Volume 11, Issue 5, November/December 2009

Tackling the Developmental Challenge Head On.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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