Local Government Bulletin

Volume 10, Issue 1, February/March 2008
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 19, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Challenges of Funding Municipal Infrastructure.
Author: Jaya Josie

The Key Financial policy objectives for sustainable local government are derived from constitutional obligations. These obligations require municipal organisation, planning and budgeting systems to target the provision of basic services and socio-economic development. Municipal Budgets are the main fiscal policy instruments that direct the revenue and expenditure stance of local government in achieving the service delivery targets.

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.

Volume 9, Issue 5, November/December 2007.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 11, 2017
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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGI(Community Law Centre)

Do Property Rates Expire After Three Or After Thirty Years?

The Emergence of Local Government in Ethiopia.
Author: Yonathan Fessha

Until recently, local government in Ethiopia was treated as a "stepchild" of central and regional government. Although a strongly federal government has been in place since 1995, devolution of power has largely been limited to the regional level without any clear definition of the lower tiers of government.

Volume 9, Issue 4,September/ October 2007.
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 11, 2017
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".

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.

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).

Legal Briefs.
Author: MLGA (Community Law Centre)

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

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.

Local Government in Uganda.
Author: Frederick Golooba Mutebi

Modern local government in Uganda traces its origins to British colonial rule. As it consolidated its hold on the territory, the colonial administration decided to introduce good government and ensure effectiveness and efficiency in administration by establishing elected local councils.

Volume 9, Issue 3, June/July 2007
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)
Published: Oct 11, 2017
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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Legal Briefs:
Author: MLGA(Community Law Centre)

When Does A Councillor Vacate Office Mid-Term?

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.

Local Government in Nigeria.
Author: Dr Habu Galadima

The Federal Republic of Nigeria, with a population of about 140 million, is not only Africa's most populous state but also one of the largest federations in the world. The history and development of its local government is a direct consequence of British colonial history.

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