What seemed to be an over-sight by the Delimitation Commission in making boundaries between constituencies and wards, last Friday delayed Kweneng District special council meeting agenda.
Councilor Dux Mafoko of Mankgodi North persistently requested the house to start discussing the boundaries issues before beginning to vote the sub districts’ chairpersons and their deputies. This followed the election and inauguration of the main District’s Chair and Deputy.
His persistence was informed by the fact that in its demarcation of constituencies and wards, the Delimitation Commission combined wards that were far apart and even differed in services’ needs. In other instances, some Wards were detached by the boundaries from their nearest points of services.
A clear example is the detachment of Mmopane and its surrounding areas from Mogoditshane and its attachment to Letsweletau. Residents of the area get services from Mogoditshane. The current bordering groups the peri-urban with the rural ones further north of the new constituency of Mmopane-Lentweletau.
“We have to be clear how we resolve this issue because council budgets are debated in constituencies at sub-districts. This therefore can leave us in situations where an honourable councilor sits on a sub-district while his /her electorates have their projects’ budget debated in a different sub district. In the worse scenario, one can chair a sub-district which does not cover his/her ward,” explained Mafoko.
After short debates where some councilors opined that a motion be tabled to debate the issue while others said it was beyond the council since it was delimitation issue.
They said the Council Secretary, District Commissioner and other staff members should discuss it and advise the house.
The Council Secretary, Wadza Tema, advised that the political boundaries as demarcated by the Delimitation Commission should be untouched. He explained that administratively, nearest destinations to residents, were better for services’ sake. At least that was the precedence the house resolved on in the past. He said in the past after the house debated the issue, following the Delimitation Commission, he and the then Deputy Chair toured the district where such ‘confusions’ had happened to address the electorates.
“Residents of Shadishadi, Sojwe Lephephe and other villages whom through the Delimitation Commission’s decision had to be serviced at Letlhakeng said they preferred to be serviced in Molepolole. That is where they are used to being serviced and the route to that destination is more convenient,” he explained.
Since the same thing applies to the current situation, the same solution can be applied.
“Mmopane, for instance is nearer to Mogoditshane than Lentsweletau. Mmopane councilors should sit in Mogoditshane sub-districts for that is where, administratively their electorates’ access services,” said Tema.
His explanations invited more theories from councilors as some felt it was awkward to have councilors elected at a particular constituency sitting on a different constituency in a different sub-council from which they were elected.
Nevertheless, after lengthy debates the chairperson, Geoffrey Sibisibi had to divide the house between those who were against the Council Secretary’s advice and those who agreed with it and a consensus had to be reached. The latter group won as only seven members raised their hands to oppose.