Mangaung in Bloemfontein and Buffalo City in East London are to be re-categorised as metropolitans after next year’s local government elections, according to Chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB), Landiwe Mahlangu.
“After carefully considering the economic activity and integrated development planning, we came to a conclusion that Buffalo City and Mangaung should become metropolitan municipalities with effect after next year’s local government elections,” he said.
Metropolitan municipalities execute all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation. This is in contrast to areas which are primarily rural, where the local government is divided into district municipalities and local municipalities.
Mangaung and Buffalo City will increase the number of metropolitan municipalities from six to eight. The current metros are City of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Cape Town, eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Mahlangu said that while there is a talk of doing away with economically weak municipalities, the 2011 local government elections will 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.
In September this year, Mahlangu presented the Independent Electoral Commission with the final list of ward boundaries.