Joint media statement on the occasion of handover of 2021 ward boundaries to the Electoral Commission

In a move to mark the end of the ward delimitation process, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has handed over 4 468 final ward boundaries to the Electoral Commission (IEC) in preparation for the 2021 Local Government Elections. 

Wards are delimited every five years in metropolitan and local municipalities for electoral purposes necessitated by changes in the number of registered voters as a result of migration as well as the enrolment of new voters on the voters’ roll.

The MDB commenced with the ward delimitation process in 2019 with extensive, public education and awareness campaign, the process that saw the MDB visiting local and metropolitan municipalities meeting members of ward committees, community development workers and public representatives, houses of traditional leaders, Provincial Executive Councils, local, provincial and national inter-government relations forums, South African Local Government Association (SALGA) forums etc.

The ward delimitation process commenced after the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) published the formula for the determination of number of councillors, and the determination and publication of the number of councillors by MECs responsible for local government in the nine provinces. This ward delimitation process commenced in the second half of 2019.

After receiving the final determined number of councillors, the MDB calculated the average number of registered voters allowed in a ward (minimum and maximum) and number of wards for all municipalities in the country. Thereafter, technical sessions were held with municipal officials to prepare draft wards to be used during consultation with stakeholders. Draft wards were circulated to all municipalities in the country and uploaded on the MDB website in preparation for the public consultation process.

The MDB launched the public consultation process in January 2020. The process commenced in February 2020 in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, and Gauteng.  Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a national state of disaster, the public consultation process was cancelled. At that time only 109 out of 213 municipalities had already been visited.

The MDB in consultation with the IEC then revised the ward delimitation programme. The revised end of the ward delimitation process was changed from August to November 2020. The MDB had to give more time for members of the public that could not be consulted through physical contact meetings to submit proposals on how their wards should be configured. The due date for submission of written proposals for Batch 1 and Batch 2 were extended from 31 April to 31 May 2020 and from 31 April to 31 July 2020 respectively.

The MDB received and considered a total of 1 206 submissions from 213 municipalities. 70% of these were accepted and wards determined and published in provincial gazettes inviting anyone aggrieved by the wards to submit objections within 14 days.

At the end of the objection period, 1 465 objections were received. The MDB considered all objections and the Board confirmed and varied wards for all municipalities in the country. 90% of 4 468 wards were confirmed as published and 10% of those were varied.

As one of the core mandates of the MDB, the ward delimitation process is regarded as a crucial step towards deepening local democracy and promoting spatial transformation within communities.

During the last Local Government Elections (LGE) in 2016, there were 4 392 municipal wards in the country. However, for 2021, there will be an additional 76 wards in the country, which brings the total number of wards to 4 468.

MDB Chairperson Mr Thabo Manyoni said: “The Board assures its stakeholders, and most importantly the communities, of its unwavering commitment to engage with them in order to enhance their understanding of demarcation processes. The Board is intentional in its drive to deepen democracy through spatial transformation and looks forward to improved relations and active public participation for its processes going forward.”

IEC Chairperson Mr Glen Mashinini expressed appreciation for the MDB meeting the revised timetable.

“The Electoral Commission is deeply grateful to you and the staff of the Municipal Demarcation Board for finalising the ward delimitation process under the most challenging of circumstances. Despite the obvious impediments and challenges, you made a commitment to deliver the final ward boundaries in two tranches so as to minimise the impact on our preparations for the 2021 elections,” he said.

Mr Mashinini said the handover of ward boundaries allowed the IEC to begin its final preparations for next year’s local government elections, including finalising voting districts and voting station locations, and embarking on voter registration initiatives.

This includes alerting voters whose voting districts may have been split during the ward delimitation process. In total 1 123 voting districts have been split. The provincial breakdown of split voting districts is as follows:

Eastern Cape: 63

Free State: 87

Gauteng: 159

KwaZulu-Natal: 162

Mpumalanga: 247

Limpopo: 45

Northern Cape: 72

North West: 117

Western Cape: 171

All registered voters are urged to check their voter registration details on the IEC website ( or by SMSing their ID number to 32810 (R1 per SMS).



Municipal Demarcation Board:

For media queries: Please contact Barileng Dichabe on 071 354 2612 or email [email protected]


Electoral Commission:

For media queries: Please contact Kate Bapela on 082 600 6386

For media interviews: Please email requests to [email protected]