Bulletin Archives

Volume 17, Issue 3, September 2022
Author: Tinashe
Published: Jul 14, 2022
City of Cape Town wants to run the metro railway service
Author: Thabile Chonco

A simple google search of South Africa’s railway leads one to pictures and videos of dilapidated railway networks, in sharp contrast of what one would imagine when told ‘South Africa has the best railway system on the continent [of Africa]’. The dilapidated Goerge Goch station has even become a popular meme on [South African] twitter, often used to express shock at anything but the horrifying state of one of many railway stations in South Africa. Behind the ‘thixo wase Goerge Goch’ phrase, lies the sad reality that the once mighty railway lines of South Africa are quickly becoming no more.

High Court rejects unwarranted deviation from strict procurement rules in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro
Author: Sanelisiwe S. Ntuku

In Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality v Erastyle (Pty) Ltd, the Court had to decide whether Erastyle (Pty) Ltd (Erastyle, the first defendant of eight defendants) was lawfully appointed to provide a service to Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (the Metro). Secondly, whether the payments received by Erastyle from the Metro amount to irregular expenditure in terms of section 32 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

The prosecution of corruption in local government
Author: Africa Criminal Justice Reform

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must prosecute corruption at all levels of government. While much of the focus has been on the capture of national government and national state-owned enterprises (SOEs), there has also been widespread corruption in municipalities.

SCA invalidates by-laws restricting the transfer of immovable property
Author: Marivyn-Blaire Tchoula Tchokonte

In Govan Mbeki Local Municipality and Another v Glencore Operations South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Others, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had to determine the constitutionality of section 76 of the Govan Mbeki Spatial Planning and Land Use Management By-law of 2016, and section 86 of the Emalahleni Municipal By-law on Spatial Planning and Land Use Management of 2016 (SPLUMA) which imposed restrictions on the transfer of property in these municipalities. The constitutionality of these provisions was challenged in Court on the basis that they exceeded local government powers in terms of section 156 of the Constitution read with Schedule 4B. The SCA agreed with the High Court's decision that the provisions were unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

The impact of disaster or crisis on business continuity in the local government sector
Author: LGSETA

A reflection of the impact of disasters in the local government sector provides a good platform for a discussion on the need to implement business continuity plans for municipalities. A business continuity plan refers to the processes and procedures a municipality must implement to ensure that mission-critical functions can continue during and after a disaster or crisis.

Municipalities may not charge fees to protestors for security and traffic control services
Author: Francesca Visage

The right to protest is essential to South Africa’s constitutional order. Protests played an important role in South Africa’s transition from apartheid to the current democratic dispensation. Protests continue to play a vital role in enabling citizens to hold the government accountable. It then goes without saying that the right to protest, as provided for in section 17 of the Constitution, should not be limited unjustifiably. In Right2Know Campaign v City Manager of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, the Court confirmed the importance of the right to protest in South Africa.

Volume 17, Issue 2, June 2022
Author: Tinashe
Published: May 23, 2022
Mines, malls and cellphone masts: how the Constitutional Court confirms the need for municipal approval and government doesn’t seem to want to listen?
Author: Jaap de Visser

In June 2020, the Constitutonal Court handed down an important judgment for local government. In Telkom SA SOC Limited v City of Cape Town and Another, the question was whether Telkom, as a holder of rights under the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), must comply with municipal planning and building regulation bylaws before exercising those rights.

Safeguarding the integrity of councillors and senior managers in local government
Author: Wouter Smulders

On 12 April 2022, the Dullah Omar Insitute (DOI) convened a webinar on 'Safeguarding the integrity of councillors and senior managers in local government'. The webinar, which was supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, had a panel consisting of Prof Jaap de Visser (Director: DOI), Dr Phindile Ntliziywana (State Law Advisor: Eastern Cape Provincial Government) and Ms Phatima Rawat (Associate: Ethics Institute).

Court stops Eskom from withdrawing funds from Renosterberg Local Municipality’s bank account
Author: Francesca Visage

The issue of municipal debt to Eskom is an ongoing concern as noted earlier in the Bulletin. The MEC: Northern Cape Provincial Government: Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs v The Renosterberg Local Municipality forms part of a series of cases that attempts to navigate the issue. While Eskom is permitted to collect its dues from municipalities, it may not do so in a way that significantly impairs a municipality’s ability to operate and deliver services to its citizens.

Court clarifies the interpretation and application of a Municipal Spatial Development Framework
Author: Francesca Visage

In Choisy-Le-Roi Owners v The Municipality of Stellenbosch the Court addressed the question of how a Municipality’s Spatial Development Framework (‘MSDF’) should be interpreted. The judgment confirms that a municipality may not rely on a draft MSDF in making spatial planning decisions and if it does, it runs the risk of having its decision struck down by a court of law. Thus, only the approved MSDF may be utilised when making spatial planning-related decisions.

One step forward, two steps back: 2021 local government elections resulted in lower women’s representation than the last few elections
Author: Michelle R Maziwisa

In our previous article on women’s representation in local government, we reported that the numbers of women elected into office for proportional representation (PR) seats was significantly higher than that for ward seats due to a large part because of the policies of political parties such as the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) which facilitate women’s inclusion in party lists through the ANC’s use of a zebra list – one man, one woman and the EFFs gender equality policy. Looking at the 2021 elections, it is unfortunate that we have taken one step forward, and two steps back.

Volume 17, Issue 1, March 2022
Author: Tinashe
Published: Mar 28, 2022
The declaration and publication of the financial interests of councillors and senior managers: what the law says
Author: Jaap De Visser

In 2021, Julius Malema MP was a director of Mgagao Shamba Pty (Ltd), a farming company. Furthermore, he received two gifts, namely whiskey from Kgantontle Consulting and a pen, diary and USB from the Cape Town Press Club. How do we know this? We know this because it is recorded in the Register of Members Interests which can be downloaded from the website of Parliament. Members of Parliament regularly declare their interests with Parliament’s Registrar of Interests, and aspects of this are published. How does this work in local government? What are the responsibilities of municipalities in this regard? For councillors, it is regulated in the Code of Conduct for Councillors, which appears in Schedule 7 of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998. For senior managers, it is regulated in the Code of Conduct for Staff Members, which appears in Schedule 2 of the Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000.

Local Government in South Africa: Responses to urban-rural challenges
Author: Michelle Maziwisa

The Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) is one of 18 international partners of the LoGov project titled ‘Local Government and the Changing Urban-Rural Interplay’. The project seeks to establish an international and intersectoral training and research network to identify, and evaluate best-fit practices for local governments in order to address the changing urban-rural interplay and manage its impacts. It is funded by the European Commission as part of the EU-Rise Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

AARTO Acts: High Court says national government must respect the autonomy of provinces and municipalities
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

The national government has a shared responsibility with provinces and municipalities to ‘secure the wellbeing of the people’. It may achieve this objective through legislative and policy interventions, among other ways. When pursuing these interventions, it may not do so in a way which infringes the autonomy of provinces except in limited circumstances provided for by the Constitution.

The Local Government Ethical Leadership Initiative
Author: Fatima Rawat & Kris Dobie

The Local Government Ethical Leadership Initiative (LGELI) was launched in December 2020 as a partnership project between the Ethics Institute, the national Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM).

The declaration and publication of financial interests of local councillors in The Netherlands and South Africa
Author: Wouter Smulders

Democracies are built on trust. Citizens must be able to trust that their elected local councillors, members of Parliament and heads of government are honest and transparent. This also applies to their private financial interests, and anything that could affect the way they act in their elected positions. It is important to conduct research, monitoring and advocacy on this.

Court tells the City of Cape Town to exhaust intergovernmental dispute resolution mechanisms
Author: Marivyn-Blaire Tchoula Tchokonte

In City of Cape Town v the Minister of Energy, the Court had to decide whether the case between the City of Cape Town and the national Minister responsible for energy (the Minister) amounted to an intergovernmental dispute which had to be resolved in terms of dispute settlement procedures provided for in Chapter 3 of the Constitution and Chapter 4 of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005. The Court ruled that the dispute between the City and the Minister was an intergovernmental dispute which the parties should have resolved in terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act before any of the parties could approach a court of law for resolution.

Volume 16, Issue 5, November/December 2021
Author: Tinashe
Published: Oct 27, 2021
Women’s representation in the upcoming Local Government Elections
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

After celebrating 20 years of democratic local government, we stand on the cusp of our sixth municipal elections on 1 November 2021. Once again local councillors will be elected for the 257 municipalities across the country. The burning question is, what will this election hold for women’s representation and how will this impact women’s access to improved service delivery. The article explores how women are faring in their representation and participation at the local level.

Virtual budget adoption by eThekwini Municipal Council challenged in Court
Author: Curtly Stevens

The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus is wreaking havoc on human lives and government processes. Like any other government institutions, municipal councils under the lockdown regulations first introduced on 25 March 2020 were initially prohibited from hosting council meetings in person to reduce the spread of the virus. They were instead directed to identify creative ways of undertaking their legislative obligations, such as hosting council sessions virtually in order to adopt municipal budgets.

Can public servants stand as candidates in municipal elections?
Author: Curtly Stevens

This article explores the law on councillor candidacy, particularly as it relates to municipal, provincial and national employees. Officials employed by the government may stand as councillor candidates, in the fifth democratic local government elections, to be held on 1 November 2021. However, there are certain rules that apply.

The viability of e-techniques towards service delivery in municipalities
Author: LGSETA

The demands posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Covid-19 pandemic necessitated the introduction of e-services by municipalities globally. Just like globalisation, the 4IR needs to be accepted and coupled with a pragmatic shift in policies and structures of administration. In fact, research points to the potential benefits the 4IR has to offer, which include the strengthening of service delivery. The purpose of this article is to share some insights into the impact and use of e-service delivery in local government.

Court orders City of Cape Town not to remove political banners of the EFF
Author: Shehaam Jonhstone

In the Economic Freedom Fighters v City of Cape Town and Another, the court dealt with a case brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) against the City of Cape Town. The EFF challenged the constitutionality of the City’s By-law that regulates the general display of posters and banners. The By-law prohibited the display of banners for the purpose of electioneering. The Court ruled that the City should not remove the EFF’s political banners even though their display contravened the City’s by-law. The Court reached this decision based on the value that our constitutional democracy places on the freedom of political parties to campaign for an election.