Municipal Boundary Demarcation in South Africa: Processes and Effects on Governance in Traditional Rural Areas

  • C Nxumalo
  • J Whittal
Keywords: Demarcation, dispute resolution, performance measurement, change management, good governance


After democracy in 1994, South Africa underwent a period of reform in order to address inequalities and effect broad social change. As part of this, the Municipal Demarcation Board began determining the locations of local government boundaries in 1998. The traditional communal lands and rural villages were often split by municipal boundaries which failed to follow complex social boundaries. Contest between the government and traditional governance over land resulted in escalation of disputes. A duality in governance in traditional rural areas was thus created and rural communities were severely affected. This research adopts a multiple case study approach to understand disputes over municipal boundary   demarcation. The causes of disputes are investigated and the processes of municipal demarcation and boundary dispute resolution are analysed using the goals of good governance in land administration, rights, restrictions and responsibilities, Kotter’s eight stages of change management and the 7Es performance measurement frameworks. The analysis shows that the
process of municipal demarcation can be improved and provides proposals which should contribute to reducing boundary demarcation disputes.

Keywords:Demarcation, dispute resolution, performance measurement, change management, good governance


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eISSN: 2225-8531