10 December 2010
South Africa’s Municipal Demarcation Board has announced that Buffalo City, comprising greater East London, and Mangaung, comprising greater Bloemfontein, will become metropolitan municipalities after the 2011 local government elections.
Briefing reporters in Pretoria on Thursday, Municipal Demarcation Board chairman Landiwe Mahlangu said the decision followed careful consideration of the two municipalities’ economic activity and integrated development planning.
South Africa’s metropolitan municipalities execute all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation, in contrast to areas which are primarily rural, where local government is divided into district municipalities and local municipalities.
Elections based on existing wards
South Africa’s six existing metros are the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane (which includes Pretoria), Ekurhuleni to the east of Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini (which includes Durban), and Nelson Mandela Bay (which includes Port Elizabeth).
Buffalo City and Mangaung are currently local municipalities that fall under districts: Buffalo City under the Amatole District Municipality, and Mangaung under the Motheo District Municipality.
Mahlangu said that while there was talk of doing away with economically weak municipalities, the 2011 local government elections would be based on the existing 4 277 wards.
“Next year’s elections will be based on the existent boundaries, and that can’t be changed,” he said.