This study investigated whether the petitioning of the Municipal Demarcation Board and protesting for own separate municipality by the Malamulele community of the Thulamela Municipality were influenced by tribalism/ethnicity and lack of service delivery in the Malamulele area. This study has found no evidence which suggests that lack of service delivery and ethnicity are behind the demand for own separate municipality by Malamulele community. A literature review has revealed that Thulamela municipality delivers services to Malamulele as opposed to the claims. The study revealed that politicians from Malamulele hold higher offices in the political governance and administrative structures which demystify perceptions of tribal/ethnicity preferential treatment of Vhavenda speaking areas by the Thulamela Municipality. Instead, this study revealed that the problem is governance paralysis, resulting from lack of participation of Malamulele community members in Ward Committees. It is clear from the evidence obtained from Ward Committee reports that committees are non-functional in the Malamulele area. Very few community members participate in Ward Committee meetings to receive feed-back. Lack of participation could be influenced by the fact that Ward Committees (11 members) are much smaller compared to the vast wards with population ranging from 17,417 in ward 1; 18,247 in ward 7; 17,665 in ward 13; 17,898 in ward 15; 16,212 in ward 18; 12,064 in ward 40 and 14413 in ward 10.
Key words: Governance, participation, service delivery, ward committees.
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