Bulletin Archives

Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2021
Author: Tinashe
Published: Mar 15, 2021
Check out our new Local Government Bulletin website
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata & Jaap de Visser

The Dullah Omar Institute is excited to announce the launch of a new website for the Local Government Bulletin. The Bulletin is produced by the Institute’s Multilevel Government Project and contains short, accessible articles on local government in South Africa and Africa.

Webinar report: Coalitions in Local Government
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 12 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) convened a webinar on “Coalitions in Local Government”. Close to 100 participants attended, and the panel comprised Jaap de Visser (DOI), Wayne Sussman (election analyst), Jennica Beukes (doctoral researcher, DOI) and James Selfe (Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance (DA)). Michelle Maziwisa (post-doctoral researcher, DOI) was the moderator.

Developing cost-sharing models for provision of improved water in local communities
Author: LGSETA

Water in South Africa is a basic human right. The Free Basic Water Policy states that every South African household is entitled to receive 6000 litres of free water per month. Many South Africans, however, still do not have access to piped water within 200 metres of their homes, particularly in rural areas. It is against this backdrop that this article explores existing water cost-sharing models in rural areas and proposes an alternative cost-sharing model for the South African rural context.

An analysis of the competency levels for ward committee members
Author: LGSETA

Ward committees are governance structures consisting of elected representatives from communities, serving as links between ward councillors, municipalities and residents and relaying concerns of the communities to the elected councillors. The councillors then relay the concerns to the relevant municipal departments and facilitate the implementation of a solution. Ward committee members and ward councillors are expected to act in the best interest of the communities they represent.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

On 29 October 2019, Parliament revived deliberations on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill (Bill). The Bill had been undergoing stakeholder engagement before it lapsed under the previous Parliament. Its revival therefore meant that deliberations on the Bill would start again. After it was revived, the Bill was allocated to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) (Portfolio Committee) which was tasked with facilitating stakeholder engagement. As of 30 October 2020, deliberations on the Bill in the Committee had almost been concluded in readiness for its submission to the National Assembly for Second Reading.

Gender sensitive planning and urban design for cities to respond to GBVF
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) to address Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) aims to create an enabling environment in which women can feel safe. Absent from the NSP is the role of city planning towards this goal. This article will illustrate how gender-sensitive planning and urban design (GSP&UD) together with the implementation of the development principle of ‘spatial justice’, in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA), may serve as a mechanism for the improved safety of women.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A national perspective
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata & Jaap de Visser

On 29 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute convened a webinar on the financial impact of Covid-19 on district and local municipalities. The webinar was attended by close to 80 participants, drawn from government, civil society, the private sector and academia. The theme was unpacked with Prof Tania Ajam, professor in Public Policy, Economics and Finance at the Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership and Dr Mkhululi Ncube, Programme Manager of the Local Government Unit at the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC). The discussion was moderated by Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute. What follows is an overview of Dr Ncube’s presentation to the webinar.

Coalition governments: Guidelines for coalition agreements
Author: Jennica Beukes

At the time of writing the first article on coalitions (published in the Bulletin in September 2020), the local government (LG) elections were a year away. In only five or six months, 533 political parties and around 855 independent candidates will contest the LG elections across all municipalities in South Africa. The number of registered political parties and independent candidates have increased since the 2016 LG elections. The increasing number of political parties and independent candidates along with the absence of thresholds increases the likelihood that hung councils may recur in some municipalities. Threshold requirements aim to limit the number of parties that obtain seats in the council by reserving seats for parties who reach a minimum share of the votes in the local elections.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A Western Cape perspective
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 29 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute convened a webinar on the financial impact of Covid-19 on district and local municipalities. The webinar was attended by close 80 participants, drawn from government, civil society, the private sector and academia. The theme was unpacked with Prof Tania Ajam, professor in Public Policy, Economics and Finance at the Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership and Dr Mkhululi Ncube, Programme Manager of the Local Government Unit at the Financial and Fiscal Commission. The discussion was moderated by Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute. What follows is an overview of Prof Ajam’s presentation to the webinar.

Volume 15, Issue 4, November 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: Nov 16, 2020
Women as candidates in Local Government Elections: What can we learn from the past?
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Evidence has shown that women are more actively involved in elections as voters, than as candidates in local government elections. In the 2016 elections, for example, and according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), 58 percent of voters were women. However, the picture looks very different when it comes to women participating as candidates. Although having women elected into local government is not in itself a guarantee that the elected women will advance women’s issues, not having gender-balanced local governments, creates a democratic deficit. This article starts from the premise that as we look forward to the 2021 elections we ought to take lessons from earlier elections in order to make our election processes more gender transformative.

Skills mismatch in South African local government
Author: LGSETA

In South Africa, with many government-supported growth initiatives prioritising the creation of low-skill jobs and the development of high-level skills, a 2020 research study by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) has examined the effect of the skills mismatch. This study of local government established that South Africa is faced with a prevalence of under-qualified staff and mirrors a 2019 Department of Higher Education (DHET) study of South Africa as a whole showing that almost one-third of workers are mismatched by their field of study. This mismatch can be addressed through on-the-job training, retraining, and new-skill acquisition.

An analysis of the competency levels of senior managers in South African municipalities
Author: LGSETA

Good governance and administrative excellence in local government must ensure effective service delivery to communities. This requires capable, knowledgeable and expert senior municipal managers. This article reports the findings of an empirical survey commissioned by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) to establish support required by senior municipal managers. Such support is especially essential for those managers who do not comply with the minimum competency regulations. The survey also intended to assess current levels of compliance with Municipal Regulations on minimum competency levels and to enhance integrated development planning (IDP) capacity in the local government sector.

Factors affecting local governance
Author: LGSETA

How can we improve the quality of governance in municipalities? What do we need to do in local government to promote stability, allow development to take place and create sustainable communities? A recent research report by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) examined these issues.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill
Author: Thabile Chonco

After the 2019 national and provincial government elections, Parliament revived deliberations on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to strengthen oversight and governance in local government. Many of the proposed amendments touch on issues that have been prevalent in local government for the longest of time. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill (as well as the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill that is covered in a different report).

SCA reinstates the City of Tshwane’s municipal council, for now…
Author: Curtly Stevens

On 27 October 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled in The Premier for the Province of Gauteng and Others v Democratic Alliance and Others that the municipal council of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality must be reinstated. This article discusses the legal and political consequences of the judgment for the City of Tshwane and similarly situated municipalities.

What you need to know about the Municipal Demarcation Bill of 2020
Author: Melissa Ziswa

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs invited members of the public to submit written comments on the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation (Draft) Bill (the Bill) before it is introduced to the National Assembly. The deadline for the submission of comments was the 29th of July 2020. Once adopted into law, the Bill will replace the current Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act of 1998 which, among other things, regulates the demarcation of municipal boundaries and provides for the establishment and functions of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). This article summarises key provisions of the Bill, particularly those which seek to make significant changes to the Municipal Demarcation Act.

Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: Aug 13, 2020
The role of traditional leaders in combating COVID-19 in rural areas
Author: Xavia Poswa

All organs of state have been required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by putting in place measures targeted at containing the virus. In urban areas, it is municipalities that are at the forefront of implementing national, provincial and local measures to curb infections. In rural areas, however, municipalities are working with the institution of traditional leadership in tackling the spread of the virus. Cooperation is often times replaced by competition which creates tensions and conflicts between municipalities and traditional leaders. Obviously, these tensions have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19.

African School on Decentralisation: The impact of COVID-19 on decentralisation in Africa
Author: Curtly Stevens

The African School on Decentralisation (ASD) is a collaboration between the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development located at the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) of the University of the Western Cape and the Centre for Federalism and Governance Studies (CFGS) of Addis Ababa University. The two institutes were to hold the inaugural course of the ASD under the theme ‘Decentralisation and Development in Africa’ from 25 May to 5 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Regrettably, the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) across the continent witnessed from March 2020 necessitated the postponement of the ASD to 2021.

Local government response to the economic impact of COVID-19
Author: Phumla Hlati & Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

The full impact of the nationwide lockdown under COVID-19 restrictions to the South African economy is yet to be fully understood. However, Statistics South Africa estimates that in the second quarter of 2020, the economy contracted by 51 percent. In anticipation of the socio-economic impact, national government announced a R500 billion stimulus package that included various support measures to Small and Medium Enterprises, the informal sector and to municipalities. But what has been the local government economic response to COVID-19?

Western Cape High Court sets a new benchmark for promoting spatial equity, access to land and housing
Author: Paul Mudau

The Constitution does not make explicit reference to ‘spatial equity’. However, the spatial inequalities that are characterised by poor living conditions, continuous struggles for basic amenities, severe shortages of housing stock and an infrastructure backlog, can amount to indirect racial discrimination. Thus, spatial inequalities can clearly implicate the right to equality as stipulated by section 9(2) of the Constitution.

2021 Local Elections, Governance and Stability
Author: Jennica Beukes

During the run-up to the local government (LG) elections, it is not uncommon for turbulence to arise in municipalities because of the potential shifts that can occur in the composition of municipal councils. Uncertainties emanating from the elections that are yet to transpire also feeds back into the municipal administrations, making it fragile during election times. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on LG elections and their impact on the municipal administration.

Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: May 25, 2020
Khosa v Minister of Defense: Municipalities warned on enforcing the Lockdown
Author: Jennica Beukes

The COVID19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of local government. Apart from delivering essential services and helping to mitigate the adverse impact of the Lockdown on livelihoods, municipalities also play a crucial role in enforcing the Lockdown Regulations through their law enforcement and, where applicable, municipal police services. During the Lockdown period, law enforcement and metropolitan police departments (MPDs) have been cooperating with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF) to enforce the Lockdown Regulations.

Gauteng High Court deals decisively with councillor-walk-outs
Author: Jaap de Visser

Perhaps the most important aspect of the job of a councillor is to attend council and committee meetings. Item 3 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors provides that every councillor must attend these meetings and the municipality’s rules of order contain more detailed rules on this. Failing to attend, or to remain in attendance, without having obtained leave of absence, is a violation of the Code of Conduct (item 4(1)). If a councillor fails to attend three or more meetings in a row, the councillor must be removed from office (item 4(2)).

Development charges in South Africa – An introduction to the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill (Part 1)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Picture this scenario: Trollkins Consortium (Pty) Ltd submits a land use application to Nkanyezi Local Municipality, with the proposal to undertake the construction of retail stores, restaurants, offices and a casino. This proposal sounds exciting - on one hand, it will offer employment opportunities, economic development and growth, and will result in the movement of goods and people in the municipality. On the other hand, Nkanyezi Local Municipality is concerned that by approving Trollkins’ application, more water, sewerage and electricity infrastructure will be needed. This means the proposed development could have negative financial impacts such as burdening the current municipal infrastructure without value for use. It could thus potentially burden the municipality as it will have to provide infrastructure to accommodate the additional load that the proposed development will place on municipal bulk infrastructure and unduly benefit the developer who might not pay the true cost of the extended infrastructure or not pay at all.

Development charges in South Africa – the case of in-kind payments and subsidisation of certain categories of land development (Part 2)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Development charges have now received attention in the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill. The Bill contains a new chapter 3A that regulates the power of municipalities to levy development charges from developers in a uniform manner. Part 1 of the series on the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill introduced the Bill and provided a general analysis of its provisions on development charges. In this article (Part 2 of the series), the focus is on the provisions regulating the in-kind payment of development charges, the subsidisation of categories of land development and the permissible uses of revenue from development charges. The article concludes with some reflections on the Bill.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality vs COVID-19: 90 days into the Lockdown
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Since the declaration of the state of national disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Government on 18 March 2020, and the subsequent announcement of a Lockdown by the President on 26 March, municipalities have implemented various measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyses some of the measures taken by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Metro) more than 90 days into the Lockdown. While disaster management is a shared national and provincial government competence, municipalities play a crucial role during disasters in terms of their constitutional functions (listed under Schedule 4B and 5B) and their assigned functions (s99 and 126), such as housing.

Courts as a check on provincial interventions: the Makana and Tshwane interventions
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Provincial intervention under section 139 of the Constitution is one of the many mechanisms available to provinces to rectify problems at municipal level. This provision provides a menu of different interventions which are of a discretionary, mandatory, budget or financial nature. Provinces have conducted many interventions but the record of these interventions is not very good. Many of these interventions actually fail to bring municipalities back on their feet. Choosing the correct intervention without falling foul of the law also seems to be a problem.