Volume 16, Issue 3, September 2021

Local government elections: to delay or not to delay?

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), finds itself in a conundrum. On the one hand, the terms of municipal councils are fixed to a five year term according to section 159(1) of the Constitution and section 24(1) of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, while section 159(2) of the Constitution requires that municipal elections must be held within 90 days from the day when the 5-year term ends.

Why coalition agreements should be public

In the previous articles of the coalition series in the Local Government Bulletin, it was argued that the proportional representation (PR) electoral system of local government and the absence of electoral thresholds creates the possibility for hung councils to recur in municipalities, making the formation of coalition governments necessary.

Court orders national government to leapfrog into Lekwa Local Municipality

Failed service delivery at municipal level is not a new phenomenon. In recent times, however, communities, non-governmental organisations and private companies alike are growing impatient and resorting to court action to “straighten” failing municipalities. Such is the case of Astral Operations Limited (“Astral”), the largest business and employer in Lekwa Local Municipality (Lekwa) in Mpumalanga.

What happens to interventions after the local government elections?

Too many municipalities are not functioning as they should. The Auditor General has repeatedly reported municipalities’ poor financial management (see 2019/2020 Report). When a municipality fails to provide basic services, the provincial government may, and sometimes must invoke section 139 of the Constitution to address municipal failures.