Civics slam ward boundary changes

The area outlined in green is the new addition to Ward 113, including Dolphin Beach, Waves Edge, and the residential and commercial area up to Marine Circle in Table View.

Table View civic groups are up in arms over new ward boundaries, voicing concerns about the impact on budgets and voter representation.

The budget for an enlarged Ward 113 will prove insufficient to meet its needs, say some critics.

The changes will take effect two weeks after the municipal elections on Wednesday October 27.

The ward has gained the coastal stretch of Dolphin Beach, Waves Edge, and the residential and commercial area up to Marine Circle in Table View. These areas previously formed part of Ward 107, with the R27 being the boundary line.

Ward 113, part of Sub-council 3, includes West Riding, Flamingo Vlei, Killarney Gardens, Sunridge, Parklands, Table View, Blaauwberg Road and Rietvlei. Ward 107, also part of Sub-council 3, includes areas such as Parklands, Sunningdale and Tableview.

The ward’s boundaries were last changed in 2016, and most areas of the ward have seen population growth since then.

Karen Davis, chairwoman of the Greater Table View Action Forum, said the ward had grown but its budget had not. She fears there won’t be enough money to meet requests for more City law-enforcement officers.

“I am concerned that this will also have an impact on the rest of the ward,” she said.

The informal trading plan, which had been promulgated but was not yet active, would also have to redone, causing a further two-delay before one was in place, she said.

“Other than the concerns, the ward councillor is very able and competent, and I am sure that the people in the new addition to Ward 113, will benefit from the new boundaries,” she said.

Ward 113 councillor Dr Joy McCarthy welcomed the changes, saying she was happy to have gained areas instead of losing them.

Asked if the changes would affect the ward-budget, she said, “No, not really.”

Table View Ratepayers’ Association (TVRA) chairwoman Mandy da Matta said the changes to ward boundaries “does not make logical sense”.

The beachfronts had been split into two wards and the “one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing”, she said.

The area from Dolphin Beach up to Melkbosstrand should have been in one ward.

“Each ward has its own needs and its own identity. No wonder the beachfronts do not look well put together.”

Residents should have had an opportunity to submit comments and objections to the changes but now choice but to accept them, she said.

It was puzzling, she said, that the changes would only happen after the elections, so there would voters who would be voting for someone who would not be doing any work in their communities.

“Something is not right,” she said.

Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder said she had lost Parklands North as well as everything from Sandown Road towards Melkbosstrand, but she had no objection to the changes. Budgets would be aligned in the new financial year.

“I will continue to work with the community,” she said.

According to the City’s website, the nationwide demarcation of wards is a law made by an “independent authority” – namely, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) – which demarcates ward boundaries in all municipalities.

MDB spokesperson Barileng Dichabe said ward boundaries were delimited every five years before local government elections.

Boundary changes helped to keep ward responsibilities manageable for councillors, she said.

“The MDB uses voting districts as building blocks for wards, therefore during the ward-delimitation process, depending on the assessments against the ward-delimitation criteria, voting districts are moved from one ward to the next, especially to the wards which are adjacent to one another. This is exactly what happened with ward 113 and ward 107,” she said.

According to legislation, she said, wards in a particular municipality should have a relatively similar number of registered voters as other wards which could also be a reason for the changes in Ward 113.