Volume 11, Issue 2, April/May 2009

Withholding Rates: A New Culture of Non-Payment.

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.

“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

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.

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

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

“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.

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

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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