Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2010

Constitutional Court Shows the DFA the Door.

The Gauteng Development Tribunal was making land use management decisions and bypassing municipal land-use planning processes on the basis of the DFA. The SCA held that this violates municipalities’ right to administer ‘municipal planning’, listed in Schedule 4B of the Constitution as a municipal power. The SCA concluded that, when the Constitution provides that municipalities have authority over ‘municipal planning’, it includes land-use planning and management. Certain sections of the DFA were declared unconstitutional.

Different Hats Worn by the Municipal Manager in the Tender/Bid Process.

In a recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision, CC Groenewald v M5 Developments, the court held that the unsuccessful bidders had a right, under section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act, to appeal against the municipality’s decision to award a tender. The court cautioned, however, that even though an appeal under this provision was a ‘wide appeal’, involving a rehearing of the issues, it did not allow the appeal authority to revisit all tenders and to award the tender to a bidder who had not appealed or, as in this case, whose appeal was out of time.

Limits on Withholding Municipal Clearance Certificate.

In City of Cape Town v Real People Housing (77/09) [2009] ZASCA 159 (30 November 2009), the Supreme Court of Appeal clarified the meaning of section 118(1) of the Municipal Systems Act. This provision gives municipalities the power to block the transfer of ownership of property in certain circumstances.

Municipal Duties to Occupiers Facing Evictions From Private Land.

While a number of recent judgments have confirmed the duty of municipalities to ‘meaningfully engage’ with unlawful occupiers before seeking to evict them from municipal land, they did not clearly establish the duties of municipalities to occupiers who face eviction from private land.

Property Rates Latest Development.

Property rates, as a form of tax imposed on the market value of land and buildings, are the key source of revenue for municipalities. The framework for the imposition of property rates is carefully regulated by the Municipal Property Rates Act (Act 6 of 2004) (MPRA), which provides municipalities with a measure of discretion in determining and levying property rates in a localised context. The imposition of property rates is, however, subject to national limits or maximums. This article discusses some recent developments with regard to these maximums (ratios), as well as the suggested amendments to the MPRA.

Resolution of SAMWU Strike by SALGA Commendable.

The recent strike by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) centred on two key issues: inequity in wage curves (the income bands according to which workers are categorised) and the disciplinary bargaining collective agreement which governs the union.

The Budget Vote for Local Government.

On 22 April 2010, the Minister for CooperativeGovernance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, presented Parliament with his department’s budget vote for the 2010/11 financial year. The significance of this particular budget vote is that it is the first for CoGTA since the launch of the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS) in December 2009.

Towards a Professionalised Management at Local Government

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has published proposed amendments to the Municipal Systems Act which will do much to promote a more professional administration by way of better-qualified senior management, more impartiality and greater efficiency.

Local Government in Kenya

Like most post-colonial states in Africa, Kenya inherited its local government structure from the colonial government. The City of Nairobi was created by royal charter in 1950 and a local government ordinance was passed in 1960 to regulate local government. Local government in the colonial era was primarily meant to serve the growing white settler community in Nairobi and other areas.