Local Government Bulletin

Volume 11, Issue 1 February 2009
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Nov 16, 2017
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.

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.

Gender, HIV Development and the Role of Local Government.
Author: Celine Mazars

Inequality between the sexes is slowing down transformation in South Africa. This inequality is compounded by the fact that women disproportionately bear the brunt of the devastating impact which HIV has on communities and families. The HIV and AIDS epidemic continues to hit the most productive part of the population the hardest. The result is that it also impacts negatively on local government service delivery, in that municipalities have to meet the increasing demand for social services.

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.

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.

Volume 10, Issue 5, November 2008.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 24, 2017
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.

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.

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.

Defining "Municipal Health Services" The Powers and Functions Debate Continues.
Author: Annette Christmas

Health services are essential to the well-being and sustainability of every community in South Africa. Municipal health services, in keeping with the development mandate of local government, are listed as a Schedule 4B function in the Constitution. It follows that local government has full executive and legislative authority over this function.

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.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

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

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.

Volume 10, Issue 3, July/August 2008.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 19, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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.

Local AIDS Councils: New Developments Toward Better Functioning.
Author: Marije Versteeg

Despite their potential to advise, support and strengthen local government in its response to HIV and AIDS epidemic, many local and district AIDS council are struggling to fulfil this role. This article reflects on a recent event, aimed at looking at the effectiveness of AIDS councils and ways of strengthening their performance. It is also a follow-up to the article on AIDS councils in the August 2007 issue of the Bulletin.

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.

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.

Legal Brief
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

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

Local Governance in Zambia.
Author: Bornwell C. Chikuko

In post-independence Zambia, governments have sought to design and implement decentralised democratic local governance to facilitate wider participation by the citizentry and service delivery. This article provides an overview of the constitutional and legislative framework for local government in Zambia.

Volume 10, Issue 2, April/ May 2008.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 19, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

From the Courts: The Right To Water: A Matter of Dignity.
Author: Reuben Baartjies

According to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, "Water is life, sanitation is dignity" Water, as a human right, is essential to sustain life, development and the environment. In Mazibuko and Others v City of Johannesburg and Others the fundamental right to have access to sufficient water and the right to human dignity were tested.

Local Government in Zimbabwe at the Crossroads: A Perspective
Author: Gorden Moyo

At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a racially divided system of local government that was highly centralised. The current legal and administrative structures of local government are a product of both the colonial history and post-colonial reconstruction of the relations between central government and local authorities.