Former Executive Mayor of Mangung Metro Municipality, Thabo Manyoni, has been appointed chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). The board is an independent authority responsible for the determination of municipal boundaries throughout the country.
Manyoni, along with other accomplished members, was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the beginning of March. According to Manyoni, the demarcation of municipalities involves not only the adjustment of boundaries but analysing municipal capacity. “You need to evaluate whether a municipality is able to function as municipality and survive as a municipality financially and otherwise,” he said.
The former mayor has an extensive public service career having worked for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as well as serving as national chairperson of SALGA and as vice-president of the United Cities and Local Government in Africa. Manyoni also served as Acting Premier of the Free State and served a term as a member of parliament.
He stated that the board is guided by reports to determine if a particular municipality should be de-established or not. “If an area cannot have enough revenue or enough resources in terms of human resources such as engineers and so forth, it may not be possible to establish that area as a municipality,” explained Manyoni. “In some instances that area gets incorporated, in simple terms, into another area’s municipality,” he added.
The chairperson emphasised that the MDB is limited to making changes to municipalities within provinces. “The function of the Demarcation Board does not include determination of provincial boundaries. In other words, as the board we cannot for example incorporate the Free State into North West because that would need to be handled by the two provinces and Minister of Cogta, through the constitution,” Manyoni said.
The term of each board runs for five years. Manyoni stated that so far there are no plans to make adjustments to the municipality of Mangaung. “The report that will come out very soon will indicate the metro’s standing, and this will include where weaknesses lie. Then we will talk with the leadership of the said municipality to discuss plans that will make it an economic hub,” he said.