Assessing the level of stakeholder engagement during boundary demarcation and ward delimitation : case study of Ndwedwe Local Municipality.
Nguza, Zukiswa Nolufefe.
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Creating a sense of belonging for oneself and for a community is a fundamental requirement for human security and resource allocation. The sense of security as referred to in the latter can be in the form of boundaries which mark the territorial segments of an area characterized by different variables, such as the same ethnic group, clan names, and can further be seen as economic, administrative and political representation. During the apartheid regime, boundary demarcations such as ‘homelands’ and ‘group areas’ were used to maintain and enforce political control. However since the demise of the apartheid government, South Africa went through a period of bringing about change and amongst many, was social change, racial inclusivity, encourage integration as well as address land tenure and reform. The post-democratic period in 1994 represented a plethora of legislation and policies that came into effect to undo the scars engraved by disintegration of the apartheid system. To achieve this, the South African government then demarcated municipal administrative bodies guided by the constitution. Municipalities were further divided into smaller segments of wards to help redress the social and spatial inequalities inherited from the apartheid government, as well as help speed service delivery, where in 1998, the Municipal Demarcation Board acted as an independent organ responsible for carrying out demarcations. As an independent body, it has been prevalently faced with many challenges, many of which where their processes have been perceived as being biased in the sense that municipalities with communal land have suffered most. The demarcated democratic local authorities, as well as the long standing traditional authorities have created an overlap of arms of authority and have caused a lot of confusion amongst community members, and this has affected service delivery. In many instances this has led to boundary disputes that members of the community have expressed in an aggravated manner of riots and burning of community and social facilities. The study aims to determine whether or not the result of boundary disputes is caused by the lack of stakeholder engagement during the process of boundary demarcation and ward delimitation. By doing so, the study seeks to accomplish objectives of identifying the drivers of boundary disputes and how they can be resolved, as well as unpack the challenges associated in the process of boundary demarcation and ward delimitation and the key stakeholders involved in both areas. As a tool of collecting and analyzing data, this study has reviewed literature that focused on collaborative planning, territoriality as well as the inclusionary theory. This study has also reviewed government legislations and policies, and has used the latter in analyzing data obtained from the study area though a qualitative method of data collection in the form of interviews questionnaires and focus groups. In order to help speed service delivery, alleviate disputes and ensure good governance, this research study has been interested in investigating the causes of the disputes and the level of stakeholder engagement in the processes carried out by the MDB, using case studies, theories and legislative frameworks, as tools of evaluating and analyzing the demarcation and delimitation processes. The study found that the advancement of institutional criterion that governs the changes of boundaries in their respective hierarchies, has caused confusion to various stakeholders. This has also been primarily caused by the lack of insight in these geographic processes and the pieces of legislation that govern the process of boundary demarcation and ward delimitation. However the study concluded that the MDB has made means of consulting with municipalities and affected stakeholders in their processes, however the affected stakeholders felt that decisions weren’t in their favor. The study then recommended that responsive environments in local government and stakeholder engagement be created, as well as help strengthen the relationship between the stakeholders and the MDB, in which could be assisted by reviewing the criterion currently governing the demarcation processes.