Thematic Areas

Policy and regulatory framework on local government
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

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.

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).

The Future of Local Government: According To The ANC.
Author: Douglas Singiza

The ANC’s National General Council (NGC) is a forum at which the organisation’s progress and challenges are reviewed between national conferences. It is the highest body of the ANC, after the national congress, and convenes every five years. The third NGC, which sought to review the ANC’s performance against policies adopted by the Polokwane conference, was held in Durban in September. Its important outcome for the local governance sector is that there will soon be a summit on local government.

Implementing the Property Rates Act: Geeting the Policies, By-laws and Resolutions Right.
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

As from 1 July, all municipalities must implement the Municipal Property Rates Act. This requires all municipalities to have a proper rates policy, which is in turn implemented in a by-law and a rates resolution. Among the municipalities that have implemented the Act thus far there is great confusion about the exact content of the policy and by-law. The danger in this uncertainty is that if the policy and the by-law do not correctly implement the Act, a municipality's ability to enforce payment of rates may be fatally flawed.

The End of An Era: The Abolition of Floor Crossing.
Author: Annette Christmas

On 30 June 2008 three important Bills proposing the abolition of the practice of floor-crossing. If passed, the bills will see an end to this much-debated practice and the legislation enables it. They represent the response to a growing chorus of discontent from politicians and members of the public about the impact of floor-crossing.

Upper Limits for Property Rates.
Author: Prof NIco Steytler

The Minister may prescribe a ratio between the rate on residential property and that on any non-residential properties.In terms of the regulations the rate on agricultural properties may not be more than 25% of that imposed on residential properties. Agricultural properties are defined as farm properties used for agricultural purposes, farm properties not used for any purpose, or smallholdings used for agricultural purposes. The term ‘agricultural purpose’ excludes the use of a farm property for the purpose of ecotourism or for the trading in or hunting of game.

Framework for Condoning Non-Compliance with Property Rates Act
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

Condonation may be given only on good cause shown and the MEC may impose conditions. However, the MEC must exercise this power within a framework prescribed by the Minister responsible for local government, which was issued by the Minister on 29 April 2009.

The Right to a View.
Author: Annette Christmas

When first confronted by the facts of the case in The Municipality of the City of Cape Town v Reader and Others, one is tempted to think that it is yet another judgment dealing with the notorious question of whether property owners have a ‘right to a view’. This is especially true as the facts bear a striking similarity to earlier judgments that have dealt with this issue. This judgment, however, stops short of deciding whether the applicants are in fact entitled to ‘a view’. It deals rather with the question of whether the appeal procedures set out in section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act afford interested third parties (very often neighbours) affected by the planning decisions of a municipality an adequate platform from which to appeal those decisions.

Guidelines For Multilingualism in Local Government.
Author: Leah Cohen

The Department of Provincial and Local Government recently announced draft Guidelines for Implementing Multilingualism in Local Government. The draft Guidelines attempt to provide for more systematic arrangements in meeting the linguistic needs of those who lack proficiency in English, or who are illiterate or disabled.

Land Use Management Bill: A First Step Toward Ending Spatial Fragmentation.
Author: Leah Cohen

The Department of Land Affairs has tabled the long-awaited Land Use Management Bill, No 27 of 2008 (the Bill). The Bill, scheduled to be passed this year, attempts to give effect to the 2001 White Paper on Spatial Planning and Land Use Management by establishing a coherent regulatory framework for land use management across the country. It is designed to clarify land use management roles among different spheres of government and establish a uniform structure and set of principles for reviewing and deciding development applications.

The Demise of Local Democracy?
Author: Johan Mettler

The recent electricity hikes have affected everyone from government to the private sector, and not least of all, the ordinary man on the street. As organs of state, municipalities, Eskom, the National Energy Regulator and the Minister of Finance may not act outside of the law. This article raises concerns about the legality of the electricity increases and the implications it has for local government.

Laying the Foundation for the Local Government Turnaround Strategy.
Author: Sheila Hughes

After a decade of significant advancement in the provision of services to all communities, the Policy Review on Provincial and Local Government (COGTA 2009) and other research demonstrated that confidence in government at the local level has begun to decline sharply. Service delivery protests and dissatisfaction with local government have increased over the past few years, with growing evidence that faltering service provision, poor capacity and weak administration have driven many municipalities into ‘distress’ mode.

The New State Liability Bill.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

This article critically assesses the Bill and the proposed constitutional amendment, particularly in respect of their impact on local government. In so-doing, it will examine the case law and legislative developments that preceded these bills.

The National Land Transport Act
Author: Dr Yonathan Fessha

The long-awaited National Land Transport Act was signed into effect by the President on 3 April 2009. It deals comprehensively with all aspects of transport, including the provision, regulation and funding of public transport and the taxi industry. It is the product of numerous efforts over the past decade to outline each sphere of government’s responsibilities. Importantly, it envisages a significant role for municipalities.

Ward Funding Guidelines: Posing More Questions Than Answers?
Author: Glen Hollands

The drafting of the framework seems to suggest that the discretion afforded to municipalities in legislation in terms of funding ward committees has not been properly exercised. (Why else would a national department seek to legislate in this matter?) It is also possible, in an era when many municipalities face claims of financial mismanagement and maladministration, that the drafters wanted a clear model for ward funding in order to avoid perceptions of irregularity. Research on ward committees to date does not suggest that either of these issues should have been a priority for DPLG. What is fairly apparent is that for various reasons there has long been pressure to disburse more money to ward committee members and that countrywide the ward committee system seems to have faltered.This article provides a brief overview as well as a critique of the key components of this framework.

Formulating the Pillars of a Turnaround Strategy
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The Community Law Centre recently brought local government practitioners together to discuss the elements that are fundamental to any turnaround strategy. The following recommendations are some of the key deliberations of that meeting.

Budget Regulations and Formats 2009.
Author: Provincial Treasury

The Municipal Budget and Reporting Regulations (‘Budget Regulations’) came into operation in April 2009. They give further content to the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) of 2004 and regulate issues such as municipal financial policies, the annual budget, adjustment budgets, in-year reporting and noncompliance with time provisions. Furthermore, the Budget Regulations aim to provide clearer and more stringent regulations around matters of unforeseen and unavoidable expenditure. They also deal with expenditure that is unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful.

All Shapes and Sizes
Author: Reuben Baartjies

Local government, in its democratic form, is a mere nine years old. However, the amalgamation and consolidation of municipalities and the establishment of new ones have all taken place at different times. The result is that the exact stage of development in which any given municipality finds itself may differ vastly from that of its neighbour. In the pursuit of developmental local government, the establishment, consolidation and sustainability phases that the sphere has undergone (and continues to undergo) have been well documented.

Tackling the Developmental Challenge Head On.
Author: Ashraf Adam

Constitutional democracies are often ‘messy’. Systems in a democracy are largely dependent on a number of processes. If these processes are not synchronised, it may lead to development trajectories that are not determined by common visions, but are rather informed by the vicissitudes of those who participate in those processes.

Amendments to the Structures Act: Last Minute Changes
Author: Nico Steytler

On 21 September 2000 the National Assembly approved important amendments to the Municipal Structures Act. The National Council of Provinces Approved the bill on 3 October. It is expected that the Local Government Structures Amendment Bill B51B-2000 will become law by middle-October.

HIV and AIDS: Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality's Response.
Author: Marije Versteeg

HIV&AIDS is much more than a health problem. It is a developmental challenge that affects local government in various ways. in the last issue, we looked at how municipalities can apply the concept of mainstreaming as a strategic way to address this enormous challenge and Ethekwini Metro shared their experience and lesson learnt.

Local Government Under the Spotlight: DPLG's Policy Review Process
Author: Dr Jaap de visser

On 31 July 2007, the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) initiated a policy review process of provincial and local government. It will ultimately result in a first White Paper on Provinces and a discussion document on local government. The process will be a national debate, comprising a public participation process, research and a review of experience.

The Duty to Involve the Public: The Constitutional Court Speaks.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The Constitutional Twelfth Amendment Act altered the basis for determining provincial boundaries and resulted in, among other things, in the changing of provincial boundaries between Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. It effectively relocated the local municipality of Matatiele from Sisonke District Municipality in KwaZulu Natal to the Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape and relocated Umzimkhulu Local Municipality from Alfred Nzo District Municipality into the Sisonke District Municipality in KwaZulu Natal.

Choosing a Service Provider: Section 78 of the Systems Act
Author: Mark Pickering

Municipalities are under heavy pressure to extend and improve the delivery of municipal services. A wide range of policies, legislation, institutions and resources have been put in place to facilitate this process.

The SALGA Country Guideline For Local Government on HIV and AIDS.
Author: SALGA

As one of the mandates of local AIDS councils (LACs) is to advise government on policy issues related to HIV and AIDS, political representation in the LAC helps ensure that crucial inputs on AIDS councils reach the agenda of the municipal council. This is one example of the type of local government leadership required to ensure widespread and sustainable responses to HIV and AIDS at the local level.

Review of the White Paper on Local Government: A Civil Society Perspective.
Author: Good Governance Learning Network

This submission by the Good Governance Learning Network to the local government review provides an assessment of the practice of local governance in South Africa since the introduction of the White Paper in 1998. It is structured around three key thematic areas, which we believe together encompass the entire spectrum of issues that need to be reviewed

The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act.
Author: Wendy Fanoe

The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act gives effect to section 229 (1) and 229 (2) of the Constitution and is one of the final building blocks in the creation of a regulatory framework to coordinate macro-economic tax policy objectives across all three spheres of government.

Return to Sender: Municipalities and the Postal Services Act
Author: Omolabake Akintan

The Postal Services Act of 1998 stipulates that delivery of all "letters, postcards, printed matter, small parcels..." is a reserved service which may only be performed by a licensed provider. The delivery of Bills, statements of accounts, notices and such documents sent by municipalities to consumers of municipal services falls within the definition of reserved services.

Immunity for Councillors: Testimony Outside Council.
Author: Reuben Baartjies

Councillor's immunity from civil liability for anything they say in council is an important cornerstone of constitutional democracy and protects councillors from defamation actions. But the ambit of the immunity is not without limit.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

Does Item 12 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors prevent Councillors from acquiring municipal property?

The Property Rates Act: A Tool For Poverty Alleviation.
Author: Achmat Toefy

Property rates are an important source of revenue for municipalities and this is reflected in the preamble to the Property Rates Act of 2004.There is a need to provide local government with access to a sufficient and buoyant source of revenue necessary to fulfil its developmental objectives. At the same time, however, a municipality's financial health should not be attained at the unjustifiable expense of the poor within its area. The power to impose rates should take into account the imbalances of the past and the burden of rates on the poor.

Cross-Boundary Municipalities to Dissapear: New Provincial Borders.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

Cross-boundary municipalities are set to disappear on the date of the forthcoming elections local government election. On that date, provincial borders and the current cross boundary municipalities will be incorporated in one or other province. Five provinces are affected by the disappearances of 16 cross border municipalities. In addition, there will be a shift of municipalities between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Service Delivery Agreements: Renegotiations and Amendments.
Author: Victoria Johnson

Contract renegotiations and amendments are a relatively common feature of long-term service delivery agreements and public-private partnerships. The legislature has recognised this in existing and newly promulgated legislation which clearly aims to limit risks associated with contract amendments.

The PPP Procurement Process.
Author: Gladys Mawoneke

The Public-Private Partnership procurement process overlaps in many respect with the recently published Supply Chain Management Regulations. The overlap occurs where a proposed transaction is both a PPP and one of the matters to which the SCM regulations apply. Although the focus in this article is not on the SCM regulations, any attempt to discuss the PPP procurement process separately from the SC, regulations would be incomplete.

Who Can Dismiss a Municipal Manager?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The recent controversy surrounding the municipal manager of the Central Karoo District Municipality raised important questions regarding which sphere of government is responsible for the conduct of a municipal manager. Ultimately , who has the power to dismiss a municipal manager?

District Management Areas: Municipal Demarcation Board Changes Policy.
Author: Dr Vuyo Mlokoti

The Municipal Structures Act of 1998 mandates the Municipal Demarcation Board to declare part of an area that must have both district and local municipalities as a district management area, if the establishment of a category B municipality in that part of the area will not be conducive to fulfilling the objectives of section 24 of the Demarcation Act.

Property Rates Act in Operation.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

After some delays, the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004 was finally brought into operation on 1 July 2005. This comprehensive Act institutes a uniform structure to the levying of property rates, which was previously governed a number of old provincial ordinances. This article highlights only a number of key features of the Act.

President's Co-ordinating Council Meets.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The President's Co-ordinating Council is a consultative forum for the President to raise matters of national interest with Premiers and organised local government on the implementation of national policy and legislation in provinces and municipalities. This article discusses the role of the forum with a specific focus on Project Consolidate.

KwaZulu-Natal's New Premier Co-ordinating Forum
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

On 19 April 2005, a new intergovernmental forum was launched for the provincial government and municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. The Forum reflects the structure and spirit of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill of 2005 currently before Parliament. This article discusses the objects, composition, functions, and functioning of the forum.

The New Municipal PPP Regulations.
Author: Kate Reynolds

Regulations governing public/private partnerships in the local government sphere came into effect on 1 April 2005. Section 120 of the Municipal Finance Management Act also regulates PPP's and the new PPP regulations have the effect of elaborating or expanding on some of the concepts introduced in section 120.

Service Delivery Agreements: Who Reads Them?
Author: Victoria Johnson

Who can own up to having read a standard service delivery agreement from start to finish and having understood it all? Very few people, i imagine. In the main, service delivery agreements are notoriously long, complex and wordy and are usually filled with legalese. They make little attempt to help the reader gain a meaningful understanding of the basic terms governing the contracting parties relationship. In short, they are inaccessible to the ordinary reader.

Applying the New Section 139 Intervention Powers: Issues Arising from Practice.
Author: Jaap de Visser

Section 139 of the Constitution permits a provincial government to intervene in the affairs of a municipality under certain specified circumstances of non-performance. Such an intervention has serious consequences for the municipal council's authority to govern. In 2003, provincial government's intervention powers were increased significantly. Most importantly, the revised wording for the dissolution of a council and for interventions in the event of so-called financial emergencies.

Salga's New Constitution.
Author: Nico Steytler

At its National Conference in September 2004, Salga adopted a new constitution that makes fundamental changes in how organised local government functions in South Africa.

Single Public Service: Challenges Ahead
Author: Abdul-hakim Issa

For many years, municipal councils have enjoyed the freedom to determine the recruitment, appointments, promotions, transfers and dismissals of their employees. This is in line with section 160 (1) (c) of the Constitution, which provides that a municipality may employ personnel that are necessary for the effective performance of its function.

Salary Increases For Councillors.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

Councillors may see an increase of 7% in their salaries, benefits and allowances. This was the recommendation to the President by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

Equal Gender Representation? Audit of Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Salga conducted an audit to determine the extent to which woman are represented and participate in local government. It focused on two areas: the elected representatives and the employed officials in municipalities. The purpose of the audit was to determine if women's representation has increased since 2000.

Municipal Services: Is Chapter 8 of the Systems Act a Help or a Hindrance?
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The new definition of municipal services puts even more services within the ambit of Chapter 8 of the Systems Act. Municipalities are already under heavy pressure to extend and improve delivery of municipal services.Chapter 8 of the Systems Act is supposed to facilitate this process, but it is questionable whether it achieves its purpose or whether it instead puts additional burden on already limited municipal resources.

From the Courts:
Author: Jaap de Visser

Does a Town Clerk have the Authority to Institute Legal Proceedings on Behalf of the Municipality?

Employment Equity Act
Author: Professor Darcy du Toit

There are those who say that the old South Africa is alive and well in the workplace. The upper levels of many organisations remain white and male dominated. Left to market forces, transformation proceeds at a snails pace.

From SALGA: Legal and Constitutional Working Group
Author: Kishore Harie

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the body representing the local government sphere nationally, as well as its provincial affiliates have recognised the need to ensure that organised local government plays a meaningful role in shaping legislation transforming local government.

Status of local government
Author: Nico Steytler

The Constitutional Court has affirmed that the new constitutional order confers on local government the status of an autonomous and distinct component of government. Local government is no longer merely exercising powers delegated to it by the national or provincial government: Instead municipal councils are legislative assemblies and their legislative acts, which include levying taxes and adopting budgets, are not subject to administrative review by the courts. Although decided under the interim Constitution, the decision in Fedsure Life Assurance Ltd v Greater Johannesburg Transitional Metropolitan Council 1999 (12) BCLR 1458 (CC) reinforces the new and increased status the 1996 Constitution accords local government.

Michael Sutcliffe - Municipal Demarcation Board
Author: Michael Sutcliffe

Over the past two months the Municipal Demarcation Board has focused on the following: Developing a framework within which the demarcation process would occur before the 2000 elections: Building an institutional base for the board: Finally, developing relationships with stakeholders and role-players. This report briefly outlines key aspects each of these.

From the Courts: Licence to Trade: Who decides?
Author: Charmaine Mare

Six informal beach traders made an urgent review application to the Cape High Court in December 2002 against the City of Cape Town after their applications for trading permits for 2002/03 were unsuccessful.

Citizen's Access to Information: The Information Manual
Author: Geraldine Smith

The Bill of Rights provides that any person has the right of access to any information held by the state. This includes information held by a municipality. The Constitution further provides that national legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right. This prompted the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2002.

From SALGA: Report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill
Author: Johann Mettler

The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government passed this Bill on 22 October 2002 and the National Assembly passed two days later. The Bill at the time of writing is scheduled to be passed by the National Council of Provinces on 7 November. It should be signed into law by the middle of November.

The Delegation System: Who Does What?
Author: Alison Gray

All municipalities must develop a system of delegation in terms of the Municipal Systems Act. A delegation is when a person or structure delegates functions that originally vested in it to another person or structure to do.

Crossing the Floor: The Judgment
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 4 October the Constitutional Court ended a period of political instability that started just less than a year ago with the break up of the Democratic Alliance (DA). The eagerly awaited judgment of the Court declared as unconstitutional the Acts that relate to crossing the floor at local government level, namely the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act 20 of 2002 and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Act 18 of 2002.

Crossing the Floor: The Ruls of the Game
Author: Jaap de Visser

The President has signed a set of Bills into law that allow for crossing the floor, This article summarises the Bills insofar as they deal with councillors. The Bills amend parts of the of the Constitution and the Municipal Structures Act

Municipal Finance Management Bill under Scrutiny
Author: Jaap de Visser

During February and March 2002, the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Finance received submissions on the Municipal Finance Management Bill. This article summarises concerns about the Bill which were raised by the Community Law Centre.

Crossing the floor: Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Author: Jaap de Visser

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has published a proposal to amend Constitutional provisions for municipal elections. The new provisions would, among other things, allow councillors to cross the floor without losing their seats.

President's Coordinating Council sets Agenda for Local Government
Author: Nico Steytler

At a special President's Coordinating Council (PCC) workshop on 14 December 2001, the agenda was set for building a strong and development-oriented local government. The PCC adopted wide-ranging resolutions which chart the way forward in both the short and medium term.

The Duty To Have Meaningful Engagement Before An Eviction.
Author: Siyambonga Heleba

On 19 February 2008 the Constitutional Court (CC) considered an appeal by more than 400 occupiers of two buildings in the inner city of Johannesburg against a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal. The decisions of the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court are discussed in this article.

Subsidiarity in the Constitution.
Author: Professor Jaap de Visser

What is subsidiarity? Subsidiarity is a general principle that says governance should take place as close as possible to the citizens. It translates into the protection of lower levels of government against undue interference by national government. It also translates into a preference for placing functions and powers at lower levels of government where possible.

Reflections on Local Government: Creating a More Viable and Relevant Vision for Local Government.
Author: David Schmidt

This is article was prepared by Davids Schmidt for the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) to stimulate debate and discussion in the GGLN as part of their process of preparing submissions for the DPLG's review of local government. However, the views expressed are his personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of the GGLN or its members. This article focuses on three key areas of reform. (1) The need to rethink the current legislative and regulatory requirements regarding participation. (2) The need to simplify and 'unbureaucratise" the specified municipal planning processes. (3) The need for an updated, more dynamic vision for local government that recognises the need for a much more differentiated approach to different kinds of localities.

The New Municipal Property Rates Regulations: Mere regulation or Irrational Ratios?
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

On 19 December 2007 the Minister of Provincial and Local Government published for public comment draft regulations on property rates. The draft regulations set ratios for municipal property rates on different types of property. A key ratio that stirred much controversy was that the rate on state-owned property should be no more than of the rate on residential property. This has been slammed as unconstitutional and a threat to municipalities financial sustainability. Moreover, the draft regulations determine that rates on categories of property may not be increased by more than the Consumer Price Index.

The Strangulation of Local Government: Stifling Innovation, Experimentation and Local Responsiveness
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

In the past decade, local government has experienced a mass of legislation regulating its functioning. The question is whether the sheer volume, style, nature and scope of this legislative framework is facilitating or obstructing the achievement of local government's mandate of development. This article argues that the overload of laws may be strangulating local government's execution of its mandate. The revision of the White Paper on Local Government should therefore also look at the extent and manner of regulation.

New Electricity Regulations: Shocking Municipalities Into Action?
Author: Professor Jaap de Visser

Municipalities will play a key role in the government's response to the electricity crisis. In the wake of the recent peak in the ongoing electricity shortages, the Department of Minerals and Energy published draft regulations that aim to minimise electricity load-shedding and blackouts and improve the quality of electricity supply. To this end, a series of measures is proposed. The regulations are directed at licensees which include municipalities that sell electricity with a license from Eskom.

Facing the Language Challenge
Author: Hennie Strydom

The entrenchment of multi-lingualism in section 6 of the 1996 Constitution confronts the South African government with the obligation to design and put into practice a language policy that will give effect to the constitutional directives on multi-lingualism.

Evictions: Municipalities and the Constitution: The Right to Housing.
Author: Sandra Liebenberg

Two court cases dealing with evictions: Case One: Vanessa Ross v South Peninsula Municipality (1999) JOL 5298 (C). Case Two: Grootboom and Others v Oostenberg Municipality, Cape Metropolitan Council, Premier of the Province of the Western Cape, National Housing Board and Government of the Republic of South Africa (Case no: 6826/99)0

The Right to Equal Treatment by a Municipality
Author: Jaap de Visser

The immense importance of the principle of equality in this country is reflected in the very first section of the Constitution in which it is stated that the achievement of equality is one of the founding values of the Republic. Local authorities in particular, have been subjected to many court cases in which their acts or legislative provisions, whether they concerned property or electricity, rates, zoning conditions or even dog licenses, have been alleged to be in conflict with the equality clause.

Municipal Systems Bill: Erecting the Third Pillar
Author: Johann Mettler

On 6 August 1999, Minister Mufamadi published the Local Government: Municipal Systems Bill, 1999 for public comment. The Bill. after due consideration of any comments, should enter the parliamentary process by the end of October 1999 at which stage the public will be given a further opportunity, in the form of public hearings, to make representations.

Woman's Role in India's Village Councils
Author: George Mathew

India was one of the first countries to introduce a mandatory quota system to enhance woman's representation in government. What is unique about the Indian system is that the quota is also applicable to top positions in government, and a third of all mayors in India today are woman. South Africa can learn from India's experience in order to create a more equitable environment for woman.

Gender and the Budget.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

While budgets have been instrumental in transmitting and reproducing gender biases, they also offer the possibility for transforming existing gender inequalities. It is important to note that a gender budget is not a separate budget for gender activities and issues, rather, it is the normal budget from a gender perspective or analysed through a gender lens.

Responsibilites of Municipal Managers: The Municipal Finance Management Act
Author: Adv Jan F Koekemoer

The Municipal Finance Management Act is a very prescriptive piece of legislation and should not be read piecemeal, but worked through as a whole. Many chapters and sections are inter-related. For example, the duties of the municipal manager and the accounting officer of the municipality are not found in only one chapter but are scattered throughout the Act.

Who Appoints the Municipal Manager?
Author: Geralinde Mettler

In terms of section 82 of the Municipal Structures Act, not only a municipal council can appoint a municipal manager. Furthermore, section 30 (5) of the Structures Act states that, before a municipal council can decide on the appointment of a municipal manager or of the head of a municipal department, the executive mayor or the executive committee must submit a report and recommendation concerning the appointment and conditions of employment.

Guidelines For Ward Committees: Strengthening Participatory Governance
Author: Geralidine Mettler

Following a national conference on ward committees in June 2003, the Department of Provincial and Local Government published its long awaited Draft Guidelinies for the Establishment and Operation of Municipal Ward Committees for comment. The Guidelines aim to streamline the process of establishing ward committees and their internal operations and are a product of comments and suggestions received at the conference.

Strategic Framework for Water Services: Water is Life, Sanitation is Dignity.
Author: Abri Vermeulen

Eight years after the White Paper on Water Supply and Sanitation was published, the National Cabinet approved the strategic framework for Water Services on 17 September 2003. Much has been achieved and the White Paper was used a departure point in formulating the framework, but since 1994 the context has changed significantly.

No Safeguards for Municipal Property.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The recent judgment in the appeal case of Munisipaliteit van Ngwane & Vrystaat Munisipale Pesioenfonds 254/ 2002 AD has attracted much attention and comment from local government practitioners. At issue is whether a municipality falls within the definition of 'state' as referred to in the State Liability Act 20 of 1957, in terms of which no warrant of execution cab be issued against any state owned property.

Rooting Out Corruption: Code of Conduct and Disclosures of Financial Interests.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

Councillors are elected to represent local communities on municipal councils, to ensure that municipalities are accountable to their communities. In fulfilling this mandate, councillors must abide by the Code of Conduct as set out in Schedule 5 of the Municipal Structures Act, which requires them, among other things, to disclose their financial interests and refrain from using their positions as councillors for personal gain.

Making Headlines: Dismissal of Councillors ini Gauteng
Author: Coel Kirkby

More than 100 municipal councillors and officials have been dismissed or forced to resign over the past five years in Gauteng's municipalities following investigations into fraud, corruption and absenteeism. The most common offences discovered by the office of the Auditor General and its investigative units were maladministration, fraud and corruption.

Powers of the Speaker?
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

The Speaker of the Lejweleputswa District Municipality convened a council meeting on 15 July 2003 in which he purported to appoint a commission of enquiry to investigate alleged irregularities at that district municipality. The issue before the Free State High Court was whether the speaker of a district had the power to appoint a commission of enquiry.

Communities Providing Services.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The Constitution mandates local government to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.

Community Development Workers.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

In his 2003 State of the Nation Address, President Thabo Mbeki announced that "government will create a public service echelon of mutli-skilled community development workers". The community development worker programme is an effort to deepen democracy at the local level and is intended to give citizens direct access to government in a people-centred way.

Section 62 Appeals: A tender process.
Author: Achmat Toefy

Many people aggrieved by decisions made by municipalities have latched on to the fact that they have a right to appeal in terms of section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act. Municipalities have recently experienced a significant increase in the number of appeals lodged in terms of section 62. This has led to municipalities having to grapple with the parameters and practical implications of section 62. This article highlights a few difficulties in this regard.

Expanded Public Works Programme: Role of the Municipalities.
Author: Coel Kirby

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) will spend R15 to 20 billion on labour-intensive projects by 2009. The short-term goal is to create a million temporary jobs to alleviate poverty, especially in rural areas. This article discusses the four sectors of the EPWP.

Electing Woman Councillors: 50/50 Representation?
Author: Yonatan Fessha

With the upcoming local government election drawing closer, gender representation has become an issue once again. The use of a quota policy to address the problem of under representation of woman has been the subject of heated debate. This debate has brought to the fore the role of parties policies on gender representation within the context of the current electoral system.

From the Courts: Property Rates on Agricultural Land
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The issue before the Court in Boshoff v Nkwetana Munisipaliteit 1935/2003 FS was whether the municipality had the authority to levy rates on agricultural land and whether it followed the correct procedure in doing so.

Setting Service Delivery Targets.
Author: Nico Steytler

During the past two months, the newly elected government has emphasised the important role that local government must play in meeting the challenges of economic development and poverty alleviation.

Phasing in the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Author: Nico Steytler

The Municipal Finance Management Act which was adopted by Parliament on 26 November 2003, took effect on 1 July 2004. It seeks to modernise and improve financial governance in all municipalities. Together with the Municipal Systems Act, it clarifies the roles and responsibilities of executives and non-executives councillors and officials, modernise budgeting and financial management practices and improves governance over municipal entities.

Establishment, demarcation & elections
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Local government elections: to delay or not to delay?
Author: Michelle R Maziwisa

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.

Stepping aside, But then What? How the ANC's Resolution affects councillors
Author: Jaap de Visser

The African National Congress (ANC) is implementing a resolution, which provides that members who face criminal charges for corruption, must ‘step aside’. It means, amongst other things, that these members may no longer represent the ANC on any public body. How does this affect ANC members who represent the party as councillors? And what does it mean for the municipality in which they serve?

What you need to know about the Municipal Demarcation Bill of 2020
Author: Melissa Ziswa

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs invited members of the public to submit written comments on the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation (Draft) Bill (the Bill) before it is introduced to the National Assembly. The deadline for the submission of comments was the 29th of July 2020. Once adopted into law, the Bill will replace the current Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act of 1998 which, among other things, regulates the demarcation of municipal boundaries and provides for the establishment and functions of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). This article summarises key provisions of the Bill, particularly those which seek to make significant changes to the Municipal Demarcation Act.

MDB Reviews Municipal Boundaries For 2016 Local Elections.
Author: Landiwe Mahlangu

Following the delimitation in 2009 and 2010 of wards in which successful local elections were held on 18 May 2011, the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has commenced a review of municipal boundaries. It envisages finalising this process in 2013, after which wards will be delimited for the 2016 local elections.

A Single Election For All Three Spheres Would Be A Bad Idea.
Author: Derek Powell

The ANC is debating whether to introduce a single election cycle for all three spheres of government. If this idea goes ahead, it means that in 2014 voters will elect representatives for national, provincial and local governments on the same day. The main arguments for this move are that a single election would reduce the costs of elections, facilitate the deployment of senior politicians to municipalities (which is necessary to boost municipal performance), and improve the alignment of planning and budgeting across the three spheres. None of these arguments has merit. On the contrary, this reform would disrupt municipal governance and service delivery. More importantly, it would reduce local elections to the status of mini-national elections, spelling the end of any prospect of real local democracy in South Africa.

Electing The Last District Councils?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The question waiting to be answered is whether this will be the last election that features districts as a political institution. Of the three local government structures – metropolitan, local and district municipality – only district municipalities’ value in promoting developmental local government is questioned. Many critics suggest that districts do indeed serve a purpose. Others contend strongly that they should be disestablished.

Party Manifestos For The Third Local Government Elections 18 May 2011.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

With the local government elections set for 18 May, political parties are preparing their party policies and manifestos in a bid to woo voters. A survey of the party manifestos and statements ahead of the elections reveals five main themes: local economic development; improving access to municipal service delivery; community safety; community participation and involvement; and curbing corruption and strengthening local governance.

Local Elections 2011: The Lay Of The BattleGround.
Author: Derek Powell

The local elections on 18 May 2011 will be among the most important and interesting elections in South Africa since 1994, as the ANC and the DA join battle for control of the country’s municipalities. Enjoying massive support from the electorate, the ANC has been consistently formidable at election time, but recently has been losing some ground in by elections. Across the country, the party also faces growing pressure from communities demanding better service delivery and accountable government. The growing trend in recent years for public protests to turn violent is worrying.

Post Demarcation Challenges
Author: Dr Michael Sutcliffe

The municipal elections on 5 December will allow us to begin to set in place a new, democratic, non-racial municipal order.

Toward Transformation
Author: Johan Leibbrand

On 26 July 2000, Minister Mufamadi established a Special Task Team for the Establishment of Municipalities (STT) to assist provinces in dealing with problem areas pertaining to the establishment process.

SALGA's Election strategy
Author: SALGA

The SALGA Elections Strategy comprises two main focus areas. Part one of the strategy relates to the Record of Understanding that SALGA entered into with the IEC. Part two represents SALGA specific issues regarding the elections and the period immediately after elections.

Update from the Municipal Demarcation Board
Author: Dr Michael Sutcliffe

The Board will continue to consider boundary changes but for purposes of the elections the Board is only considering submissions which should clearly be made now.

Electing Representatives to the District Council
Author: Jaap de Visser

A district municipality covers the same area as the local municipalities within its district. In other words, a number of local municipalities together make up a district municipality.

The Challenges of Urbanisation: Single Tier Local Government For Urban Areas.
Author: Nico Steytler

The growing importance of cities not only in South Africa but also around the world is well captured in the 2006 Cities Network Report as follows: "Cities are simultaneously the most productive sites in the national economy as well as areas that accommodate the largest number of poor people, cities are strategically important places for meeting the governments growth and development agenda."

Cross-Boundary Municipalities to Dissapear: New Provincial Borders.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

Cross-boundary municipalities are set to disappear on the date of the forthcoming elections local government election. On that date, provincial borders and the current cross boundary municipalities will be incorporated in one or other province. Five provinces are affected by the disappearances of 16 cross border municipalities. In addition, there will be a shift of municipalities between KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Who Can Dismiss a Municipal Manager?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The recent controversy surrounding the municipal manager of the Central Karoo District Municipality raised important questions regarding which sphere of government is responsible for the conduct of a municipal manager. Ultimately , who has the power to dismiss a municipal manager?

District Management Areas: Municipal Demarcation Board Changes Policy.
Author: Dr Vuyo Mlokoti

The Municipal Structures Act of 1998 mandates the Municipal Demarcation Board to declare part of an area that must have both district and local municipalities as a district management area, if the establishment of a category B municipality in that part of the area will not be conducive to fulfilling the objectives of section 24 of the Demarcation Act.

Salga's New Constitution.
Author: Nico Steytler

At its National Conference in September 2004, Salga adopted a new constitution that makes fundamental changes in how organised local government functions in South Africa.

Salary Increases For Councillors.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

Councillors may see an increase of 7% in their salaries, benefits and allowances. This was the recommendation to the President by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

From the Courts: Notifying the IEC of a Floor-Crossing.
Author: Lehlohonolo-Kennedy Mahlatsi

The Constitution of South Africa Amendment Act 18 of 2002 and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act 20 of 2002 contain provisions designed to allow defection by an elected representative from one political party to another.

From the Courts:
Author: Jaap de Visser

Does a Town Clerk have the Authority to Institute Legal Proceedings on Behalf of the Municipality?

The Municipal Council
Author: Jaap de Visser

The Municipal Council receives ample attention in the Municipal Structures Act. The Act contains provisions on issues such as the election and removal from office of councillors, and the internal proceedings in, and the dissolution of the council. The Act also contains a Code of Conduct. This third part of our series on the structures Act summarises chapter three of the Act that deals with the municipal council, discusses the Code of Conduct as well as the ward committees and the role of traditional leaders in municipal councils.

From the Courts: Elections for, and Voting in, the Council: Recent decisions.
Author: Jaap de Visser

In less than two years time, South African citizens will for the first time elect their municipal councils in a fully democratic manner. At present, local government is in a transitional period and so is the law on elections for, and voting in, the municipal council. Many disputes, relating to this topic, found their way to court. it is important to look at how the courts see this transition and how they resolved thorny issues such as the role of minority parties in executive committees, traditional leaders in the council and the problem of councillors who the municipality money. This article deals with some of the questions on this topic that were raised in court.

Municipal Structures Act: The Birth of a New Generation of Municipalities.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The second pillar of new local government has been erected: on 18 December 1998 the President signed signed the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 into law. This Act, which provides for the establishment of a new generation of municipalities, came into operation on 1 February 1999.

Local government elections
Author: Johann Metler

Recent amendments to the Constitution, read with certain provisions of the Municipal Structures Act, have the effect that the elections for local government, which were due to take place after October 1999, will now take place approximately one year later.

Michael Sutcliffe - Municipal Demarcation Board
Author: Michael Sutcliffe

Over the past two months the Municipal Demarcation Board has focused on the following: Developing a framework within which the demarcation process would occur before the 2000 elections: Building an institutional base for the board: Finally, developing relationships with stakeholders and role-players. This report briefly outlines key aspects each of these.

Crossing the floor: Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Author: Jaap de Visser

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has published a proposal to amend Constitutional provisions for municipal elections. The new provisions would, among other things, allow councillors to cross the floor without losing their seats.

Aspirant Metropolitan Municipalities: Prospects, Problems and Requirements
Author: Dr K Smith

When the Municipal Demarcation Board demarcated the boundaries of municipalities in 1999/2000, it identified some areas in the country as aspirant metropolitan areas. These are areas that are at that point in time substantially complied with s significant number of the prescribed criteria for metropolitan areas, but not to the extent that they could have been declared metropolitan areas.

Municipal Elections: Where PR and Ward Representation Meet.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The new electoral system for local government represents a novel and intricate combination of party representation and ward representation. The system is outlined in the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 (MSA) and in the forthcoming Local Government: Municipal Electorate Act.

Cross-Border Municipalities: A Cross to Bear?
Author: Nico Steytler

Sixteen cross-border municipalities at district, metropolitan and local level, will be established come the municipal elections in November. This is a bold experiment which is not without its political and administrative difficulties.

Section 12 Notices: Preparing Municipal Constitutions.
Author: Nico Steytler

The establishment of 285 new municipalities is to come into effect on the day the forthcoming elections are held. The six metropolitan municipalities, 47 district municipalities and the 232 local municipalities are to be established in terms of the section 12 notices.

The Role of the IEC in the upcoming Local Government Elections
Author: Michael Hendrickse

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is an institution established in terms of Chapter 9 of the Constitution and mandated to manage elections at all spheres of government, including local government. The IEC is a permanent body, unlike its predecessor, with its Head Office in Pretoria, 9 provincial offices and Local Electorate Officers at municipal level.

Facilitating the Transition: Section 14 (5) Committees
Author: Nico Steytler

The formation of interim forums, commissions or committees is one of the key measures MEC's are taking to facilitate the transition to the new dispensation. Such a structure has already been established for the Cape Metropolitan area and transformation forums for the new district municipalities in the Western Cape are to be established this month. Similar processes are under way in other provinces as well.

Getting the Numbers Right: Wards and Councillors
Author: Jaap de Visser

The Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, in accordance with section 157 (4) of the Constitution, instructs the Municipal Demarcation Board to delimit all metropolitan municipalities and all local municipalities that should have wards into wards, after consultation with the Electoral Commission.

Municipal Demarcation Board Circular
Author: Michael Sutcliffe

To: the Minister for Provincial and Local Government, Government Departments, MEC's responsible for Local Government, SALGA and Affiliates, all municipalities, magistrates, houses of traditional leaders, IEC, media and demarcation stakeholders.

Provinces vs Structures Act: Demarcartion Board Walks off with the Spoils.
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 15 October 1999, the Constitutional Court laid down judgments on a range of constitutional challenges to the Structures Act 117 of 1998 that had been brought forward b the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provincial executives. Most of the complaints levelled against the Act had to do with the constitutional scheme of the division of powers between the three spheres of government in relation to local government.

Woman's Role in India's Village Councils
Author: George Mathew

India was one of the first countries to introduce a mandatory quota system to enhance woman's representation in government. What is unique about the Indian system is that the quota is also applicable to top positions in government, and a third of all mayors in India today are woman. South Africa can learn from India's experience in order to create a more equitable environment for woman.

Securing Woman's Participation in Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Local Government is the sphere of government that is regarded as being closest to the people. Municipalities are instrumental in providing basic services to communities. Woman are often the main consumers of these services due to the caregiver role they play and are thus likely to feel the impact of local government the most.

Guidelines For Ward Committees: Strengthening Participatory Governance
Author: Geralidine Mettler

Following a national conference on ward committees in June 2003, the Department of Provincial and Local Government published its long awaited Draft Guidelinies for the Establishment and Operation of Municipal Ward Committees for comment. The Guidelines aim to streamline the process of establishing ward committees and their internal operations and are a product of comments and suggestions received at the conference.

End of Cross-Boundary Municipalities.
Author: Robert Willemse

Prior to the December 5 elections, the Constitution was amended and other legislation was enacted, to provide for the demarcation and establishment of cross-boundary municipalities, i.e. municipalities straddling provincial boundaries. Sixteen cross-boundary municipalities were established affecting five provinces in South Africa. The creation of such municipalities was necessary to bring interdependent people and economies on different sides of a provincial boundary together in one municipality.

Electing Woman Councillors: 50/50 Representation?
Author: Yonatan Fessha

With the upcoming local government election drawing closer, gender representation has become an issue once again. The use of a quota policy to address the problem of under representation of woman has been the subject of heated debate. This debate has brought to the fore the role of parties policies on gender representation within the context of the current electoral system.

Ward Delimitations for the 2005/2006 Local Elections
Author: Robert Willemse

South Africa is gearing up for the next local elections, which are to be held between December 2005 and March 2006. It is expected that the election date will be announced by the Minister of Provincial and Local Government in the second half of 2005.

District municipalities
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
District Municipalities: Their role and function
Author: Nico Steytler

District municipalities, having shared authority with local municipalities will be a significant innovation brought by the final phase of local government transformation. It is therefore important to clearly define the role and function of 47 district municipalities that will be established on election day in November.

Where to Now With District Municipalites? Redefining Their Role and Application.
Author: Nico Steytler

The debate about district municipalities- their performance and their future is widespread. Some critics question whether districts have served their function. Others contend strongly that they should be disestablished. In the debate. This argument for redefining the role of districts is not based on the current capacity problems or adjustments to the new system, it is more systematic than that.

Are District Municipalities Still Relevant?
Author: Dr Vuyo Mlokoti

A lot of talk and discussion documents have been making the rounds in the past two or three years about the imminent restructuring of the state machinery and the review of provinces. Yet little or nothing is said about the inevitable question: What is the future of district municipalities?

Managing District-Local Municipal Relations.
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

The Relationship between district and local municipalities varies from cordial and cooperative to conflictual and unproductive. What causes this conflict and ultimately poor service delivery? Can it be managed? The new intergovernmental Relations Framework tries to solve this problem by establishing district intergovernmental forums.

The District Health System: Place and Role of Local Government.
Author: Dr Wendy Hall

The National Health Act 61 of 2003 ushered in a new era in the development of South Africa's health system. Health sector reforms in South Africa are geared towards a comprehensive and integrated national health system, based on the primary health care approach and delivered thorough the a district health system. The Act envisages a municipality based district health system and thus has significant implications for local government.

The REDs Are Coming.
Author: Deon Louw

Regional Electricity Regulations (REDs) have been under discussion since the early 1990s and numerous debates have been held for and against them. At last the process seems to have been pushed beyond a point of no return with the announcement by the President Mbeki that the first RED will be operational by June 2005 and the last of the of the six by january 2007.

Governance (council, executive, committees, ward committees, public participation)
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
The ‘download’ on personal information: The Protection of Personal Information Act and Municipalities
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

In an age of information warfare, identity theft and the mismanagement and commercialisation of personal information in the digital world, the right to privacy in the Constitution and the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA) are vital tools that must be used to mitigate the risks that ordinary citizens face when sharing personal information. This article reflects on the question of whether municipalities, which are often the primary interface between citizens and government, are ready to implement and fulfil the requirements of POPIA and more specifically, it examines the obligations which municipalities now bear to lawfully process personal information.

Court stops reckless electricity outsourcing contract
Author: Curtly Stevens

Can a municipality under a section 139(5) intervention avoid or by-pass an Administrator, or adopt decisions, such as entering into contracts, that undermine a Financial Recovery Plan? According to the Western Cape High Court, in Executive Council of the Western Cape Province and Others v Kannaland Local Municipality and Others the answer is no. The Court stopped Kannaland Municipal Council from implementing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract involving the outsourcing of electricity after the Municipality had acted unlawfully and at the detriment of its financial sustainability.

Why appeals against tender awards by the municipal manager are unlawful
Author: Jaap de Visser & Nico Steytler

Separating politics from administration is the cornerstone of the fight against corruption and maladministration in municipalities. When councillors meddle in the administration, and/or administrators interfere with politics, bad governance and, ultimately, service delivery failure is almost always the result.

Stepping aside, But then What? How the ANC's Resolution affects councillors
Author: Jaap de Visser

The African National Congress (ANC) is implementing a resolution, which provides that members who face criminal charges for corruption, must ‘step aside’. It means, amongst other things, that these members may no longer represent the ANC on any public body. How does this affect ANC members who represent the party as councillors? And what does it mean for the municipality in which they serve?

Coalition governments: Guidelines for coalition agreements
Author: Jennica Beukes

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.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

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.

An analysis of the competency levels for ward committee members
Author: LGSETA

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 Structures Amendment Bill
Author: Thabile Chonco

After the 2019 national and provincial government elections, Parliament revived deliberations on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to strengthen oversight and governance in local government. Many of the proposed amendments touch on issues that have been prevalent in local government for the longest of time. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill (as well as the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill that is covered in a different report).

Factors affecting local governance
Author: LGSETA

How can we improve the quality of governance in municipalities? What do we need to do in local government to promote stability, allow development to take place and create sustainable communities? A recent research report by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) examined these issues.

Women as candidates in Local Government Elections: What can we learn from the past?
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Evidence has shown that women are more actively involved in elections as voters, than as candidates in local government elections. In the 2016 elections, for example, and according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), 58 percent of voters were women. However, the picture looks very different when it comes to women participating as candidates. Although having women elected into local government is not in itself a guarantee that the elected women will advance women’s issues, not having gender-balanced local governments, creates a democratic deficit. This article starts from the premise that as we look forward to the 2021 elections we ought to take lessons from earlier elections in order to make our election processes more gender transformative.

2021 Local Elections, Governance and Stability
Author: Jennica Beukes

During the run-up to the local government (LG) elections, it is not uncommon for turbulence to arise in municipalities because of the potential shifts that can occur in the composition of municipal councils. Uncertainties emanating from the elections that are yet to transpire also feeds back into the municipal administrations, making it fragile during election times. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on LG elections and their impact on the municipal administration.

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)).

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.

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.

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 75 of the Constitution instead of the appropriate procedure under section 76. The Court confirmed this invalidity in the case of South African Municipal Workers’ Union v Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Others [2017] ZACC 7.

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.

Councillors' individual liability
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 11 June 2008, the Cape High Court handed down a judgment that set an important precedent about councillors’ individual liability for taking or supporting illegal decisions.

The power to preside over disciplinary appeals
Author: Douglas Singiza

The Constitution provides that “everyone has a right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair”. This entitlement extends to municipal employees and must therefore be reflected in municipal labour and administrative practices.

Are ward committees working? Insights from six case studies
Author: Terence Smith

Ward committees were introduced after the December 2000 municipal elections to supplement the role of elected councillors. As such, they were intended to create a bridge between communities and the political and administrative structures of municipalities. Many observers argue, however, that ward committees are not functioning as intended and that instead of enhancing the environment of participatory governance, these structures have actually undermined it by displacing many other channels for public participation.

Politics of change: Keeping the genie in the bottle
Author: Jaap de Visser

Over the past weeks, the impact of the leadership change in the African National Congress on government has become patently visible. The most important change was obviously manifested in the resignation of the President, three provincial premiers and a number of national Cabinet members, including the Minister for Provincial and Local Government.

Implementing the Municipal Systems Amendment Act.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

The Municipal Systems Amendment Act was signed into law by the President on 5 July 2011 and is set to have a major impact on municipal governance. Regulations to give further substance to the Act are on their way.

Political Interference In the Spotlight Once Again
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union made allegations of serious financial irregularities and mismanagement of fiduciary duties against the municipal manager of the Greater Taung Local Municipality, Mr Mpho Mofokeng.

Service Delivery Protests: Less Frequent, More Violent.
Author: Jelani Karamoko

Community protests have become almost commonplace in South Africa. In 2009 protest activity reached a peak of 17.75 protests every month, on average. This prompted the Community Law Centre to survey data on the frequency of protests and on some of the underlying causes. A report, Community Protests in South Africa: Trends, Analysis and Explanations, was produced in August 2010 (see LGB 12(4), pp 14–16). Jelani Karamoko, an intern from Harvard Law School, recently updated the report to reflect current data on media-reported community protests. While the update produced some new findings, it also confirmed many of the trends that had already been identified.

The Budget Vote for Local Government.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

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.

Removing Elected Councillors Will Create Chaos.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

Widespread disgruntlement over allegations thatcandidates nominated by communities had been irregularly removed by the ANC led to a promise by President Jacob Zuma that any candidates found to have been nominated in an improper way would be removed after the May polls. This was seen as a desperate attempt to stop aggrieved communities from boycotting the local government elections.

First 100 Days In Office.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

By now, all municipal councils will have held their first council meeting and constituted most of their political structures. This article provides some basic governance information and highlights key issues that will be on the municipal council’s agenda for its first 100 days in office.

Community Participation and Ward Committees
Author: Annette May

While ward committees are known to communities, they continue to attract fierce criticism. Many communities are disillusioned and feel that participation in ward committees does very little to express their voice. In many instances, they rather choose public protests or the withholding of rates and taxes as mechanisms to get their needs on the municipal agenda. The Constitutional Court has on several occasions evaluated municipalities’ efforts to facilitate community participation in respect of key decisions. This indicates that the courts are taking community participation seriously.

Leadership Matters: Professionalising Political Leadership.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

Moves are afoot to professionalise the administrative arm of local government. First, the National Treasury has prescribed a competency framework for municipal officials at senior and middle management levels. All senior and middle managers must have acquired the prescribed competencies by 1 January 2013, after which no candidate without the requisite competencies can be appointed. These regulations also make it necessary for current employees to attain these competencies by 31 December 2012.

Quality of Political Leadership is Crucial for Effective Service Delivery.
Author: Thabo Rapoo

The Centre for Policy Studies recently completed a study on the role of elected local councillors, particularly ward councillors, in service delivery in South Africa. Currently the public do not see local councillors playing an active role in service delivery. Much of the commentary on service delivery protests appears to focus on the role of municipal technocrats and administrators, as well as contracted service providers.

Is this Seat Taken? Filling Vacancies During Political Turmoil.
Author: Jaap de Visser

This article outlines the rules dealing with the expulsion and resignation of councillors from their political parties. Central to these rules is the principle that a councillor must vacate office as a councillor when he or she ceases to be a member of the political party.

New Leaders, Persistant Challenges
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

The outcome of the elections of 22 April is critical for local government. The success of ‘developmental local government’ depends to a large extent on the choices the incoming national and provincial governments make around local government. For example, the review of provincial and local government, started by former Minister Sydney Mufamadi, will be completed under the auspices of the incoming national government. This article presents some perspectives of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) that the incoming governments and the political parties that populate them may want to consider.

Court Condemns Political Interference in Municipal Appointment.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

This judgment deals with the appointment of a municipal manager in a district municipality. It contains the strongest signal yet that the law condemns the practice of appointing municipal managers on the basis of political affiliation rather than suitability for the post.

From the Courta: Who Can Suspend the Municipal Manager?
Author: Reuben Baartjies

Section 56 of the Municipal Structures Act provides that the Executive Mayor is obliged to perform duties and exercise such powers as the council may delegate in terms of section 59 of the Municipal Systems Act. Section 55 of the Systems Act deals with the obligations of municipal managers and provides that the municipal manager is accountable only to the municipal council.

Ward Committes Revisited.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Parliament has nearly completed its work on the local Government Laws Amendment Bill which was tabled towards the end of 2007. Many of its provisions are technical in nature and serve to clarify local government laws. However, some provisions are very important from a policy perspective. The most significant changes are discussed in this article.

From the Courts: Setting Tarrifs, The Duty to Consult.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

The introduction of new rates tariffs by a municipality is rarely ever greeted without public debate – or, in some instances, even conflict. In this case, the Stellenbosch Ratepayers’ Association applied for the invalidation of a rate tariff which had been introduced by the municipality.

Woman and Local Government: Steps Towards Greater Inclusivity.
Author: Amanda Williamson

While some progress has been made towards facilitating women’s involvement in government structures and programme implementation, there is still a long way to go before the goal of gender equality is achieved. Research conducted by Alison Todes, Pearl Sithole and Amanda Williamson investigated the extent to which women’s issues have been incorporated at local government level, and concluded that municipalities tend to lag behind national policy and guidelines in giving priority to the goal of gender equality. This article summarises their findings and suggests future directions.

Separating Party Politics From Governance.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

The report by COGTA on the state of South African local government clearly identifies interference by political parties as a cause of the ‘dysfunctionality’ and ‘instability’ of municipalities. As the Local Government Turnaround Strategy states, political parties are ‘undermining the integrity and functioning of municipal councils through .... inappropriate interference in councils and administration.

All Hands on Deck for Local Government. President Addresses Mayors and Managers.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

On 20 October 2009 President Zuma demonstrated his commitment to dealing with some of the key challenges that face local government. In a unique forum which brought together mayors, municipal managers and other key local government stakeholders, President Zuma engaged in a frank discussion about the obstacles which municipalities face in trying to fulfill their developmental and service delivery mandate. The discussion points addressed some of the root problems that continue to undermine service delivery and as such bear repeating here.

Report on the State of Local Government.
Author: Yunis Casim

This is a shortened version of the address by Yunus Carrim, Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Leadership, to the Institute of Local Government Managers’ annual conference on 18 November 2009.

Making Local Government Work Better
Author: Nelly Rampete

Knowledge creation and sharing are intensified at the annual Knowledge Week gatherings at the DBSA, as development practitioners interact and debate current development issues that impact on the aspirations of South Africa and the region.

The Political-Administrative Interface in Local Government.
Author: Jaap de Visser

Municipalities have registered a tremendous democratic and service delivery record, yet the public perception of them is troubling. Municipalities are too often identified with corruption, inefficiency and inaccessibility. Councillors are sometimes perceived as inward-focused and too preoccupied with the political goings-on within the council and the technicalities of the municipal administration. As a consequence, there is a serious breakdown in the relationships between councillors and communities. This is evidenced by continuing community protests, directed at councillors and municipal officials.

Name Changing of Towns: Public Participation At the Forefront Once More.
Author: Annette Christmas

The Supreme Court of Appeal recently examined the processes surrounding the changing of town names and the extent to which they must facilitate public consultation in the case of Chairpersons Association v The Minister of Arts and Culture , the Chairman of the South African Geographical Names Council and the Municipality of Makhado. This is to be distinguished from the changing of names of municipalities in terms of section 16 of the Municipal Systems Act.

Legal Briefs:
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)

When Does A Councillor Vacate Office Mid-Term?

Executive Commitees: Proportional or Fair Representation?
Author: Omolabake Akintan

The recent debate over plans to change the type of government in the City of Cape Town raised some interesting questions about the composition of executive committees. It is often assumed that am executive committee must be based on proportional representation, with seats automatically assigned according to the representation of each party in the municipal council. While this is possible and in most cases desirable, the courts have held that it is an option open to the municipal council but not an imperative.

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks: Changing Municipal Boundaries.
Author: Annette Christmas

The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) is entrusted with the often difficult task of demarcating municipal boundaries. Disputes around cross-boundary municipalities and the changing of municipal boundaries have recently been the focus of violent protests by communities affected by these decisions. The MDB recently published a proposal about the incorporation of the Paarl, Wellington, Stellenbosch and Drakenstein municipalities into the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality. The notice attracted much attention in the media and raised important questions around how the MDB engages with proposals received from the public.

From the Courts: Extending Municipal Managers Contracts
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

The Change of government in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Council has also seen a change in the office of the municipal manager. Although the decision of the Cape High Court in Mgoqi v City of Cape Town dealt with a number of issues, at the core of the dispute was whether the the outgoing mayor could have extended the contract of the then municipal manager, Wallace Mgoqi.

Legal Briefs: Proportional Leadership?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

Let's say that in a collective executive system, Party A has 37 councillors, Party B has 13 and Party C has one. The Executive Committee has 10 Members and five standing committees. Is Party B entitled to chair a standing committee on the basis of proportionality.

Tying Municipal Manager's Pay to Performance.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

Municipal managers are well paid-too well, it has sometimes been argued. Many wonder why the head public servants of local government should earn more than mayors, or in some cases even the President. The remuneration of managers became a hot issue in the run-up to the recent local government elections. the Department of Provincial and Government recently gazetted new regulations on the performance and remuneration of municipal managers.

Legal Briefs: When Does A Councillor Take Office?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

Does a candidate become a councillor on the day of the election or on the day that he or she is sworn in? This matter is important in relation to matters such as remuneration. It also arise during the council's term when a vacancy in the council is filled.

Salaries Scale Upwards For Mayors, Managers and Councillors.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

National government recently gazetted new and bigger remuneration packages for municipal councillors. The proposal sees a big jump in salaries for all office-bearers, especially part-time councillors. However, some dangers lurk in the changes for rural councils and voters in poorer communities.

Legal Briefs
Author: Jaap de Visser

What happens if a Political Party Dissolves? What happens if a Councillor leaves the Party? When does a vacancy occur?

From SALGA: Roles and Responsibilities of Mayors
Author: Dr Koos Smith

Section 53 of the Municipal Systems Act determines that every municipality must define the specific role and area of responsibility of each political structure and political office-bearer of the municipality. SALGA resolved to prepare a guide to assist municipalities in complying with this requirement.

Mayoral Committees off the Hook? High Court Rules Against Proportinality.
Author: Jaap de Visser

After taking office in December 2000, the Executive mayor of Johannesburg Metropolitan municipality appointed a mayoral committee in terms of section 60 of the Municipal Structures Act. Only African National Congress members were appointed. The ANC holds 59% of the seats in the Council.

The Functioning of Ward Committees. Challenges and Prospects.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

Ward committees were formally introduced in 2000, and many municipalities soon commenced the process of establishing them. The establishment rate of ward committees across the country now stands at over 90% and is growing, indicating a firm commitment to this mode of community participation. This article submits a few observations on some of the obstacles to the functionality of ward committees.

Facilitating Public Participation: A Niche Role For the Speaker
Author: Reuben Baatjies

Considerable attention has been drawn to local governement's ability to facilitate public participation and the role and effective administration of ward committees. Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of the local government review is the need to improve the quality of local democracy, the degree of municipal responsiveness and accountability.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGA (Community Law Centre)

Does the municipal council have a say in the appointments of administrative staff by the municipal manager?

Has Floor-Crossing Seen its End?
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

The floor-crossing window period has come to and gone, affecting the composition of 128 municipalities. Although 280 politicians tried to cross, only 250 succeeded. This is a significant reduction in the number of councillors who crossed the floor compared with the first floor-crossing period in 2002 (555) and the second in 2004 (486).

Local AIDS Councils and the Civic Role of Local Government.
Author: Marije Versteeg

There is widespread consensus that the severity of the HIV and AIDS epidemic cannot be curbed by the government on its own. In light of this realisation, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) the highest-level multisectoral partnership body in South Africa, was established in 2000. Chaired by the Deputy President, its objectives include providing leadership, building consensus around HIV and AIDS policy and strategy matters, promoting intersectoral collaboration and overseeing the overall implementation and review of the National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS.

Crisis or Communication Breakdown? Are Our Councillors Listening?
Author: Dr Steven Friedman

Not that long ago, a democracy promotion organisation arranged a course ti help local councillors improve their capacity to represent voters. The skills it taught were how to hear what local voters were saying and how to speak on their behalf. After a while, the councillors complained that the course did not meet their needs. They wanted, they said to be taught "how to deliver services".

Immunity for Councillors: Testimony Outside Council.
Author: Reuben Baartjies

Councillor's immunity from civil liability for anything they say in council is an important cornerstone of constitutional democracy and protects councillors from defamation actions. But the ambit of the immunity is not without limit.

Community Participation: The Cornerstone of Local Participatory Democracy.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

Community participation is key to the functioning of local government. One of the constitutional objects of local government is to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in local government. The Landmark Doctors for Life and Matatiele judgments, passed by the Constitutional Court in August 2006, are critical for the interpretation of the law of community participation in local government.

The Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

Each municipality classified as high capacity in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 is required to compile a service delivery and budget implementation plan. The SDBIP is a management, implementation and monitoring tool that will assist the mayor, municipal manager, councillors, senior managers and the community with realising the municipality's strategic objectives as outlined in the Integrated Development Plan.

District Management Areas: Municipal Demarcation Board Changes Policy.
Author: Dr Vuyo Mlokoti

The Municipal Structures Act of 1998 mandates the Municipal Demarcation Board to declare part of an area that must have both district and local municipalities as a district management area, if the establishment of a category B municipality in that part of the area will not be conducive to fulfilling the objectives of section 24 of the Demarcation Act.

President's Co-ordinating Council Meets.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The President's Co-ordinating Council is a consultative forum for the President to raise matters of national interest with Premiers and organised local government on the implementation of national policy and legislation in provinces and municipalities. This article discusses the role of the forum with a specific focus on Project Consolidate.

KwaZulu-Natal's New Premier Co-ordinating Forum
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

On 19 April 2005, a new intergovernmental forum was launched for the provincial government and municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. The Forum reflects the structure and spirit of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill of 2005 currently before Parliament. This article discusses the objects, composition, functions, and functioning of the forum.

Johannesburg's Special Cases Policy: A New Start For the Indigent.
Author: Christopher Mbazira

On 4 May 2005 the City of Johannesburg started registering beneficiaries under the Special Cases Policy of 2004. The main purpose of the policy is to write off municipal services debts owed by indigent people and to provide subsidisation of basic services for identified classes of people.

From the Courts: Councillors and Contracts With Their Municipality.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

In the case of Mpakathi v Kgotso Development and Others SCA, Case No. 334/03, the Court had to consider whether a property attached by a municipality may be sold in execution to a close corporation if one of the members of that close corporation is a municipal councillor.

The REDs Are Coming.
Author: Deon Louw

Regional Electricity Regulations (REDs) have been under discussion since the early 1990s and numerous debates have been held for and against them. At last the process seems to have been pushed beyond a point of no return with the announcement by the President Mbeki that the first RED will be operational by June 2005 and the last of the of the six by january 2007.

Municipal Debts Are Rising.
Author: Cristin Peel

In a recent report to Parliament, the Auditor-General, Shauket Fakie questioned the ability of South African municipalities to continue operating as a going concern. He commented that municipalities mounting levels of uncollected debt relative to their income was a cause for concern. The total municipal debt countrywide is more than R32 Billion and it is getting worse each year because of non-payment.

Collecting Service Debts: Constitutional Court Speaks.
Author: Abdul-hakim Issa

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court confirms that the electricity and water charges owed to a municipality must be paid before a property can be transferred to an new owner. This is a major victory for municipalities in their effort to collecting outstanding service charges.

From the Courts: Notifying the IEC of a Floor-Crossing.
Author: Lehlohonolo-Kennedy Mahlatsi

The Constitution of South Africa Amendment Act 18 of 2002 and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act 20 of 2002 contain provisions designed to allow defection by an elected representative from one political party to another.

Supply Chain Management and Public-Private Partnership Provisions.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

Chapter 11 of the Municipal Finance Management Act came into force on 1 July 2004. This chapter contains provisions that strictly regulate the acquiring of goods and services and the disposal of municipal assets. A sound knowledge and understanding of its provisions is therefore an essential requirement for all municipalities and municipal entities.

Equal Gender Representation? Audit of Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Salga conducted an audit to determine the extent to which woman are represented and participate in local government. It focused on two areas: the elected representatives and the employed officials in municipalities. The purpose of the audit was to determine if women's representation has increased since 2000.

Redefining the Political Structure of District Municipalities.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The DPLG's policy review process was kicked off with "65 questions for public engagements". Among the listed 65 questions, it asked: "What role should district municipalities play and how they should be structured?" A key problem has been the governance structure of districts: the uncomfortable combination of district-wide and local council representatives has not resulted in an integrated system of district government.

Rules and Orders: The Building Blocks of Good Governance
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

How does a municipality make its decision-making procedures clear and legally sound? How does it ensure that every councillor participate meaningfully in council meetings? How does it keep council and committee meetings orderly and prevent councillors from abusing their freedom of Expression? This article explores these questions in detail and postulates solutions on how to ensure that the Rules and Orders of council are respected and achieve their intended purpose.

How gender sensitive is your municipality?
Author: Charmaine Mare

Local government is now expected to play a proactive role in the social, economic, and material development of local communities. This means it is an sphere of government for women and for gender equity, as it has the potential to transform woman's lives by providing services such as water, sanitation, clinics, child care facilities, roads and transport.

Councillors Can Have Their Say: Privilege in Council
Author: Jaap de Visser

Section 161 of the Constitution and section 28 of the Municipal Structures Act protect the freedom of speech of councillors (subject to the council's rules and orders) and grant councillors immunity against civil and criminal liability for anything they say in council.

The Municipal Systems Act and Community participation
Author: Jaap de Visser

One of the objects of local government in terms of section 152 (1) (e) of the Constitution is to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in local government. Chapter 4 of the Municipal Systems Act deals with community participation.

The Municipal Council
Author: Jaap de Visser

The Municipal Council receives ample attention in the Municipal Structures Act. The Act contains provisions on issues such as the election and removal from office of councillors, and the internal proceedings in, and the dissolution of the council. The Act also contains a Code of Conduct. This third part of our series on the structures Act summarises chapter three of the Act that deals with the municipal council, discusses the Code of Conduct as well as the ward committees and the role of traditional leaders in municipal councils.

From the Courts: Elections for, and Voting in, the Council: Recent decisions.
Author: Jaap de Visser

In less than two years time, South African citizens will for the first time elect their municipal councils in a fully democratic manner. At present, local government is in a transitional period and so is the law on elections for, and voting in, the municipal council. Many disputes, relating to this topic, found their way to court. it is important to look at how the courts see this transition and how they resolved thorny issues such as the role of minority parties in executive committees, traditional leaders in the council and the problem of councillors who the municipality money. This article deals with some of the questions on this topic that were raised in court.

Municipal Structures Act: Executive Leadership at Local Level.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The second pillar of new local government has been erected: on 18 December 1998 the President signed the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 into law. This Act, which provides for the establishment of a new generation municipalities, came into operation on 1 February 1999.

Municipal Structures Act: The Birth of a New Generation of Municipalities.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The second pillar of new local government has been erected: on 18 December 1998 the President signed signed the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 into law. This Act, which provides for the establishment of a new generation of municipalities, came into operation on 1 February 1999.

Local government elections
Author: Johann Metler

Recent amendments to the Constitution, read with certain provisions of the Municipal Structures Act, have the effect that the elections for local government, which were due to take place after October 1999, will now take place approximately one year later.

Michael Sutcliffe - Municipal Demarcation Board
Author: Michael Sutcliffe

Over the past two months the Municipal Demarcation Board has focused on the following: Developing a framework within which the demarcation process would occur before the 2000 elections: Building an institutional base for the board: Finally, developing relationships with stakeholders and role-players. This report briefly outlines key aspects each of these.

From SALGA: Taking the Bull by its Horns
Author: Johann Mettler

Key local government leaders from across the country gathered at SALGA's National General Council in November 2002 to consider critical issues currently facing the sector. The resolution that emerged will set the pace of local government transformation for many years and a brief synopsis of some of them follows.

Mayoral Committees: The Mayor Appoints
Author: Geraldine Smith

The mayoral committee is appointed at the discretion of the executive mayor. It therefore need not include other parties on a proportional basis.

From SALGA: Report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill
Author: Johann Mettler

The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government passed this Bill on 22 October 2002 and the National Assembly passed two days later. The Bill at the time of writing is scheduled to be passed by the National Council of Provinces on 7 November. It should be signed into law by the middle of November.

Crossing the Floor: The Judgment
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 4 October the Constitutional Court ended a period of political instability that started just less than a year ago with the break up of the Democratic Alliance (DA). The eagerly awaited judgment of the Court declared as unconstitutional the Acts that relate to crossing the floor at local government level, namely the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act 20 of 2002 and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Amendment Act 18 of 2002.

Terms of Reference for Political Structures and Political Office Bearers
Author: Gerladine Smith

Every municipal council has the right to to determine its internal procedures. This right is protected by section 160 of the Constitution, which allows a municipality to decide how to structure its internal operations and what kind of mandate/area of responsibility it assigns to political structures, office-bearers and municipal manager.

Crossing the Floor: The Ruls of the Game
Author: Jaap de Visser

The President has signed a set of Bills into law that allow for crossing the floor, This article summarises the Bills insofar as they deal with councillors. The Bills amend parts of the of the Constitution and the Municipal Structures Act

Legal Briefs: Municipal Staff Member on a Ward Committee?
Author: Jaap de Visser

With the enactment and implementation of the Municipal Demarcation Act, Municipal Structures Act and Municipal Systems Act, the new dispensation for local government has firmly taken root. Are old order ordinances still applicable?

From SALGA: Roles of Political Office-Bearers
Author: Johann Mettler

The national workshop on the roles and responsibilities of political office-bearers in Mogale City on 29 and 30 August was the culmination of a series of provincial workshops on the roles and responsibilities of mayors and speakers.

Woman's Role in India's Village Councils
Author: George Mathew

India was one of the first countries to introduce a mandatory quota system to enhance woman's representation in government. What is unique about the Indian system is that the quota is also applicable to top positions in government, and a third of all mayors in India today are woman. South Africa can learn from India's experience in order to create a more equitable environment for woman.

Gender and the Budget.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

While budgets have been instrumental in transmitting and reproducing gender biases, they also offer the possibility for transforming existing gender inequalities. It is important to note that a gender budget is not a separate budget for gender activities and issues, rather, it is the normal budget from a gender perspective or analysed through a gender lens.

Responsibilites of Municipal Managers: The Municipal Finance Management Act
Author: Adv Jan F Koekemoer

The Municipal Finance Management Act is a very prescriptive piece of legislation and should not be read piecemeal, but worked through as a whole. Many chapters and sections are inter-related. For example, the duties of the municipal manager and the accounting officer of the municipality are not found in only one chapter but are scattered throughout the Act.

Who Appoints the Municipal Manager?
Author: Geralinde Mettler

In terms of section 82 of the Municipal Structures Act, not only a municipal council can appoint a municipal manager. Furthermore, section 30 (5) of the Structures Act states that, before a municipal council can decide on the appointment of a municipal manager or of the head of a municipal department, the executive mayor or the executive committee must submit a report and recommendation concerning the appointment and conditions of employment.

Guidelines For Ward Committees: Strengthening Participatory Governance
Author: Geralidine Mettler

Following a national conference on ward committees in June 2003, the Department of Provincial and Local Government published its long awaited Draft Guidelinies for the Establishment and Operation of Municipal Ward Committees for comment. The Guidelines aim to streamline the process of establishing ward committees and their internal operations and are a product of comments and suggestions received at the conference.

Participatory Governance Through Ward Committees.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The Department of Provincial and Local Government held a conference on ward committees on 24-25 June. These are the vehicles through which participatory governance takes place and their effective performance is crucial to the success of proper community participation in local government.

Local Government is in Good Health.
Author: Nico Steytler

The core principles, values and features of the new local government system are sound. This is the conclusion of the national Portfolio Committee on Local Government after a major study tour of the municipalities at the beginning of 2003.

Councillors Can Have Their Say: Immunity in Council.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

For a democracy to be vibrant, councillors must have the freedom to speak their minds in council. This freedom is protected by the Constitution and the Municipal Structures Act, which grants councillors immunity against civil and criminal liability for anything they say in council.

Agenda For The First Council Meeting.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

The first meeting of the newly elected councils must take place at the seat of the municipality within 14 days of the council being declared elected. If it is a district council, the meeting must be held within 14 days of the appointment of all members who are to be appointed by local councils. At the first meeting, a number of issues must be decided and key office bearers must be elected.

Making Headlines: Dismissal of Councillors ini Gauteng
Author: Coel Kirkby

More than 100 municipal councillors and officials have been dismissed or forced to resign over the past five years in Gauteng's municipalities following investigations into fraud, corruption and absenteeism. The most common offences discovered by the office of the Auditor General and its investigative units were maladministration, fraud and corruption.

Challenges for the New Councils
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

The election on 5 December 2000 was the formal beginning of the new local government dispensation, Local government was established as the primary site for service delivery and development in the country. This article outlines some of the challenges facing the new councils.

Powers of the Speaker?
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

The Speaker of the Lejweleputswa District Municipality convened a council meeting on 15 July 2003 in which he purported to appoint a commission of enquiry to investigate alleged irregularities at that district municipality. The issue before the Free State High Court was whether the speaker of a district had the power to appoint a commission of enquiry.

Communities Providing Services.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The Constitution mandates local government to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.

Community Development Workers.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

In his 2003 State of the Nation Address, President Thabo Mbeki announced that "government will create a public service echelon of mutli-skilled community development workers". The community development worker programme is an effort to deepen democracy at the local level and is intended to give citizens direct access to government in a people-centred way.

Expanded Public Works Programme: Role of the Municipalities.
Author: Coel Kirby

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) will spend R15 to 20 billion on labour-intensive projects by 2009. The short-term goal is to create a million temporary jobs to alleviate poverty, especially in rural areas. This article discusses the four sectors of the EPWP.

Electing Woman Councillors: 50/50 Representation?
Author: Yonatan Fessha

With the upcoming local government election drawing closer, gender representation has become an issue once again. The use of a quota policy to address the problem of under representation of woman has been the subject of heated debate. This debate has brought to the fore the role of parties policies on gender representation within the context of the current electoral system.

Ward Delimitations for the 2005/2006 Local Elections
Author: Robert Willemse

South Africa is gearing up for the next local elections, which are to be held between December 2005 and March 2006. It is expected that the election date will be announced by the Minister of Provincial and Local Government in the second half of 2005.

Dissolution of the Lekwa Teemane Council.
Author: Abdul-Hakiem Issa

On 21 January 2004 the Provincial Executive of the North West approved a resolution to dissolve the Lekwa Teemane Local Council in terms of section 139 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

Setting Service Delivery Targets.
Author: Nico Steytler

During the past two months, the newly elected government has emphasised the important role that local government must play in meeting the challenges of economic development and poverty alleviation.

Phasing in the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Author: Nico Steytler

The Municipal Finance Management Act which was adopted by Parliament on 26 November 2003, took effect on 1 July 2004. It seeks to modernise and improve financial governance in all municipalities. Together with the Municipal Systems Act, it clarifies the roles and responsibilities of executives and non-executives councillors and officials, modernise budgeting and financial management practices and improves governance over municipal entities.

Municipal administration (senior management, HR, delegations)
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Recovering fruitless and wasteful expenditure: Nelson Mandela Bay v Lindele Antonio Petuna
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Year after year, the Auditor General exposes how too many municipalities incur significant amounts of fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003 (MFMA) defines fruitless and wasteful expenditure as ‘expenditure that was made in vain and would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised’.

Why appeals against tender awards by the municipal manager are unlawful
Author: Jaap de Visser & Nico Steytler

Separating politics from administration is the cornerstone of the fight against corruption and maladministration in municipalities. When councillors meddle in the administration, and/or administrators interfere with politics, bad governance and, ultimately, service delivery failure is almost always the result.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

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.

Factors affecting local governance
Author: LGSETA

How can we improve the quality of governance in municipalities? What do we need to do in local government to promote stability, allow development to take place and create sustainable communities? A recent research report by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) examined these issues.

An analysis of the competency levels of senior managers in South African municipalities
Author: LGSETA

Good governance and administrative excellence in local government must ensure effective service delivery to communities. This requires capable, knowledgeable and expert senior municipal managers. This article reports the findings of an empirical survey commissioned by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) to establish support required by senior municipal managers. Such support is especially essential for those managers who do not comply with the minimum competency regulations. The survey also intended to assess current levels of compliance with Municipal Regulations on minimum competency levels and to enhance integrated development planning (IDP) capacity in the local government sector.

Skills mismatch in South African local government
Author: LGSETA

In South Africa, with many government-supported growth initiatives prioritising the creation of low-skill jobs and the development of high-level skills, a 2020 research study by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) has examined the effect of the skills mismatch. This study of local government established that South Africa is faced with a prevalence of under-qualified staff and mirrors a 2019 Department of Higher Education (DHET) study of South Africa as a whole showing that almost one-third of workers are mismatched by their field of study. This mismatch can be addressed through on-the-job training, retraining, and new-skill acquisition.

Implications of Non-Compliance With Treasuries Competency Requirements.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

In 2007, in response to the capacity constraints bedevilling local government, the National Treasury issued regulations setting out minimum competency requirements which all municipal financial and supply chain management officials have to meet. The regulations took effect on 1 January 2008, but gave a fiveyear period of grace within which all financial and supply chain management officials throughout the country were required to attain the minimum competency levels. For these officials, the countdown reaches zero on 1 January 2013.

Towards a Professionalised Management at Local Government
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

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.

Resolution of SAMWU Strike by SALGA Commendable.
Author: Douglas Singiza

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.

Different Hats Worn by the Municipal Manager in the Tender/Bid Process.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

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.

Should All Municipal Managers Get The Boot?
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

With the election of new councils on 18 May, many municipal managers are likely to lose their jobs. The same applies to the managers reporting to the municipal managers.

Professional Administration Crucial For Service Delivery.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Municipalities cannot deliver on their developmental mandate without suitably qualified and professional staff. However, evidence shows that the lack of good governance of staff matters in many municipalities results in service delivery failures. Local government needs to professionalise and be professionalised – and there are three aspects to this which this article discusses.

Leadership Matters: Professionalising Political Leadership.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

Moves are afoot to professionalise the administrative arm of local government. First, the National Treasury has prescribed a competency framework for municipal officials at senior and middle management levels. All senior and middle managers must have acquired the prescribed competencies by 1 January 2013, after which no candidate without the requisite competencies can be appointed. These regulations also make it necessary for current employees to attain these competencies by 31 December 2012.

Woman's Employment Equity in Local Government.
Author: Zandile Mavundla

Gender equity is a key objective of government policy, as seen in national government’s target of 50:50 gender representation in senior management by March 2009. However, recent research shows that this target is far from being met.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

Can an employment contract be valid if a performance agreement has not been concluded?

Separating Party Politics From Governance.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

The report by COGTA on the state of South African local government clearly identifies interference by political parties as a cause of the ‘dysfunctionality’ and ‘instability’ of municipalities. As the Local Government Turnaround Strategy states, political parties are ‘undermining the integrity and functioning of municipal councils through .... inappropriate interference in councils and administration.

From the Courts: Extending Municipal Managers Contracts
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

The Change of government in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Council has also seen a change in the office of the municipal manager. Although the decision of the Cape High Court in Mgoqi v City of Cape Town dealt with a number of issues, at the core of the dispute was whether the the outgoing mayor could have extended the contract of the then municipal manager, Wallace Mgoqi.

Tying Municipal Manager's Pay to Performance.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

Municipal managers are well paid-too well, it has sometimes been argued. Many wonder why the head public servants of local government should earn more than mayors, or in some cases even the President. The remuneration of managers became a hot issue in the run-up to the recent local government elections. the Department of Provincial and Government recently gazetted new regulations on the performance and remuneration of municipal managers.

Salaries Scale Upwards For Mayors, Managers and Councillors.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

National government recently gazetted new and bigger remuneration packages for municipal councillors. The proposal sees a big jump in salaries for all office-bearers, especially part-time councillors. However, some dangers lurk in the changes for rural councils and voters in poorer communities.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGA (Community Law Centre)

Does the municipal council have a say in the appointments of administrative staff by the municipal manager?

Service Delivery Agreements: Who Reads Them?
Author: Victoria Johnson

Who can own up to having read a standard service delivery agreement from start to finish and having understood it all? Very few people, i imagine. In the main, service delivery agreements are notoriously long, complex and wordy and are usually filled with legalese. They make little attempt to help the reader gain a meaningful understanding of the basic terms governing the contracting parties relationship. In short, they are inaccessible to the ordinary reader.

Johannesburg's Special Cases Policy: A New Start For the Indigent.
Author: Christopher Mbazira

On 4 May 2005 the City of Johannesburg started registering beneficiaries under the Special Cases Policy of 2004. The main purpose of the policy is to write off municipal services debts owed by indigent people and to provide subsidisation of basic services for identified classes of people.

Outsourcing Municipal Services and Skills Transfer.
Author: Victoria Johnson

The Local Government Project conducted a survey of a wide range of current South African service delivery contracts to see how their actual contract terms assist in achieving the outsourcing objectives and how they provide for the common dangers. The objective was to get a general idea of the these service delivery contracts entail. This article focuses on what they contain on the issue of skills transfer,.

Implications For Local Government of a Single Public Service: Great White Hope Or Disaster in the Making?
Author: Professor Jaap de Visser

The Department of Public Service and administration has published for comment a draft Public Administration Management Bill aimed at creating a single public service. The long-waited Bill is being promoted as the magic bullet for addressing capacity shortages and streaming service delivery. The intention is that the Bill will be submitted to Parliament in June and passed this year. We outline key aspects of the Bill and raise a number of concerns.

From the Courts:
Author: Jaap de Visser

Does a Town Clerk have the Authority to Institute Legal Proceedings on Behalf of the Municipality?

Employment Equity Act
Author: Professor Darcy du Toit

There are those who say that the old South Africa is alive and well in the workplace. The upper levels of many organisations remain white and male dominated. Left to market forces, transformation proceeds at a snails pace.

The Delegation System: Who Does What?
Author: Alison Gray

All municipalities must develop a system of delegation in terms of the Municipal Systems Act. A delegation is when a person or structure delegates functions that originally vested in it to another person or structure to do.

Municipal Finance Management Bill under Scrutiny
Author: Jaap de Visser

During February and March 2002, the National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on Finance received submissions on the Municipal Finance Management Bill. This article summarises concerns about the Bill which were raised by the Community Law Centre.

Legal Briefs: Municipal Staff Member on a Ward Committee?
Author: Jaap de Visser

With the enactment and implementation of the Municipal Demarcation Act, Municipal Structures Act and Municipal Systems Act, the new dispensation for local government has firmly taken root. Are old order ordinances still applicable?

Municipal Systems Bill: Erecting the Third Pillar
Author: Johann Mettler

On 6 August 1999, Minister Mufamadi published the Local Government: Municipal Systems Bill, 1999 for public comment. The Bill. after due consideration of any comments, should enter the parliamentary process by the end of October 1999 at which stage the public will be given a further opportunity, in the form of public hearings, to make representations.

From the Courts: Is There a Right to View?
Author: Fiona Ogle

Though there is no common law right to a view, the case of Paolo v Jeeva N.O and Others 2004 (1) SA 396 SCA has led to the perception among the public that certain laws do protect an existing view. As a result of media coverage, it is widely believed that section 7 of the National Buildings Regulations and Building Standards Act obliges a municipality to refuse any building plan for a building that will interfere with the view of an adjoining property.

Securing Woman's Participation in Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Local Government is the sphere of government that is regarded as being closest to the people. Municipalities are instrumental in providing basic services to communities. Woman are often the main consumers of these services due to the caregiver role they play and are thus likely to feel the impact of local government the most.

Local Government is in Good Health.
Author: Nico Steytler

The core principles, values and features of the new local government system are sound. This is the conclusion of the national Portfolio Committee on Local Government after a major study tour of the municipalities at the beginning of 2003.

State of the Municipalities: More Money, More Skills
Author: Xavia Poswa

In his 2006 State of the Nation Address on 3 February , President Thabo Mbeki focused on the troubles and goals of local government. While he noted that three quarters of South Africans approve of the government's service delivery efforts, only 45% believe that local government is performing well. The President then set out his plan to rescue local government.

Communities Providing Services.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

The Constitution mandates local government to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.

IDP and budgeting
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
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.

The Budget Vote for Local Government.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

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.

Community Participation and Ward Committees
Author: Annette May

While ward committees are known to communities, they continue to attract fierce criticism. Many communities are disillusioned and feel that participation in ward committees does very little to express their voice. In many instances, they rather choose public protests or the withholding of rates and taxes as mechanisms to get their needs on the municipal agenda. The Constitutional Court has on several occasions evaluated municipalities’ efforts to facilitate community participation in respect of key decisions. This indicates that the courts are taking community participation seriously.

Consequences of Failing to Adopt a Budget by 30 June.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Political disagreements in a municipal council sometimes lead to stalemates on important matters such as the adoption of a municipal budget. Failure to adopt a budget by 30 June triggers the question: must the provincial government intervene, and, if so, how? This matter was the subject of a recent ruling of the Western Cape High Court. In this case, the High Court for the first time addressed the mandatory provisions of section 139(4) of the Constitution.

New Leaders, Persistant Challenges
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

The outcome of the elections of 22 April is critical for local government. The success of ‘developmental local government’ depends to a large extent on the choices the incoming national and provincial governments make around local government. For example, the review of provincial and local government, started by former Minister Sydney Mufamadi, will be completed under the auspices of the incoming national government. This article presents some perspectives of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) that the incoming governments and the political parties that populate them may want to consider.

Woman and Local Government: Steps Towards Greater Inclusivity.
Author: Amanda Williamson

While some progress has been made towards facilitating women’s involvement in government structures and programme implementation, there is still a long way to go before the goal of gender equality is achieved. Research conducted by Alison Todes, Pearl Sithole and Amanda Williamson investigated the extent to which women’s issues have been incorporated at local government level, and concluded that municipalities tend to lag behind national policy and guidelines in giving priority to the goal of gender equality. This article summarises their findings and suggests future directions.

HIV and AIDS: Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality's Response.
Author: Marije Versteeg

HIV&AIDS is much more than a health problem. It is a developmental challenge that affects local government in various ways. in the last issue, we looked at how municipalities can apply the concept of mainstreaming as a strategic way to address this enormous challenge and Ethekwini Metro shared their experience and lesson learnt.

Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

Over the past few years, municipalities have become acquainted with the three key instruments for strategic management. First, the integrated development plan (IDP) sets out the municipality's key priorities and objectives for the medium and long term. Second, the IDP is implemented through the municipal budget, which allocates resources to the priorities of the IDP for the financial year and two years thereafter. Third, the municipality monitors its performance on the priorities objectives of the IDP through its performance management system. So where does the the service delivery and budget implementation plan (SDBIP) fit in? The introduction of another instrument accompanied by procedures and legal requirements can easily make local government practitioners sceptical or obsessed with compliance. This article makes a case foR viewing the SDBIP from a common-sense perspectives rather than a legal-compliance perspective only.

Municipalities and Clean Development Mechanism Projects.
Author: Kate Reynolds

Landfill sites are excellent opportunities for municipalities to develop Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, but the window of opportunity for municipalities to do is limited. What are the phases or steps in the development of a CDM project?

HIV & AIDS: Why and How Local Government Must Respond.
Author: Marije Versteeg

The epidemic, its prevention and its consequences require coordinated responses of all institutions and sectors involved in municipal development. While municipalities may need further guidance through national programmes to know how to respond, the municipal management gas to ensure that appropriate measures are being implemented on the ground.

When Everything is Political: A Customer Care Model For Local Government.
Author: Martin Nicol

A mayor was called to a community meeting. People had been promised houses, but where were they? The mayor had no houses handy and she had not made the promise, but the people were angry. One man got up and threatened to drive out those who had been allocated houses in a neighbouring development. Conflict was in the air. The mayor listened. She had no magic solution to this problem, but she listened and show the people that she understood. She did not solve the problem but she did defuse the crisis.

Municipalities and Clean Development Projects.
Author: Kate Reynolds

The emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is a major factor in climate change. The most recent scientific evidence shows that global warming is happening at an alarming and increasing rate.

The State of Our Cities.
Author: Omalabake Akintan

The South African Cities Network recently released its 2006 State of the Cities Report. This report is an update of the 2004 report, which looked at how cities were confronting the challenges of the post-apartheid era. The 2006 report focuses on the trends in municipal governance between 2001 and 2006. It also provides an in depth analysis of some of the challenges that municipalities face and outlines policy options available to them in addressing these challenges.

Decentralised Response to HIV & AIDS.
Author: Marije Versteeg

In recent years, many municipalities have started formulating and implementing their HIV and AIDS response strategies and much progress has been made. However, most are still grasping with the issue and responses are often limited in nature, concentrating on some aspects of a comprehensive AIDS response but not yet to the extent of a well-coordinated and integrated HIV and AIDS strategy.

Municipality's Share of the National Pie: New Grants, More Money in the Fight Against Poverty.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The Division of Revenue Bill 2007, introduced by the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manual, sets out the allocations local government will receive for the 2007/2008 financial year. The Bill not only determines local government's equitable share of revenue raised by the national government, but it also contains a number of innovations. The most important are the new conditional grants- the Neighbourhood Development Partnership grant and the Water Services Bulk Infrastructure grant.

The Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

Each municipality classified as high capacity in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 is required to compile a service delivery and budget implementation plan. The SDBIP is a management, implementation and monitoring tool that will assist the mayor, municipal manager, councillors, senior managers and the community with realising the municipality's strategic objectives as outlined in the Integrated Development Plan.

Equal Gender Representation? Audit of Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Salga conducted an audit to determine the extent to which woman are represented and participate in local government. It focused on two areas: the elected representatives and the employed officials in municipalities. The purpose of the audit was to determine if women's representation has increased since 2000.

How gender sensitive is your municipality?
Author: Charmaine Mare

Local government is now expected to play a proactive role in the social, economic, and material development of local communities. This means it is an sphere of government for women and for gender equity, as it has the potential to transform woman's lives by providing services such as water, sanitation, clinics, child care facilities, roads and transport.

From SALGA: Taking the Bull by its Horns
Author: Johann Mettler

Key local government leaders from across the country gathered at SALGA's National General Council in November 2002 to consider critical issues currently facing the sector. The resolution that emerged will set the pace of local government transformation for many years and a brief synopsis of some of them follows.

President's Coordinating Council sets Agenda for Local Government
Author: Nico Steytler

At a special President's Coordinating Council (PCC) workshop on 14 December 2001, the agenda was set for building a strong and development-oriented local government. The PCC adopted wide-ranging resolutions which chart the way forward in both the short and medium term.

From the Provinces: Planning and Development
Author: Johann Mettler

The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape have taken the lead in promulgating their planning and development planning legislation which is intended to set the pace and provide the context within which planning should take place in the respective provinces both on provincial and municipal level.

Securing Woman's Participation in Local Government
Author: Geraldine Mettler

Local Government is the sphere of government that is regarded as being closest to the people. Municipalities are instrumental in providing basic services to communities. Woman are often the main consumers of these services due to the caregiver role they play and are thus likely to feel the impact of local government the most.

Gender and the Budget.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

While budgets have been instrumental in transmitting and reproducing gender biases, they also offer the possibility for transforming existing gender inequalities. It is important to note that a gender budget is not a separate budget for gender activities and issues, rather, it is the normal budget from a gender perspective or analysed through a gender lens.

Powers and functions
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Gender sensitive planning and urban design for cities to respond to GBVF
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

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.

Factors affecting local governance
Author: LGSETA

How can we improve the quality of governance in municipalities? What do we need to do in local government to promote stability, allow development to take place and create sustainable communities? A recent research report by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) examined these issues.

Western Cape High Court sets a new benchmark for promoting spatial equity, access to land and housing
Author: Paul Mudau

The Constitution does not make explicit reference to ‘spatial equity’. However, the spatial inequalities that are characterised by poor living conditions, continuous struggles for basic amenities, severe shortages of housing stock and an infrastructure backlog, can amount to indirect racial discrimination. Thus, spatial inequalities can clearly implicate the right to equality as stipulated by section 9(2) of the Constitution.

African School on Decentralisation: The impact of COVID-19 on decentralisation in Africa
Author: Curtly Stevens

The African School on Decentralisation (ASD) is a collaboration between the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development located at the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) of the University of the Western Cape and the Centre for Federalism and Governance Studies (CFGS) of Addis Ababa University. The two institutes were to hold the inaugural course of the ASD under the theme ‘Decentralisation and Development in Africa’ from 25 May to 5 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Regrettably, the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) across the continent witnessed from March 2020 necessitated the postponement of the ASD to 2021.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality vs COVID-19: 90 days into the Lockdown
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Since the declaration of the state of national disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Government on 18 March 2020, and the subsequent announcement of a Lockdown by the President on 26 March, municipalities have implemented various measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyses some of the measures taken by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Metro) more than 90 days into the Lockdown. While disaster management is a shared national and provincial government competence, municipalities play a crucial role during disasters in terms of their constitutional functions (listed under Schedule 4B and 5B) and their assigned functions (s99 and 126), such as housing.

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.

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.

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.

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 a municipality levy taxes retrospectively
Author: Community Law Centre

Generally, a municipality may only levy taxes (other than property rates) in terms of empowering legislation. The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act (Act 12 of 2007) outlines a procedure whereby a municipality may apply to the National Treasury for approval to impose new taxes.

Reviewing the Children's Act: Implications for local government
Author: Annette Christmas

The Children’s Amendment Act (Act 41 of 2007) was signed into law on 18 March this year. The Act, together with draft regulations recently published for public comment, represents the final step in the arduous, ten-year journey of reviewing the Child Care Act.

Heeding the call for sustainable energy use putting solar energy to work
Author: Jaap de Visser

Energy experts agree that the installation of domestic solar water heaters (SWHs) could significantly reduce the demand for electricity. The figures suggest that a roll-out of SWHs could eliminate the need for one large coal power station (and thus significantly reduce CO2 emissions).

Riot Damage: Who Pays?
Author: Tinashe Chigwata

Protest action has become part of South Africa’s political landscape. The extent to which it is increasingly marked by violence is cause for alarm

Service Delivery Protests: Less Frequent, More Violent.
Author: Jelani Karamoko

Community protests have become almost commonplace in South Africa. In 2009 protest activity reached a peak of 17.75 protests every month, on average. This prompted the Community Law Centre to survey data on the frequency of protests and on some of the underlying causes. A report, Community Protests in South Africa: Trends, Analysis and Explanations, was produced in August 2010 (see LGB 12(4), pp 14–16). Jelani Karamoko, an intern from Harvard Law School, recently updated the report to reflect current data on media-reported community protests. While the update produced some new findings, it also confirmed many of the trends that had already been identified.

The Municipality's Role In Implementing The Gatherings Act.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

Community protests have become prevalent in South Africa in recent times, with the incidence of violence in these protests rising (see page 10). The ongoing strike by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) provides a classic example of gatherings with a high level of violence.

Municipal Duties to Occupiers Facing Evictions From Private Land.
Author: Annette May

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.

Limits on Withholding Municipal Clearance Certificate.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

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.

Constitutional Court Shows the DFA the Door.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

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.

KZN Planning and Development Act.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

The KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act came into operation on 1 May 2010 and governs land use planning and development management. KwaZulu-Natal is thus the only province that has put land use legislation into operation since promulgation of the 1996 Constitution.

Draft Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

On 6 May this year, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform published a Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill for public comment, with a deadline of 6 June. What follows is a basic outline of the Bill.

Trends in Community Protest: From 2007 to 2010.
Author: Hirsch Jain

The research was undertaken by Hirsh Jain, a Harvard Law School visiting fellow at the Community Law Centre. This article summarises Jain’s findings relating to the frequency of protests, the incidence of violent protests, the impact of the 2008/09 economic recession, the geographical spread of protests per province, and the types of concerns that fuel protests.

The Toilet War.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

The City of Cape Town built unenclosed toilets in Makhaza, an informal settlement in Ward 95 of Khayelitsha. It did so on the understanding that the community would erect their own enclosures. This led to a public outcry, protests by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), an investigation by the Human Rights Commission and even a court challenge. The media has dubbed the dispute ‘the toilet war.

Wolf in a Sheep's Clothing
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Section 156(1) of the Constitution is the basis for the status of local government in the Constitution. It provides that municipalities have authority over the matters listed in Schedules 4B and 5B of the Constitution. Schedules 4B and 5B, in turn, each contain a list of topics called ‘functional areas’. This constitutional protection of local government’s authority sets South Africa apart from most other countries. Usually, local government is not referred to in a constitution.

South Africa's Water and Sanitation Provision.
Author: Kate Tissington

“Water is life, sanitation is dignity.” This is the cornerstone of the Strategic Framework for Water Services published by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) in 2003. It also served as the first line of the landmark High Court judgment in the case of Mazibuko and Others v City of Johannesburg and Others (4) SA 471 (W) 2008 (see LGB 10(2), April/May 2008), which dealt with municipalities’ constitutional obligations to deliver water to poor communities.

Fault Lines Around Water Service Delivery.
Author: Kate Tissington

South Africa has one of the most progressive legislative and policy frameworks for water services in the world, which includes a constitutional right of access to water and a national free basic water (FBW) policy. Within this framework, water is conceived of as a social good and a vital part of poverty alleviation within the broader developmental mandate of government. However, when it comes to implementation at the local government level, where water services are located, the reality is quite different.

The Constitutionalisation of Local Government.
Author: Justice Pius Langa

In the last decade we have seen a shift in the way local government is conceived-socially, politically and in the legal context. The changes status of local government has been evident in the courts and the increased judicial scrutiny of the activities by the institutions of local government.

Undermining Local Planning.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Elsana Quarry, a mining company, was granted mining rights on a farm situated within the jurisdiction of the Swartland Municipality. The municipality requested the Court to prohibit Elsana from conducting the mining activities because the farm had not been rezoned by the municipality in terms of its zoning scheme. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 (MPRDA) requires those who obtain mining rights to comply with any ‘relevant law’. The Swartland Municipality argued that this meant that Elsana should have applied for rezoning under both the Western Cape Land Use Planning Ordinance 15 of 1985 (LUPO) and the municipality’s zoning scheme.

Service Delivery by External Providers.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

The delivery of municipal services by external providers is strictly regulated. Not only do the general constitutional requirements for procurement apply, but other, more specific rules, also govern these relationships. The Municipal Systems Act, read with the Municipal Finance Management Act, for example, says that to make use of an external provider for the delivery of a municipal service, a municipality must use competitive bidding as a procurement method, comply with a process of community consultation and ensure that the entire process is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.

Public Hearing on Service Delivery
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

In response to widespread and ongoing service delivery protests across South Africa, Parliament has established a special committee to investigate and gather information about the causes of these protests. This ad hoc committee is tasked with conducting visits to urban and rural areas, holding public hearings and generally exercising coordinated oversight in respect of service delivery and, more particularly, the problems impeding service delivery.

Making Local Economic Development Work: Some Reflections From the Field.
Author: Faith Lawrence

Local economic development (LED) in South Africa has received considerable attention in recent months. This has ranged from LED-related conferences to the finalisation of a number of strategic national reports on the state of LED in South Africa. Progress certainly has been made with LED over the past decade, but these initiatives highlight the fact that the national LED landscape is still weighed down by many challenges.

Implementing the New Division of Functions and Powers
Author: Municipal Demarcation Board

This is an edited version of a framework document, dated 11 October 2000 and prepared jointly by the Municipal Demarcation Board and the Department of Provincial and Local Government.

Name Changing of Towns: Public Participation At the Forefront Once More.
Author: Annette Christmas

The Supreme Court of Appeal recently examined the processes surrounding the changing of town names and the extent to which they must facilitate public consultation in the case of Chairpersons Association v The Minister of Arts and Culture , the Chairman of the South African Geographical Names Council and the Municipality of Makhado. This is to be distinguished from the changing of names of municipalities in terms of section 16 of the Municipal Systems Act.

The Housing Dilemma: Reviewing Local Governmnt Functions.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

An essential part of the current review of government structures is evaluating the success of local government in meetings its constitutional obligations to citizens. Key to the current review of structures is the extent to which powers and functions designated enable it to meet its developmental mandate. This article proposes a model for analysing which functions should be performed by local government and applies this model to housing. It concludes that the location of housing as a national/provincial function competency needs to be revisited.

Where to Now With District Municipalites? Redefining Their Role and Application.
Author: Nico Steytler

The debate about district municipalities- their performance and their future is widespread. Some critics question whether districts have served their function. Others contend strongly that they should be disestablished. In the debate. This argument for redefining the role of districts is not based on the current capacity problems or adjustments to the new system, it is more systematic than that.

Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks: Changing Municipal Boundaries.
Author: Annette Christmas

The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) is entrusted with the often difficult task of demarcating municipal boundaries. Disputes around cross-boundary municipalities and the changing of municipal boundaries have recently been the focus of violent protests by communities affected by these decisions. The MDB recently published a proposal about the incorporation of the Paarl, Wellington, Stellenbosch and Drakenstein municipalities into the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality. The notice attracted much attention in the media and raised important questions around how the MDB engages with proposals received from the public.

The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act.
Author: Wendy Fanoe

The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act gives effect to section 229 (1) and 229 (2) of the Constitution and is one of the final building blocks in the creation of a regulatory framework to coordinate macro-economic tax policy objectives across all three spheres of government.

Decentralised Response to HIV & AIDS.
Author: Marije Versteeg

In recent years, many municipalities have started formulating and implementing their HIV and AIDS response strategies and much progress has been made. However, most are still grasping with the issue and responses are often limited in nature, concentrating on some aspects of a comprehensive AIDS response but not yet to the extent of a well-coordinated and integrated HIV and AIDS strategy.

Defining Local Government Powers: The Need For Guidance.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The powers and functions of local government are listed in schedules 4B and 5B of the Constitution. The schedules list functional areas without detailed definitions of each area. There is a considerable overlap between local government functional areas and those of provincial government, listed in Schedules 4A and 5A. Due to this, there is a degree of confusion about who does what. A lack of clarity about role definition may prejudice service delivery and cause conflict over resources and authority.

The Property Rates Act: A Tool For Poverty Alleviation.
Author: Achmat Toefy

Property rates are an important source of revenue for municipalities and this is reflected in the preamble to the Property Rates Act of 2004.There is a need to provide local government with access to a sufficient and buoyant source of revenue necessary to fulfil its developmental objectives. At the same time, however, a municipality's financial health should not be attained at the unjustifiable expense of the poor within its area. The power to impose rates should take into account the imbalances of the past and the burden of rates on the poor.

Property Rates Act in Operation.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

After some delays, the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004 was finally brought into operation on 1 July 2005. This comprehensive Act institutes a uniform structure to the levying of property rates, which was previously governed a number of old provincial ordinances. This article highlights only a number of key features of the Act.

Johannesburg's Special Cases Policy: A New Start For the Indigent.
Author: Christopher Mbazira

On 4 May 2005 the City of Johannesburg started registering beneficiaries under the Special Cases Policy of 2004. The main purpose of the policy is to write off municipal services debts owed by indigent people and to provide subsidisation of basic services for identified classes of people.

From the Courts: Powers of Municipalities to Impose Property Rates.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court clarifies the powers, duties and status of municipalities and pronounces positively on the powers of municipalities to impose property rates. This case is a significant victory for municipalities in their efforts to value property and levy property rates.

Single Public Service: Challenges Ahead
Author: Abdul-hakim Issa

For many years, municipal councils have enjoyed the freedom to determine the recruitment, appointments, promotions, transfers and dismissals of their employees. This is in line with section 160 (1) (c) of the Constitution, which provides that a municipality may employ personnel that are necessary for the effective performance of its function.

The REDs Are Coming.
Author: Deon Louw

Regional Electricity Regulations (REDs) have been under discussion since the early 1990s and numerous debates have been held for and against them. At last the process seems to have been pushed beyond a point of no return with the announcement by the President Mbeki that the first RED will be operational by June 2005 and the last of the of the six by january 2007.

Collecting Service Debts: Constitutional Court Speaks.
Author: Abdul-hakim Issa

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court confirms that the electricity and water charges owed to a municipality must be paid before a property can be transferred to an new owner. This is a major victory for municipalities in their effort to collecting outstanding service charges.

Powers Over Liquor Matters: A Case Study of Provincial and Local Powers over Retail Liquor.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The demarcation of local government powers vis-a-vis other spheres of government is fast becoming a critical area of research and intergovernmental dialogue. It is expected that municipalities will start asserting their institutional integrity. This article presents a case study of the demarcation of the powers of local government in the regulation of the liquor retail industry.

Co-Operative Government at Work.
Author: Coriaan de Villiers

Earlier this year, the City of Cape Town entered into an innovative public -public partnership with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. This is a good illustration of co-operative government principles at work to ensure effective service delivery.

Municipal Police Services
Author: Nico Steytler

Visible policing has long been considered as indispensable in the fight against crime and lawlessness. Quick-fix solutions such as rent-a-cop schemes, were put forward as the answer. With the passing of the South African Police Services Amendment Act 83 of 1998, the legal framework has been created for the establishment of municipal police services.

The 'Big Four' Functions: Finality on SIght
Author: Charmaine Mare

On 3 June 2003, Minister Sydney Mufamadi published a notice for all nine provinces which revokes authorisation in terms of section 84 (3) of the Municipal Structures Act. These authorisations deal with four important district municipal functions, namely,the bulk supply of water, electricity and sewage purification works and municipal health services.

From SALGA: Report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill
Author: Johann Mettler

The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government passed this Bill on 22 October 2002 and the National Assembly passed two days later. The Bill at the time of writing is scheduled to be passed by the National Council of Provinces on 7 November. It should be signed into law by the middle of November.

From SALGA: immigration Bill: Another Unfunded Mandate?
Author: Johann Mettler

This is an abbreviated version of SALGA's submission to the joint session of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Select Committee on Social Servies dealing with the Immigration Bill.

Assignment to Local Government
Author: Jaap de Visser

When the new Premier of the Western Cape took office in January 2002, he vowed to devolve as many provincial functions as possible onto local authorities which have the capacity to perform them. Assignment is the most important way of bringing functions down to local government.

Electricity Restructuring: Short-Circuting Municpalities?
Author: Victoria Johnson

Important recent developments in the electricity distribution industry (EDI) could have a significant impact on municipalities. A recent court challenge raises the crucial issue of the right of municipalities to supply and distribute electricity.

President's Coordinating Council sets Agenda for Local Government
Author: Nico Steytler

At a special President's Coordinating Council (PCC) workshop on 14 December 2001, the agenda was set for building a strong and development-oriented local government. The PCC adopted wide-ranging resolutions which chart the way forward in both the short and medium term.

Designing and implementing HIV and AIDS Initiatives: Local Government's Role.
Author: Celine Mazars

"In line with the mandate assigned to municipalities as part of the vision of developmental local government, municipalities are expected to be active role players in all efforts to prevent the spread the of HIV and to mitigate the negative consequences of AIDS for communities". The various frameworks and plans guiding the HIV and AIDS response of local government insist on the municipalities role in mainstreaming HIV, and also in coordinating the local responses.

A Council's Legislative Powers
Author: Nico Steytler

In 1999 (1) LGL, Bulletin 6, the impact of the recent case of Fedsure Life Assurance Ltd v Greater Johannesburg Transitional Metropolitan Council1999 (1) SA 374 (CC) in confirming the new constitutional status of local government structures was highlighted. In this case the Constitutional Court held that 'a local government is no longer public body exercising delegated powers. Its council is a deliberative legislative assembly with legislative and executive powers recognised in the Constitution itself.

Evictions: Municipalities and the Constitution: The Right to Housing.
Author: Sandra Liebenberg

Two court cases dealing with evictions: Case One: Vanessa Ross v South Peninsula Municipality (1999) JOL 5298 (C). Case Two: Grootboom and Others v Oostenberg Municipality, Cape Metropolitan Council, Premier of the Province of the Western Cape, National Housing Board and Government of the Republic of South Africa (Case no: 6826/99)0

Provinces vs Structures Act: Demarcartion Board Walks off with the Spoils.
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 15 October 1999, the Constitutional Court laid down judgments on a range of constitutional challenges to the Structures Act 117 of 1998 that had been brought forward b the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provincial executives. Most of the complaints levelled against the Act had to do with the constitutional scheme of the division of powers between the three spheres of government in relation to local government.

From the Courts: Is There a Right to View?
Author: Fiona Ogle

Though there is no common law right to a view, the case of Paolo v Jeeva N.O and Others 2004 (1) SA 396 SCA has led to the perception among the public that certain laws do protect an existing view. As a result of media coverage, it is widely believed that section 7 of the National Buildings Regulations and Building Standards Act obliges a municipality to refuse any building plan for a building that will interfere with the view of an adjoining property.

Socio Economic Rights and Basic Municipal Services.
Author: Nico Steytler

The socio-economic rights in the Bill of Rights bind all organs of state, including municipalities. These rights may also impose positive obligation. Through the delivery of basic services municipalities fulfil some of these obligations.

Local Government is in Good Health.
Author: Nico Steytler

The core principles, values and features of the new local government system are sound. This is the conclusion of the national Portfolio Committee on Local Government after a major study tour of the municipalities at the beginning of 2003.

From the Courts: Property Rates on Agricultural Land
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The issue before the Court in Boshoff v Nkwetana Munisipaliteit 1935/2003 FS was whether the municipality had the authority to levy rates on agricultural land and whether it followed the correct procedure in doing so.

Municipal revenue
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A Western Cape perspective
Author: Jaap de Visser

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.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A national perspective
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata & Jaap de Visser

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.

Local government response to the economic impact of COVID-19
Author: Phumla Hlati & Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

The full impact of the nationwide lockdown under COVID-19 restrictions to the South African economy is yet to be fully understood. However, Statistics South Africa estimates that in the second quarter of 2020, the economy contracted by 51 percent. In anticipation of the socio-economic impact, national government announced a R500 billion stimulus package that included various support measures to Small and Medium Enterprises, the informal sector and to municipalities. But what has been the local government economic response to COVID-19?

African School on Decentralisation: The impact of COVID-19 on decentralisation in Africa
Author: Curtly Stevens

The African School on Decentralisation (ASD) is a collaboration between the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development located at the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) of the University of the Western Cape and the Centre for Federalism and Governance Studies (CFGS) of Addis Ababa University. The two institutes were to hold the inaugural course of the ASD under the theme ‘Decentralisation and Development in Africa’ from 25 May to 5 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Regrettably, the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) across the continent witnessed from March 2020 necessitated the postponement of the ASD to 2021.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality vs COVID-19: 90 days into the Lockdown
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Since the declaration of the state of national disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Government on 18 March 2020, and the subsequent announcement of a Lockdown by the President on 26 March, municipalities have implemented various measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyses some of the measures taken by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Metro) more than 90 days into the Lockdown. While disaster management is a shared national and provincial government competence, municipalities play a crucial role during disasters in terms of their constitutional functions (listed under Schedule 4B and 5B) and their assigned functions (s99 and 126), such as housing.

Development charges in South Africa – the case of in-kind payments and subsidisation of certain categories of land development (Part 2)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Development charges have now received attention in the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill. The Bill contains a new chapter 3A that regulates the power of municipalities to levy development charges from developers in a uniform manner. Part 1 of the series on the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill introduced the Bill and provided a general analysis of its provisions on development charges. In this article (Part 2 of the series), the focus is on the provisions regulating the in-kind payment of development charges, the subsidisation of categories of land development and the permissible uses of revenue from development charges. The article concludes with some reflections on the Bill.

Development charges in South Africa – An introduction to the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill (Part 1)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Picture this scenario: Trollkins Consortium (Pty) Ltd submits a land use application to Nkanyezi Local Municipality, with the proposal to undertake the construction of retail stores, restaurants, offices and a casino. This proposal sounds exciting - on one hand, it will offer employment opportunities, economic development and growth, and will result in the movement of goods and people in the municipality. On the other hand, Nkanyezi Local Municipality is concerned that by approving Trollkins’ application, more water, sewerage and electricity infrastructure will be needed. This means the proposed development could have negative financial impacts such as burdening the current municipal infrastructure without value for use. It could thus potentially burden the municipality as it will have to provide infrastructure to accommodate the additional load that the proposed development will place on municipal bulk infrastructure and unduly benefit the developer who might not pay the true cost of the extended infrastructure or not pay at all.

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 Policy In The Numbers.
Author: Derek Powell

There is more to the 2011 Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review than numbers. The review tells a story about the policy behind the numbers. It lays down the policy line, sends clear signals about policy shifts on the way, issues warnings, educates us, and sometimes brings out the big stick or applies the brakes.

The National Treasury 2011 Local Government Review.
Author: Derek Powell

It is the most rigorous analysis of local government published by government. The 2011 Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review, released in September, is the National Treasury’s analysis of long-term trends in local government finances and performance. We will have a close look at the wealth of information in this report, in this and forthcoming issues of the Bulletin. We begin with a general introduction to the document, focusing on its purpose and importance as a barometer of local government.

Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill Update.
Author: Annette May

The proposals contained in the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill (see LGB 13(2), July 2011, pp 13–15) have attracted much attention. The media, the public and estate agents have all critiqued the provisions on the rating of residential properties which are not the primary residence of the property owner: for example, investment properties that have been purchased to let, or holiday residences.

The Budget Vote for Local Government.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

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.

Property Rates Latest Development.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

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.

Municipal Property Rates Act Out Of Public Comment.
Author: Conrad Bosire

After a lengthy process of public consultation on amendments to the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs finally released a Bill on 9 June, giving the public two weeks to comment.

Review of the Local Government Fiscal Framework.
Author: SALGA

In 2009, SALGA recommended to the Local Government Budget Forum that there should be a review of many aspects of fiscal policies in relation to municipal finances. This year SALGA proposed a comprehensive review of the local government fiscal framework (LGFF). While there have been some ad hoc policy changes over the past few years, many remain incomplete or unattended to. In SALGA’s view, the review of the LGFF should address the fundamental structural challenges, rather than introducing minor ad hoc adjustments, if it is to improve operational efficiency in the short and long term.

The Withholding of Rates and Taxes in Five Municipalities.
Author: Derek Powell

The Community Law Centre, in partnership with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and SALGA, recently completed a research project on the phenomenon of rates withholding in five South African municipalities. ‘Rates withholding’ is the practice by ratepayers of withholding their property rates and, in some cases, fees for municipal services because they believe that municipalities are not delivering. We argue that this practice, though less visible than service delivery protests, is equally destructive.

Withholding Rates: A New Culture of Non-Payment.
Author: Zamalek Ayele

Rates boycotts, alongside other forms of community protest, were historically linked to the grassroots struggles of communities against the apartheid government. Protest action in various forms – such as rates boycotts, bus boycotts, student protests and community riots – were among the few effective tools available to disempowered communities to voice their dissatisfaction. Those forms of protests – sometimes destructive and violent – conjure up images that are reminiscent of apartheid era activism. Rates withholding is an emerging form of protest that is being utilised increasingly by communities across South Africa.

From the Courts: Setting Tarrifs, The Duty to Consult.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

The introduction of new rates tariffs by a municipality is rarely ever greeted without public debate – or, in some instances, even conflict. In this case, the Stellenbosch Ratepayers’ Association applied for the invalidation of a rate tariff which had been introduced by the municipality.

Municipal Rates Policies and the Urban Poor.
Author: Alison Hickey

In urban areas, the poor continue to struggle to access well-located land. Secondary residential property markets are also constrained from functioning effectively in black townships. Recent research supported by the South African Cities Network (SACN) and Urban Landmark hasinvestigated how municipal property rates policies are, or could be, used to promote access by the poor to urban land markets.

The Municipal Imperative.
Author: Rob Haswell

Much, if not most, of our country’s problems – particularly poverty and unemployment – stem from our under-resourced and underperforming local government system. So much so, that it is now imperative that municipalities become the focus of government activity.

Coping With Crunch Time: What the Recession Means For Local Government.
Author: David Savage

Municipalities have already passed their budgets for the 2009/10 municipal financial year, and are beginnin g to finalise financial statements for 2008/09. Both of these processes are driving home to managers and councillors the impact of the global economic crisis on their own operations.

The Housing Dilemma: Reviewing Local Governmnt Functions.
Author: Dr Jaap de Visser

An essential part of the current review of government structures is evaluating the success of local government in meetings its constitutional obligations to citizens. Key to the current review of structures is the extent to which powers and functions designated enable it to meet its developmental mandate. This article proposes a model for analysing which functions should be performed by local government and applies this model to housing. It concludes that the location of housing as a national/provincial function competency needs to be revisited.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

Do Property Rates Expire After Three Or After Thirty Years?

Levying Property Rates: A New Dispensation.
Author: Nico Steytler

With the gradual implementation of the Local Government Property Rates Act, the impact of the new constitutional regime in the levying of property rates is slowly filtering through. The latest conflict concerned whether a provision of the old Cape Ordinance requiring the administrators consent for an increase in the rate was constitutionally valid.

Municipality's Share of the National Pie: New Grants, More Money in the Fight Against Poverty.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The Division of Revenue Bill 2007, introduced by the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manual, sets out the allocations local government will receive for the 2007/2008 financial year. The Bill not only determines local government's equitable share of revenue raised by the national government, but it also contains a number of innovations. The most important are the new conditional grants- the Neighbourhood Development Partnership grant and the Water Services Bulk Infrastructure grant.

The Property Rates Act: A Tool For Poverty Alleviation.
Author: Achmat Toefy

Property rates are an important source of revenue for municipalities and this is reflected in the preamble to the Property Rates Act of 2004.There is a need to provide local government with access to a sufficient and buoyant source of revenue necessary to fulfil its developmental objectives. At the same time, however, a municipality's financial health should not be attained at the unjustifiable expense of the poor within its area. The power to impose rates should take into account the imbalances of the past and the burden of rates on the poor.

From the Courts: Powers of Municipalities to Impose Property Rates.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court clarifies the powers, duties and status of municipalities and pronounces positively on the powers of municipalities to impose property rates. This case is a significant victory for municipalities in their efforts to value property and levy property rates.

Collecting Service Debts: Constitutional Court Speaks.
Author: Abdul-hakim Issa

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court confirms that the electricity and water charges owed to a municipality must be paid before a property can be transferred to an new owner. This is a major victory for municipalities in their effort to collecting outstanding service charges.

Municipal Debt Comes First.
Author: Kate Reynolds

The recent judgment in the Transvaal Provincial Division case of Summer Symphony Properties 13 CC and BOE Bank v City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and Others has attracted much attention in the press. This is the second recent judgment to deal with section 118 of the Municipal Systems Act, the first having been handed down in the Natal Provincial Division.

Intervening into Warrenton
Author: Johann Metler

On 17 February 1999, the provincial executive of the Northern Cape Province intervened into the Warrenton municipality On 16 March, the matter was reported to the chairperson of the NCOP and three days later, the NCOP process got off to a start. This article will examine the circumstances that gave rise to the intervention, the handling of the intervention by all concerned and any lessons that may be learnt from it.

Section 139 Intervention
Author: Nico Steytler

Section 139 of the Constitution authorises the provincial executive to intervene in a municipality when it does not fulfil its executive obligation in terms of legislation. This article seeks to introduce the rules and principles that can be derived from the Constitution.

Getting Municipalities Out of the Red
Author: Charmaine Mare

More than a thousands delegates comprising municipal political office bearers and officials, local government MEC's provincial local government heads of department, national politicians and officials and organised local government attended a two-day Municipal Viability indaba at the Sandton Convention Centre on 5 and 6 December 2002.

From SALGA: Report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill
Author: Johann Mettler

The Portfolio Committee on Provincial and Local Government passed this Bill on 22 October 2002 and the National Assembly passed two days later. The Bill at the time of writing is scheduled to be passed by the National Council of Provinces on 7 November. It should be signed into law by the middle of November.

Electricity Restructuring: Short-Circuting Municpalities?
Author: Victoria Johnson

Important recent developments in the electricity distribution industry (EDI) could have a significant impact on municipalities. A recent court challenge raises the crucial issue of the right of municipalities to supply and distribute electricity.

President's Coordinating Council sets Agenda for Local Government
Author: Nico Steytler

At a special President's Coordinating Council (PCC) workshop on 14 December 2001, the agenda was set for building a strong and development-oriented local government. The PCC adopted wide-ranging resolutions which chart the way forward in both the short and medium term.

From the Courts: Suitable Alternative Land Before Evictions.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

Section 6(3) (c) of the Prevention of illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 provides that when a court decides whether an eviction order is just and equitable, it needs to consider the availability of suitable alternative land. The main question is what is meant by this term.

From the Courts: Sewerage Charges Based on Property Value and Usage
Author: Gladys Mawoneke

At the end of 2005, the Supreme Court of Appeal made a ruling on the question of whether sewerage charges should be based on the value of the property or on the amount of water used. The matter had been brought by the Rates Action Group against a High Court judgment, which ruled that the City of Cape Town was permitted to impose property rates for services in addition to general property rates, in conjunction with a tariff based on water usage.

State of the Municipalities: More Money, More Skills
Author: Xavia Poswa

In his 2006 State of the Nation Address on 3 February , President Thabo Mbeki focused on the troubles and goals of local government. While he noted that three quarters of South Africans approve of the government's service delivery efforts, only 45% believe that local government is performing well. The President then set out his plan to rescue local government.

Municipal expenditure, financial management and procurement
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Recovering fruitless and wasteful expenditure: Nelson Mandela Bay v Lindele Antonio Petuna
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Year after year, the Auditor General exposes how too many municipalities incur significant amounts of fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003 (MFMA) defines fruitless and wasteful expenditure as ‘expenditure that was made in vain and would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised’.

Why appeals against tender awards by the municipal manager are unlawful
Author: Jaap de Visser & Nico Steytler

Separating politics from administration is the cornerstone of the fight against corruption and maladministration in municipalities. When councillors meddle in the administration, and/or administrators interfere with politics, bad governance and, ultimately, service delivery failure is almost always the result.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A Western Cape perspective
Author: Jaap de Visser

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.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality vs COVID-19: 90 days into the Lockdown
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Since the declaration of the state of national disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Government on 18 March 2020, and the subsequent announcement of a Lockdown by the President on 26 March, municipalities have implemented various measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyses some of the measures taken by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Metro) more than 90 days into the Lockdown. While disaster management is a shared national and provincial government competence, municipalities play a crucial role during disasters in terms of their constitutional functions (listed under Schedule 4B and 5B) and their assigned functions (s99 and 126), such as housing.

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.

The Policy In The Numbers.
Author: Derek Powell

There is more to the 2011 Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review than numbers. The review tells a story about the policy behind the numbers. It lays down the policy line, sends clear signals about policy shifts on the way, issues warnings, educates us, and sometimes brings out the big stick or applies the brakes.

The National Treasury 2011 Local Government Review.
Author: Derek Powell

It is the most rigorous analysis of local government published by government. The 2011 Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review, released in September, is the National Treasury’s analysis of long-term trends in local government finances and performance. We will have a close look at the wealth of information in this report, in this and forthcoming issues of the Bulletin. We begin with a general introduction to the document, focusing on its purpose and importance as a barometer of local government.

Bid Amendments: The Disqualification of Unresponsive Bids.
Author: Prof Phoebe Bolton

The court in this case confirmed that it was unfair for an organ of state to afford one bidder an opportunity to amend its bid after the close of tenders and before evaluation and not allow other bidders to do the same. This is particularly the case where an organ of state indicates in the bid documents that non-compliant bids will be disqualified.

New Preferential Procurement Regulations Released.
Author: Professor Phoebe Bolton

After much anticipation and a lengthy process of review, the new regulations under the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act of 2000 (Procurement Act ) have finally been released. The Preferential Procurement Regulations 2011 will only take effect on 7 December 2011, but clearly hold implications for the way in which municipalities procure goods and services. In this article, the most essential aspects of the regulations are highlighted.

Are We On Track For A Clean Audit in 2014?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

On 16 July 2009 the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) launched an ambitious project dubbed ‘Operation Clean Audit 2014’. This operation is part of a bigger project called ‘Operation Clean Up’, which has three other components: Clean Cities and Towns, Debt Collection, and Public Mobilisation and Revenue Enhancement.

The Budget Vote for Local Government.
Author: Zemelak Ayaele

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.

Different Hats Worn by the Municipal Manager in the Tender/Bid Process.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

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.

The Tender Process and Blacklisted Suppliers.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

The courts view the blacklisting of suppliers by the National Treasury in a very serious light and confirm that organs of state are allowed to cancel contracts concluded with suppliers who, when tendering for a contract, knowingly and wrongfully fail to disclose their inclusion on the National Treasury’s database as companies or persons prohibited from doing business with the public sector.

Limitations of Section 62 Appeal Procedure.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

Section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act provides that any person ‘whose rights are affected by a decision taken by a political structure, political office bearer, councillor or staff memberof a municipality in terms of a power or duty delegated or sub-delegated by a delegating authority to the political structure, political office bearer, councillor or staff member, may appeal against that decision by giving written notice of the appeal and reasons to themunicipal manager within 21 days of the date of the notification of the decision.

From the Courts: Who Excludes Bidders From Future Contracts?
Author: Phoebe Bolton

The duty to create and maintain a sound supply chain management system is an essential component of the good governance of any municipality. While the Municipal Finance Management Act clearly outlines the type of relationship that should exist between the municipality and those bidding to supply services, it is difficult at times to determine how acts of bribery, for example should be dealt with and the appropriate procedures to be followed when these matters.

The Financial Health of Municipalities.
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

In the 2008 Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review, the National Treasury analyses how municipalities have been funded since 2003/2004 and how they will be funded until 2009/2010. It does the same for the expenditure patterns of municipalities. This article highlights just a few important issues from a comprehensive review.

From the Courts: The Municipal Manager Supervisory Role Over Bid Committees.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

Bid committees can be described as the engine rooms that give effect to a municipalities’ supply chain management policy. The work of these committees is integral to ensuring that procurement processes not only comply with the regulatory framework governing supply chain management, but also result in fair, equitable, transparent and cost effective procurement of goods and services. The three bid committees that are responsible for driving procurement processes include the Bid Specification Committee (BSC), Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) and Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC)

When Can Bidders With a Bad Track Record Be Rejected?
Author: Phoebe Bolton

There are a number of legislative grounds upon which a municipal manager may reject a tender bid. One such ground is provided in the Municipal Supply Chain Management Regulations. Regulation 38(1) provides that a municipality’s supply chain management policy must provide measures for combating abuse of the supply chain management system. Furthermore, it must enable the municipal manager to reject the bid of a bidder who, during the past five years, has failed to perform satisfactorily on a previous contract with the municipality or municipal entity or any other organ of state. This applies only if written notice has been given to that bidder that its performance was unsatisfactory.

Legal Brief
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

Who is liable to pay the municipal accounts of defaulting tenants?

The Role and Function of Bid Committees.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

In recent months the courts have stressed the importance of the roles and functions of these committees. Contracts have been set aside because bid committees were not properly constituted, proper procedures were not followed at meetings or bids were evaluated based on specifications different from those initially advertised. With reference to the case law, it is particularly important for municipalities to comply with the following rules, as failing to do so leads to costly litigation.

From the Courts: Extending Municipal Managers Contracts
Author: Professor Nico Steytler

The Change of government in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Council has also seen a change in the office of the municipal manager. Although the decision of the Cape High Court in Mgoqi v City of Cape Town dealt with a number of issues, at the core of the dispute was whether the the outgoing mayor could have extended the contract of the then municipal manager, Wallace Mgoqi.

Tying Municipal Manager's Pay to Performance.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

Municipal managers are well paid-too well, it has sometimes been argued. Many wonder why the head public servants of local government should earn more than mayors, or in some cases even the President. The remuneration of managers became a hot issue in the run-up to the recent local government elections. the Department of Provincial and Government recently gazetted new regulations on the performance and remuneration of municipal managers.

Managing Expectations While Commiting to Improved Service.
Author: Zenobia Africa

The writing of the Buffalo City Service Charter was an iterative process that involved a cross-section of officials in the municipality. During the sessions, the measurability of the promises and pledges on quality was hotly debated. Officials agreed that in the case of some services, like water and sanitation, there are national standards with which they have to comply.

Salaries Scale Upwards For Mayors, Managers and Councillors.
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

National government recently gazetted new and bigger remuneration packages for municipal councillors. The proposal sees a big jump in salaries for all office-bearers, especially part-time councillors. However, some dangers lurk in the changes for rural councils and voters in poorer communities.

Municipality's Share of the National Pie: New Grants, More Money in the Fight Against Poverty.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The Division of Revenue Bill 2007, introduced by the Minister of Finance, Trevor Manual, sets out the allocations local government will receive for the 2007/2008 financial year. The Bill not only determines local government's equitable share of revenue raised by the national government, but it also contains a number of innovations. The most important are the new conditional grants- the Neighbourhood Development Partnership grant and the Water Services Bulk Infrastructure grant.

Service Delivery Agreements: Renegotiations and Amendments.
Author: Victoria Johnson

Contract renegotiations and amendments are a relatively common feature of long-term service delivery agreements and public-private partnerships. The legislature has recognised this in existing and newly promulgated legislation which clearly aims to limit risks associated with contract amendments.

The PPP Procurement Process.
Author: Gladys Mawoneke

The Public-Private Partnership procurement process overlaps in many respect with the recently published Supply Chain Management Regulations. The overlap occurs where a proposed transaction is both a PPP and one of the matters to which the SCM regulations apply. Although the focus in this article is not on the SCM regulations, any attempt to discuss the PPP procurement process separately from the SC, regulations would be incomplete.

The New Municipal PPP Regulations.
Author: Kate Reynolds

Regulations governing public/private partnerships in the local government sphere came into effect on 1 April 2005. Section 120 of the Municipal Finance Management Act also regulates PPP's and the new PPP regulations have the effect of elaborating or expanding on some of the concepts introduced in section 120.

Outsourcing Municipal Services and Skills Transfer.
Author: Victoria Johnson

The Local Government Project conducted a survey of a wide range of current South African service delivery contracts to see how their actual contract terms assist in achieving the outsourcing objectives and how they provide for the common dangers. The objective was to get a general idea of the these service delivery contracts entail. This article focuses on what they contain on the issue of skills transfer,.

From the Courts: Councillors and Contracts With Their Municipality.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

In the case of Mpakathi v Kgotso Development and Others SCA, Case No. 334/03, the Court had to consider whether a property attached by a municipality may be sold in execution to a close corporation if one of the members of that close corporation is a municipal councillor.

Municipal Debts Are Rising.
Author: Cristin Peel

In a recent report to Parliament, the Auditor-General, Shauket Fakie questioned the ability of South African municipalities to continue operating as a going concern. He commented that municipalities mounting levels of uncollected debt relative to their income was a cause for concern. The total municipal debt countrywide is more than R32 Billion and it is getting worse each year because of non-payment.

Supply Chain Management and Public-Private Partnership Provisions.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

Chapter 11 of the Municipal Finance Management Act came into force on 1 July 2004. This chapter contains provisions that strictly regulate the acquiring of goods and services and the disposal of municipal assets. A sound knowledge and understanding of its provisions is therefore an essential requirement for all municipalities and municipal entities.

A New Role For Provincial Treasuries
Author: Nico Steytler

The Municipal Finance Management Act gives provincial treasuries an important role in supervising municipalities. Whereas the provincial Departments of Local Government were responsible in the past for most aspects of local government, including monitoring municipalities financial well-being, provincial treasuries will now perform important functions with regard to monitoring of, and intervening in municipalities.

State of the Municipalities: More Money, More Skills
Author: Xavia Poswa

In his 2006 State of the Nation Address on 3 February , President Thabo Mbeki focused on the troubles and goals of local government. While he noted that three quarters of South Africans approve of the government's service delivery efforts, only 45% believe that local government is performing well. The President then set out his plan to rescue local government.

Section 62 Appeals: A tender process.
Author: Achmat Toefy

Many people aggrieved by decisions made by municipalities have latched on to the fact that they have a right to appeal in terms of section 62 of the Municipal Systems Act. Municipalities have recently experienced a significant increase in the number of appeals lodged in terms of section 62. This has led to municipalities having to grapple with the parameters and practical implications of section 62. This article highlights a few difficulties in this regard.

Supervision (monitoring, support, interventions)
Author: Karel
Published: Mar 01, 2021
Court stops reckless electricity outsourcing contract
Author: Curtly Stevens

Can a municipality under a section 139(5) intervention avoid or by-pass an Administrator, or adopt decisions, such as entering into contracts, that undermine a Financial Recovery Plan? According to the Western Cape High Court, in Executive Council of the Western Cape Province and Others v Kannaland Local Municipality and Others the answer is no. The Court stopped Kannaland Municipal Council from implementing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract involving the outsourcing of electricity after the Municipality had acted unlawfully and at the detriment of its financial sustainability.

Stepping aside, But then What? How the ANC's Resolution affects councillors
Author: Jaap de Visser

The African National Congress (ANC) is implementing a resolution, which provides that members who face criminal charges for corruption, must ‘step aside’. It means, amongst other things, that these members may no longer represent the ANC on any public body. How does this affect ANC members who represent the party as councillors? And what does it mean for the municipality in which they serve?

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

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.

SCA reinstates the City of Tshwane’s municipal council, for now…
Author: Curtly Stevens

On 27 October 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled in The Premier for the Province of Gauteng and Others v Democratic Alliance and Others that the municipal council of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality must be reinstated. This article discusses the legal and political consequences of the judgment for the City of Tshwane and similarly situated municipalities.

Courts as a check on provincial interventions: the Makana and Tshwane interventions
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Provincial intervention under section 139 of the Constitution is one of the many mechanisms available to provinces to rectify problems at municipal level. This provision provides a menu of different interventions which are of a discretionary, mandatory, budget or financial nature. Provinces have conducted many interventions but the record of these interventions is not very good. Many of these interventions actually fail to bring municipalities back on their feet. Choosing the correct intervention without falling foul of the law also seems to be a problem.

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)).

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.

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.

Implications of Non-Compliance With Treasuries Competency Requirements.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

In 2007, in response to the capacity constraints bedevilling local government, the National Treasury issued regulations setting out minimum competency requirements which all municipal financial and supply chain management officials have to meet. The regulations took effect on 1 January 2008, but gave a fiveyear period of grace within which all financial and supply chain management officials throughout the country were required to attain the minimum competency levels. For these officials, the countdown reaches zero on 1 January 2013.

Consequences of Failing to Adopt a Budget by 30 June.
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

Political disagreements in a municipal council sometimes lead to stalemates on important matters such as the adoption of a municipal budget. Failure to adopt a budget by 30 June triggers the question: must the provincial government intervene, and, if so, how? This matter was the subject of a recent ruling of the Western Cape High Court. In this case, the High Court for the first time addressed the mandatory provisions of section 139(4) of the Constitution.

New Leaders, Persistant Challenges
Author: Prof Jaap de Visser

The outcome of the elections of 22 April is critical for local government. The success of ‘developmental local government’ depends to a large extent on the choices the incoming national and provincial governments make around local government. For example, the review of provincial and local government, started by former Minister Sydney Mufamadi, will be completed under the auspices of the incoming national government. This article presents some perspectives of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN) that the incoming governments and the political parties that populate them may want to consider.

Court Rejects the Traditional Method of Intervention in Municipalities.
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

As the local government turnaround strategy gains momentum (see page 7 and the editorial) and energy is focused on assessing the state of local government, the role of provincial oversight in respect of municipalities, including interventions, is critical. The Mnquma case revisited what is required of provinces in the context of an intervention. The judgment, while contributing to the debate, may, however, have raised more questions than it provided answers.

Public Hearing on Service Delivery
Author: Phindile Ntlizwiyana

In response to widespread and ongoing service delivery protests across South Africa, Parliament has established a special committee to investigate and gather information about the causes of these protests. This ad hoc committee is tasked with conducting visits to urban and rural areas, holding public hearings and generally exercising coordinated oversight in respect of service delivery and, more particularly, the problems impeding service delivery.

Vision 2011 and 2014 of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)

At the Local Government Bulletin’s tenth anniversary conference, Mr Elroy Africa, the acting director-general of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, outlined the vision of the ministry and the department in the short and long term, emphasising the need to improve the quality of governance and service delivery by local government.

Provincial Supervision of the New Municipalities: The Challenges ahead
Author: Nico Steytler

The Constitution requires from provinces to monitor, support and, if necessary intervene in a municipality. The new local government dispensation, establishing metropolitan, district and local municipalities, will impact on the way provinces execute their constitutional obligations of monitoring and support. This article examines how provinces should respond to those challenges.

The Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

Each municipality classified as high capacity in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 is required to compile a service delivery and budget implementation plan. The SDBIP is a management, implementation and monitoring tool that will assist the mayor, municipal manager, councillors, senior managers and the community with realising the municipality's strategic objectives as outlined in the Integrated Development Plan.

Defining Local Government Powers: The Need For Guidance.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The powers and functions of local government are listed in schedules 4B and 5B of the Constitution. The schedules list functional areas without detailed definitions of each area. There is a considerable overlap between local government functional areas and those of provincial government, listed in Schedules 4A and 5A. Due to this, there is a degree of confusion about who does what. A lack of clarity about role definition may prejudice service delivery and cause conflict over resources and authority.

Service Delivery Agreements: Renegotiations and Amendments.
Author: Victoria Johnson

Contract renegotiations and amendments are a relatively common feature of long-term service delivery agreements and public-private partnerships. The legislature has recognised this in existing and newly promulgated legislation which clearly aims to limit risks associated with contract amendments.

The PPP Procurement Process.
Author: Gladys Mawoneke

The Public-Private Partnership procurement process overlaps in many respect with the recently published Supply Chain Management Regulations. The overlap occurs where a proposed transaction is both a PPP and one of the matters to which the SCM regulations apply. Although the focus in this article is not on the SCM regulations, any attempt to discuss the PPP procurement process separately from the SC, regulations would be incomplete.

Who Can Dismiss a Municipal Manager?
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

The recent controversy surrounding the municipal manager of the Central Karoo District Municipality raised important questions regarding which sphere of government is responsible for the conduct of a municipal manager. Ultimately , who has the power to dismiss a municipal manager?

Property Rates Act in Operation.
Author: Prof Nico Steytler

After some delays, the Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004 was finally brought into operation on 1 July 2005. This comprehensive Act institutes a uniform structure to the levying of property rates, which was previously governed a number of old provincial ordinances. This article highlights only a number of key features of the Act.

The New Municipal PPP Regulations.
Author: Kate Reynolds

Regulations governing public/private partnerships in the local government sphere came into effect on 1 April 2005. Section 120 of the Municipal Finance Management Act also regulates PPP's and the new PPP regulations have the effect of elaborating or expanding on some of the concepts introduced in section 120.

From the Courts: Powers of Municipalities to Impose Property Rates.
Author: Lehlonoholo Kennedy Mahlatsi

A recent judgment by the Constitutional Court clarifies the powers, duties and status of municipalities and pronounces positively on the powers of municipalities to impose property rates. This case is a significant victory for municipalities in their efforts to value property and levy property rates.

Applying the New Section 139 Intervention Powers: Issues Arising from Practice.
Author: Jaap de Visser

Section 139 of the Constitution permits a provincial government to intervene in the affairs of a municipality under certain specified circumstances of non-performance. Such an intervention has serious consequences for the municipal council's authority to govern. In 2003, provincial government's intervention powers were increased significantly. Most importantly, the revised wording for the dissolution of a council and for interventions in the event of so-called financial emergencies.

From the Courts: Councillors and Contracts With Their Municipality.
Author: Lehlohonolo Kennedy Mahlatsi

In the case of Mpakathi v Kgotso Development and Others SCA, Case No. 334/03, the Court had to consider whether a property attached by a municipality may be sold in execution to a close corporation if one of the members of that close corporation is a municipal councillor.

Salary Increases For Councillors.
Author: Reuben Baatjies

Councillors may see an increase of 7% in their salaries, benefits and allowances. This was the recommendation to the President by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.

Municipal Debts Are Rising.
Author: Cristin Peel

In a recent report to Parliament, the Auditor-General, Shauket Fakie questioned the ability of South African municipalities to continue operating as a going concern. He commented that municipalities mounting levels of uncollected debt relative to their income was a cause for concern. The total municipal debt countrywide is more than R32 Billion and it is getting worse each year because of non-payment.

From the Courts: Notifying the IEC of a Floor-Crossing.
Author: Lehlohonolo-Kennedy Mahlatsi

The Constitution of South Africa Amendment Act 18 of 2002 and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act 20 of 2002 contain provisions designed to allow defection by an elected representative from one political party to another.

Powers Over Liquor Matters: A Case Study of Provincial and Local Powers over Retail Liquor.
Author: Jaap de Visser

The demarcation of local government powers vis-a-vis other spheres of government is fast becoming a critical area of research and intergovernmental dialogue. It is expected that municipalities will start asserting their institutional integrity. This article presents a case study of the demarcation of the powers of local government in the regulation of the liquor retail industry.

Supply Chain Management and Public-Private Partnership Provisions.
Author: Phoebe Bolton

Chapter 11 of the Municipal Finance Management Act came into force on 1 July 2004. This chapter contains provisions that strictly regulate the acquiring of goods and services and the disposal of municipal assets. A sound knowledge and understanding of its provisions is therefore an essential requirement for all municipalities and municipal entities.

Strengthening Accountability and Political Oversight.
Author: Geraldine Mettler

The Gauteng province took a policy decision in 2007 to promote municipal public accounts committees (MPACs) in municipalities in the province. Although these committees are structurally different from the standing committees on public accounts, (SCOPAs) they are to resemble SCOPA's. The main purpose of MPACs is to create a process of accounting that is more transparent, effective and efficient , thus enhancing political oversight and accountability in the use of municipal financial resources. MPACs are section 79 committees and fall within the domain of the speaker, who acts as the link between the MPAC and other municipal committees and structures.

Holding the Municipal Executive To Account
Author: Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

The accountability of the executive to the council is a cardinal principle of good governance. Information flow is essential to holding it accountable for its decisions and performance in delivering services and meeting locally prioritised outcomes. A prerequsite for information flow is transparency in the manner in which the executive carries out its tasks, and this begs the question: are there fault lines in the design of the local government system that have given rise to a lack of accountability and responsiveness.