Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2021

Check out our new Local Government Bulletin website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.