Local Government Bulletin

Volume 11, Issue 5, November/December 2009
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Nov 21, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

From the Courts: Evaluating the Right to Electricity.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)

The Constitutional Court has ruled that the disconnection of electricity supply to a block of flats by the Johannesburg municipality without prior notice was unlawful, and ordered its immediate reconnection. The Court set aside a decision of the South Gauteng High Court which held that there is no obligation on the Johannesburg municipality to afford procedural fairness to tenants with whom City Power has no contractual relationship before taking a decision to disconnect their electricity.

Helpdesk
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Volume 11, Issue 4, October 2009.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Nov 17, 2017
All Hands on Deck for Local Government. President Addresses Mayors and Managers.
Author: MLGA(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.

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.

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.

Monkey Business: A Case Study of Roles and Responsibilities.
Author: Zamalek Ayele

The issue of mandates and functions continues to occupy the minds of many local government practitioners, and the question of who is responsible for Cape Town’s rebellious baboons is an interesting case study. This article examines the issue and makes suggestions for a possible solution to this particular monkey puzzle.

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.

The Evolution of Intergovernmetal Relations
Author: Adv Rueben Baartjies

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (the Act) took effect on 15 August 2005. With it came the promise of cooperative governance and a ‘seamless’ government, through which the constitutional ideals of cooperation in good faith and mutual trust between the spheres of government could be realised. It was hoped that this would result in spheres coordinating their actions and legislation, and assisting, supporting, informing and consulting one another.

Helpdesk
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Volume 11, Issue 3, August 2009
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Nov 17, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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.

Know Your Epidemic, Know Your Response.
Author: Celine Mazars

In June 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) released its third national HIV prevalence survey. The survey presents a contrasting picture of the epidemic in South Africa: it seems that new infections are going down, but one in five South Africans between 15 and 49 years old is HIV-positive. The prevalence differs across South Africa’s provinces, with the highest prevalence in KwaZulu-Natal (15.8%) and Mpumalanga (15.4%).

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.

Helpdesk
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Volume 11, Issue 2, April/May 2009
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Nov 16, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

United Response for Local Action on AIDS
Author: Celine Mazars

“Scaling Up for Success” was the theme of the Fourth South African AIDS Conference, held in Durban from 29 March to 3 April 2009. It aimed to “take stock of best practices in treatment and prevention and to scale these up sufficiently to begin to roll back the onslaught in numbers and impact that the epidemic is currently waging in Southern Africa”. Four thousand people from 52 countries attended the conference. The latest research and innovative projects were discussed among social and medical scientists, HIV and AIDS practitioners (including some municipal HIV and AIDS coordinators) and community members involved in HIV programmes.

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.

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.

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