Local Government Bulletin

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)).

Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2020
Author: Jaap De Visser
Published: Mar 31, 2020
The Lockdown Regulations Are Not A Ban On All Informal Food Traders
Author: Jaap De Visser

South Africa has gone into lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. One of the very many concerns surrounding the impact of the lockdown relates to access to food. The rules with respect to supermarkets, and our access to them during the lockdown, are reasonably clear.

Can councillors be legally prohibited from engaging residents and/or advisors before an item is tabled in a Committee or Council?
Author: Frans Rootman (Guest Contributor)

Matters affecting municipalities have become more and more important to residents. Given the constitutional objective to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in matters of local government, how elected councillors are allowed by their respective councils to engage with residents, determines whether residents truly believe that their councillors are genuinely interested in their views.

Volume 14, Issue 2, December 2019
Author: Karel
Published: Dec 05, 2019
Measuring transparency, public participation and oversight in the budget processes of South Africa’s metropolitan municipalities
Author: Dullah Omar Institute & IBP South Africa

The Metro Open Budget Survey (Metro OBS) is modelled on the global Open Budget Survey (OBS) initiated by the International Budget Partnership in 2006. The OBS is an independent, comparative assessment of budget accountability: transparency, oversight, and public participation. The global OBS has been conducted six times and evaluates national government budget processes in 115 countries across six continents. The Metro OBS goes a level deeper by applying the OBS methodology to local government, and assesses five of the eight metropolitan municipalities (metros) in South Africa: City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg, City of Ekurhuleni, eThekwini Municipality, and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. In 2018, IBP South Africa in partnership with the Dullah Omar Institute piloted the Metro OBS across the same five metros. The questionnaire used in this pilot was developed by adapting the 2017 international Open Budget Survey for the South African local government context. After using the 2018 pilot to test and refine the methodology, we rolled out the project in full from the beginning of 2019.

Can a provincial government under national intervention intervene in a municipality?
Author: Gaopalelwe Lesley Mathiba

The Constitution confers on the national government supervisory powers over the provincial (and local) governments. It also affords the provincial government the powers to supervise local government. Generally, this arrangement has the potential to safeguard, track and ensure optimal performance of public service, effective governance, accountability, transparency and sustainable development. Most critical for this article are section 100 of the Constitution, which regulates national government intervention in a province and section 139 of the Constitution, which regulates provincial and national intervention(s) in local government. Within these two provisions, there are different forms of interventions with varying degrees of encroachment. However, a recent judgment by the North West High Court seems to have blurred the distinctions between them. The article seeks to clarify this uncertainty.

Land use management: Where traditional and municipal governance meet in rural areas
Author: Xavia Poswa

Municipalities play a critical role in service delivery, development and democracy. What is often forgotten in the assessment of local government is that, before 1994 (and even before 2000), there were significant parts of the country where no local authorities existed. One of those areas is the rural areas of South Africa, where traditional leaders continue to be the face of local government. This is something which traditional leaders have been for many centuries.

The BRICS Bank: More Money for South Africa’s Municipalities?
Author: Dr. Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill coined the term ‘BRIC’ in 2009 as an abbreviation for a group of four emerging economies that were growing relatively fast- Brazil, Russia, India and China. Although this was initially an acronym for ease of reference, BRIC soon personalised this term. In 2010, after some lobbying from the former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, an invitation was extended to South Africa to join the group, which then took the acronym ‘BRICS’ to accommodate South Africa. There were several countries which could have been invited to join the BRIC other than South Africa. However, South Africa was earmarked as a gateway to Africa. As a regional leader that arguably represents African interests in global forums, South Africa was considered strategic to present a united voice of the global South.

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum focuses on the Localisation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals Agenda in Southern Africa
Author: Phumla Hlati

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), a membership-based organisation established in 1995, and representing about 200 members across the 53 Commonwealth countries, convened its Southern Africa Regional Conference on the 25th - 26th June 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia. Based on the Dullah Omar Institute’s work on multilevel governance and local government in South Africa, the region and beyond, the institute has a long established association with CLGF, dating back to 2005. In its capacity as a member of CLGF’s International Research Advisory Group, the DOI participated at this Regional Conference.

Municipal Cost Containment Regulations: An attempt to curb local government wastefulness?
Author: Melissa Ziswa

The public has long put pressure on the government to curb the resource wastage at the local level. In a bid to contain this problem, on 7 June 2019, the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, with the concurrence of the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), gazetted the Municipal Cost Containment Regulations (the Regulations). The objective of these Regulations is to ensure that the resources of municipalities and municipal entities are used effectively, efficiently and economically. It is also hoped that these cost containment measures will eliminate the wastage of public resources on non-service delivery mandates.

Volume 14, Issue 1, September 2019
Author: Jacob
Published: Jul 18, 2019
The Local Government Bulletin: Back to the Future
Author: Jaap De Visser

The Dullah Omar Institute is very proud to re-introduce the Local Government Bulletin, our regular newsletter with articles, updates and opinion pieces on local government law, policy and practice. The first Bulletin appeared in 1999, on the eve of the first democratic local government elections. The founding editors were Nico Steytler (now South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government) and Johann Mettler (now City Manager of Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality) assisted by Jaap de Visser (now Director of the Dullah Omar Institute).

Amendment of the Local Government Municipal Structures Act: Is local government finally structured for success?
Author: Thabile Chonco

On 21 February 2019 the then Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, delivered his address on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill in Parliament. In his address he stressed that the Amendment Bill is aligned to the tasks that President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned when giving the State of the Nation Address in February 2019. Among these tasks is the need to accelerate inclusive growth, job creation, improving the education system, improving the conditions of life for all South Africans, fighting state capture and corruption, skills development and strengthening the State’s capacity to respond to the needs of the people. Dr Mkhize further stressed that the Amendment Bill will strengthen municipal governance and address the management of local government elections. It remains to be seen whether this will be yet another case of over-promising and under-delivering by our government or a win for effective governance in municipalities.

Provincial governments are not intervening when they are supposed to: The Case study of Emalahleni Local Municipality
Author: Curtly Stevens

The latest municipal audit results (2017-18) released by the Auditor-General (AG), Kimi Makwetu, found amongst others that a third of municipalities are not in a financial position to pay their creditors. The financial woes of municipalities weigh heavily on municipal creditors, in particular, bulk services suppliers, such as Eskom and water boards. As of June 2018, municipalities owed Eskom R18,26 billion with arrears amounting to R9,12 billion while debt to Water Boards stood at R 9,05 billion with arrears at R5,85 billion, respectively.

Municipalities are not off the hook for food security
Author: Jaap De Visser

Food security is typically and administratively considered the exclusive concerns of national and provincial government, but a plausible case can be made that municipalities should and can also play a role.

Can Zimbabwe walk the talk of devolution?
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

The vertical organisation of the state remains a thorn in a flesh in post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa. Various forms of multilevel systems of government have been established throughout the continent, from federalism in Ethiopia (1996), Nigeria (1999) and South Sudan (2011); devolution in Kenya (2010) and South Africa (1996); to decentralised unitary systems in Uganda (1995) and Namibia (1990). These systems, which are often entrenched in the respective constitutions of these countries, have been adopted to advance the realisation of certain objectives linked to development, democracy and peace. National integration and the deepening of democracy in South Africa and many other countries is to a certain extent attributed to decentralised governance. However, some of these systems are not working well, especially on the development front, despite having been in place for some time. Others are yet to function effectively as they have not gained the much needed traction.

Impact of the declaration of invalidity of the Municipal Systems Amendment Act of 2011
Author: Henry Gichana

Background: On 9 March 2017, the Constitutional Court (the Court) confirmed a decision of the High Court, which had declared the Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Act, 2011 (Amendment Act) unconstitutional and entirely invalid. The Amendment Act had mainly sought to make changes to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 2000 (Principal Act) while making a minor related amendment to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998. . The process of its enactment had wrongly followed the procedure laid out under section 76 of the Constitution instead of the appropriate procedure under section 75. The Court confirmed this invalidity in the case of South African Municipal Workers’ Union v Minister of Co-Operative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Others [2017] ZACC 7.