Bulletin Archives

Volume 19, Issue 1, March 2024
Author: Tinashe
Published: 13 Mar, 2024
The value of political party constitutions in managing conflict within political parties: Heradien v Meshoa and Others
Author: Jennica Beukes

This article discusses the significance of the Heradien v Meshoa and Others (768/024) [2024] ZAWCHC 37 (13 February 2024) judgment. In this matter, Mr Heradien approached the High Court to, among other things, review and set aside his termination and interdict the IEC from filling the vacancy in the municipal council with Mr Nel as the ICOSA proportional representation (PR) councillor.

Resistance to SPLUMA: Traditional leaders' lack of trust in SPLUMA instruments and processes
Author: Xavia Poswa

The article forms part of a series of articles which examines the five major reasons traditional leaders opposed the implementation of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013 (SPLUMA) in the areas they govern. The previous article unpacked the third reason, namely, the exclusion of traditional leaders from the Municipal Planning Tribunals (MPTs). This article analyses the fourth reason, namely traditional leaders’ lack of trust in SPLUMA instruments.

Resistance to SPLUMA: Traditional leaders' lack of trust in municipalities
Author: Xavia Poswa

This is the final article of a series of articles which examines the five major reasons why traditional leaders rejected the implementation of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act of 2013 (SPLUMA) in their areas of jurisdiction. The previous article unpacked the fourth reason, namely, traditional leaders’ lack of trust in SPLUMA instruments. This article analyses the fifth reason, namely, traditional leader’s lack of trust in municipalities.

Do municipalities have the exclusive right to administer refuse removal services and to impose relevant fees in their areas?
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Time and again, the place and role of local government under the new constitutional dispensation is brought under the microscope. What are municipalities responsible for? What kind of decisions can they make? Can national and provincial governments veto municipal decisions? Can they decide where a metro can exercise a municipal function in its area? These are some of the questions that emerge.

Volume 18, Issue 4, November/December 2023
Author: Tinashe
Published: 05 Oct, 2023
Financial interests of councillors: do municipalities make them public?
Author: Wouter Smulders & Jaap de Visser

Item 8 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors provides that each councillor must, within 60 days of his or her election (or appointment as a local representative to the district council), declare to the municipal manager, in writing, interests and gifts.

The Spanish local government system: A model designed for stability
Author: Carmen Navarro

With the advent of the new democratic system in 1978, after 40 years of authoritarian regime, the concern of decision-makers designing local political institutions was to prevent the local arena from becoming a focus of political destabilisation, as it had been in the pre-dictatorship period.

Towards professionalising local government: The Crisis of undue political interference in municipalities
Author: Jennica Beukes

The importance of political parties to representative democracy is well documented. In South Africa’s municipal councils, a majority of councillors serve at the behest of their political parties. Councillors, especially those who serve in the municipal executive, work closely with the municipal manager (MM) who is responsible for ensuring an effective, efficient, and accountable administration.

Court rules on effect of councillor walk-out on district elections
Author: Jaap de Visser

In Electoral Commission of South Africa and Another v Speaker of the uMhlathuze Local Council and Others, the Electoral Court had to deal with what happens when a contingent of councillors refuses to participate in the election of district representatives. The two major questions underlying this judgment are: (1) Must the composition of a local municipality’s delegation to the district reflect the size of the local municipality? Or must it reflect the diversity of parties that voted for the delegation? Or must it reflect both? (2) What are the consequences for the election of district representatives, when a party walks out, and refuses to participate in the election?

The role of municipalities in protecting communities against possible harmful mining
Author: Xavia Poswa

Mining in South Africa often takes place in rural areas, where the main source of the livelihood and subsistence of rural residents is derived from their land and livestock. Mining activities often force people to leave the land they use for subsistence farming and grazing. It results in communities no longer having enough land for farming, therefore severely compromising their ability to make a living.

The misunderstanding of SPLUMA by traditional leaders
Author: Xavia Poswa

This article is the second in a series of articles that unpack the five major reasons why traditional leaders rejected the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management of 2013 (SPLUMA) in their areas of jurisdiction. The previous article analysed the first reason, namely, the lack of meaningful engagement.

Volume 18, Issue 3, September 2023
Author: Tinashe
Published: 07 Aug, 2023
What happens when government fails to listen to rural voices: Constitutional Court declares Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act unconstitutional
Author: Xavia Poswa

In a victory for rural communities, the Constitutional Court declared the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act (TKLA) unconstitutional. The Act came into force shortly before the 2019 national general elections but has now been set aside. The Act regulated aspects of the institution of traditional leadership including the functions of traditional and khoisan leaders, customary law and rural local governance. Why was it declared unconstitutional, and what does this mean going forward?

Constitutional Court gives AARTO the go-ahead: What does the judgment mean for municipalities?
Author: Thabile Chonco-Spambo

On 12 July 2023 the Constitutional Court overturned an order of constitutional invalidity made by the Pretoria High Court (High Court), and instead declared the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) to be consistent with the Constitution. The AARTO will thus regulate the administration, collection and settlement of fines related to road traffic offences, irrespective of whether the offence is committed on a municipal, provincial or national road.

DDM: Beating the silos, or adding bureaucracy?
Author: Johandri Wright

In his Presidency Budget Speech in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa pointed out that government often operates in silos, and lacks coherence in planning and implementation, and that this makes monitoring and oversight of government action difficult.

Local government, crime, by-laws, and law enforcement
Author: David Bruce

This article discusses some of the highlights of the preliminary report on "The state of local government law enforcement” prepared by the Institute for Security Studies for the South African Local Government Association.

Rules for the sometimes unruly
Author: Johandri Wright

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs published a Code of Conduct for Councillors on 14 June 2023 (the new code of conduct). This Code of Conduct was made under section 92 of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998. The new Code of Conduct acts as a supplement to the one in Schedule 7 of the Municipal Structures Act.

Court prohibits a traditional leader from allocating municipal land
Author: Xavia Poswa

In November 2022, an article which examined the implications of the Lepelle Nkumpi Local Municipality v The Bakgaga Ba Ga-Mphalele Traditional Authority and Others judgment was published in the Bulletin. In that judgment, the Limpopo High Court ruled that the Bakgaga Traditional Authority may not allocate municipal land and issue PTOs without the approval of the municipality.

Volume 18, Issue 2, June 2023
Author: Tinashe
Published: 05 Jun, 2023
Deepening democracy through municipal councillor oversight
Author: LGSETA

As a result of the wide-spread and intense criticism directed at local government for failing to deliver on its constitutional mandate, a necessity arise for in-depth study to evaluate the role of municipal councillors in their duty to provide oversight in ensuring policy implementation and accountability. In light of this, the LGSETA commissioned Enterprises UP to conduct research regarding the extent to which municipal councillors succeed in their oversight role.

Municipal debt-crisis: Can Eskom reduce bulk electricity supply to defaulting municipalities?
Author: Curtly Stevens

This article discusses whether Eskom can decrease bulk electricity supply to defaulting municipalities in terms of a bulk supply agreement without informing the local citizens and businesses residing in a municipality’s jurisdiction. This issue was considered in Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v. Vaal River Development Association (Pty) Ltd and Others, where the Constitutional Court (CC) confirmed that Eskom may reduce bulk electricity supply to municipalities, subject to it following a fair process, as prescribed in law.

Municipal enterprises in the energy sector: A case of Germany
Author: Lisa Hagen

This article explores how municipalities in Germany are dealing with the energy shortage since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and outlines the legal framework of municipal economic activity. The war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains across Europe and prompted sharp price increases, especially in the energy market. This has an impact on customers, the economy, and, most significantly, local governments.

The Procurement Bill will be introduced in Parliament: Is it constitutional?
Author: Curtly Stevens

The long-awaited Public Procurement Bill (Bill 2023) will be introduced in Parliament for debate in the second quarter of 2023, after being in the making since 2014. A key question is whether the 2023 Bill in its current form is constitutional. Specifically, does the establishment and the powers assigned to the Central Procurement Office in the Bill encroach on the autonomy of municipalities? This question is likely to be subject of the vetting for constitutional compliance, currently being undertaken by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor.