighbours, and with whom they share common interests and concerns.”