Karel | Feb 26, 2021

Bulletin Archives

Volume 16, Issue 2, September 2021
Author: Tinashe
Published: Jul 23, 2021
Local government elections: to delay or not to delay?
Author: Michelle R Maziwisa

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), finds itself in a conundrum. On the one hand, the terms of municipal councils are fixed to a five year term according to section 159(1) of the Constitution and section 24(1) of the Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998, while section 159(2) of the Constitution requires that municipal elections must be held within 90 days from the day when the 5-year term ends.

Why coalition agreements should be public
Author: Jennica Beukes

In the previous articles of the coalition series in the Local Government Bulletin, it was argued that the proportional representation (PR) electoral system of local government and the absence of electoral thresholds creates the possibility for hung councils to recur in municipalities, making the formation of coalition governments necessary.

Court orders national government to leapfrog into Lekwa Local Municipality
Author: Thabile Chonco

Failed service delivery at municipal level is not a new phenomenon. In recent times, however, communities, non-governmental organisations and private companies alike are growing impatient and resorting to court action to “straighten” failing municipalities. Such is the case of Astral Operations Limited (“Astral”), the largest business and employer in Lekwa Local Municipality (Lekwa) in Mpumalanga.

Volume 16, Issue 2, June 2021
Author: Tinashe
Published: May 18, 2021
Stepping aside, But then What? How the ANC's Resolution affects councillors
Author: Jaap de Visser

The African National Congress (ANC) is implementing a resolution, which provides that members who face criminal charges for corruption, must ‘step aside’. It means, amongst other things, that these members may no longer represent the ANC on any public body. How does this affect ANC members who represent the party as councillors? And what does it mean for the municipality in which they serve?

SCA tells Eskom to exhaust alternative dispute resolution before cutting electricity
Author: Xavia Poswa

Eskom is struggling to recover monies owed to it by municipalities for the supply of bulk electricity. Municipal debts to Eskom have ballooned to alarming proportions. To address this, Eskom introduced a debt recovery process that would see the supply of electricity to many indebted municipalities cut off, or limited. In Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v Resilient Properties (Pty) Ltd and Others, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that Eskom‘s decision to cut off electricity to Emalahleni (ELM) and Thaba Chweu local municipalities (TCLM) was unconstitutional.

Why appeals against tender awards by the municipal manager are unlawful
Author: Jaap de Visser & Nico Steytler

Separating politics from administration is the cornerstone of the fight against corruption and maladministration in municipalities. When councillors meddle in the administration, and/or administrators interfere with politics, bad governance and, ultimately, service delivery failure is almost always the result.

Recovering fruitless and wasteful expenditure: Nelson Mandela Bay v Lindele Antonio Petuna
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Year after year, the Auditor General exposes how too many municipalities incur significant amounts of fruitless and wasteful expenditure. The Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003 (MFMA) defines fruitless and wasteful expenditure as ‘expenditure that was made in vain and would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised’.

Court stops reckless electricity outsourcing contract
Author: Curtly Stevens

Can a municipality under a section 139(5) intervention avoid or by-pass an Administrator, or adopt decisions, such as entering into contracts, that undermine a Financial Recovery Plan? According to the Western Cape High Court, in Executive Council of the Western Cape Province and Others v Kannaland Local Municipality and Others the answer is no. The Court stopped Kannaland Municipal Council from implementing a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) contract involving the outsourcing of electricity after the Municipality had acted unlawfully and at the detriment of its financial sustainability.

The ‘download’ on personal information: The Protection of Personal Information Act and Municipalities
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

In an age of information warfare, identity theft and the mismanagement and commercialisation of personal information in the digital world, the right to privacy in the Constitution and the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA) are vital tools that must be used to mitigate the risks that ordinary citizens face when sharing personal information. This article reflects on the question of whether municipalities, which are often the primary interface between citizens and government, are ready to implement and fulfil the requirements of POPIA and more specifically, it examines the obligations which municipalities now bear to lawfully process personal information.

Volume 16, Issue 1, March 2021
Author: Tinashe
Published: Mar 15, 2021
Check out our new Local Government Bulletin website
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata & Jaap de Visser

The Dullah Omar Institute is excited to announce the launch of a new website for the Local Government Bulletin. The Bulletin is produced by the Institute’s Multilevel Government Project and contains short, accessible articles on local government in South Africa and Africa.

Webinar report: Coalitions in Local Government
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 12 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) convened a webinar on “Coalitions in Local Government”. Close to 100 participants attended, and the panel comprised Jaap de Visser (DOI), Wayne Sussman (election analyst), Jennica Beukes (doctoral researcher, DOI) and James Selfe (Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance (DA)). Michelle Maziwisa (post-doctoral researcher, DOI) was the moderator.

Developing cost-sharing models for provision of improved water in local communities
Author: LGSETA

Water in South Africa is a basic human right. The Free Basic Water Policy states that every South African household is entitled to receive 6000 litres of free water per month. Many South Africans, however, still do not have access to piped water within 200 metres of their homes, particularly in rural areas. It is against this backdrop that this article explores existing water cost-sharing models in rural areas and proposes an alternative cost-sharing model for the South African rural context.

An analysis of the competency levels for ward committee members
Author: LGSETA

Ward committees are governance structures consisting of elected representatives from communities, serving as links between ward councillors, municipalities and residents and relaying concerns of the communities to the elected councillors. The councillors then relay the concerns to the relevant municipal departments and facilitate the implementation of a solution. Ward committee members and ward councillors are expected to act in the best interest of the communities they represent.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill
Author: Henry Gichana

On 29 October 2019, Parliament revived deliberations on the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill (Bill). The Bill had been undergoing stakeholder engagement before it lapsed under the previous Parliament. Its revival therefore meant that deliberations on the Bill would start again. After it was revived, the Bill was allocated to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) (Portfolio Committee) which was tasked with facilitating stakeholder engagement. As of 30 October 2020, deliberations on the Bill in the Committee had almost been concluded in readiness for its submission to the National Assembly for Second Reading.

Gender sensitive planning and urban design for cities to respond to GBVF
Author: Shehaam Johnstone

The National Strategic Plan (NSP) to address Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) aims to create an enabling environment in which women can feel safe. Absent from the NSP is the role of city planning towards this goal. This article will illustrate how gender-sensitive planning and urban design (GSP&UD) together with the implementation of the development principle of ‘spatial justice’, in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA), may serve as a mechanism for the improved safety of women.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A national perspective
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata & Jaap de Visser

On 29 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute convened a webinar on the financial impact of Covid-19 on district and local municipalities. The webinar was attended by close to 80 participants, drawn from government, civil society, the private sector and academia. The theme was unpacked with Prof Tania Ajam, professor in Public Policy, Economics and Finance at the Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership and Dr Mkhululi Ncube, Programme Manager of the Local Government Unit at the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC). The discussion was moderated by Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute. What follows is an overview of Dr Ncube’s presentation to the webinar.

Coalition governments: Guidelines for coalition agreements
Author: Jennica Beukes

At the time of writing the first article on coalitions (published in the Bulletin in September 2020), the local government (LG) elections were a year away. In only five or six months, 533 political parties and around 855 independent candidates will contest the LG elections across all municipalities in South Africa. The number of registered political parties and independent candidates have increased since the 2016 LG elections. The increasing number of political parties and independent candidates along with the absence of thresholds increases the likelihood that hung councils may recur in some municipalities. Threshold requirements aim to limit the number of parties that obtain seats in the council by reserving seats for parties who reach a minimum share of the votes in the local elections.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on district and local municipalities: A Western Cape perspective
Author: Jaap de Visser

On 29 March 2021, the Dullah Omar Institute convened a webinar on the financial impact of Covid-19 on district and local municipalities. The webinar was attended by close 80 participants, drawn from government, civil society, the private sector and academia. The theme was unpacked with Prof Tania Ajam, professor in Public Policy, Economics and Finance at the Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership and Dr Mkhululi Ncube, Programme Manager of the Local Government Unit at the Financial and Fiscal Commission. The discussion was moderated by Prof Jaap de Visser, Director of the Dullah Omar Institute. What follows is an overview of Prof Ajam’s presentation to the webinar.

Volume 15, Issue 4, November 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: Nov 16, 2020
Women as candidates in Local Government Elections: What can we learn from the past?
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Evidence has shown that women are more actively involved in elections as voters, than as candidates in local government elections. In the 2016 elections, for example, and according to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), 58 percent of voters were women. However, the picture looks very different when it comes to women participating as candidates. Although having women elected into local government is not in itself a guarantee that the elected women will advance women’s issues, not having gender-balanced local governments, creates a democratic deficit. This article starts from the premise that as we look forward to the 2021 elections we ought to take lessons from earlier elections in order to make our election processes more gender transformative.

Skills mismatch in South African local government
Author: LGSETA

In South Africa, with many government-supported growth initiatives prioritising the creation of low-skill jobs and the development of high-level skills, a 2020 research study by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) has examined the effect of the skills mismatch. This study of local government established that South Africa is faced with a prevalence of under-qualified staff and mirrors a 2019 Department of Higher Education (DHET) study of South Africa as a whole showing that almost one-third of workers are mismatched by their field of study. This mismatch can be addressed through on-the-job training, retraining, and new-skill acquisition.

An analysis of the competency levels of senior managers in South African municipalities
Author: LGSETA

Good governance and administrative excellence in local government must ensure effective service delivery to communities. This requires capable, knowledgeable and expert senior municipal managers. This article reports the findings of an empirical survey commissioned by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) to establish support required by senior municipal managers. Such support is especially essential for those managers who do not comply with the minimum competency regulations. The survey also intended to assess current levels of compliance with Municipal Regulations on minimum competency levels and to enhance integrated development planning (IDP) capacity in the local government sector.

Factors affecting local governance
Author: LGSETA

How can we improve the quality of governance in municipalities? What do we need to do in local government to promote stability, allow development to take place and create sustainable communities? A recent research report by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) examined these issues.

Amending Municipal Governance Laws: New Rules, New Directions? A focus on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill
Author: Thabile Chonco

After the 2019 national and provincial government elections, Parliament revived deliberations on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to strengthen oversight and governance in local government. Many of the proposed amendments touch on issues that have been prevalent in local government for the longest of time. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on the Municipal Structures Amendment Bill (as well as the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill that is covered in a different report).

SCA reinstates the City of Tshwane’s municipal council, for now…
Author: Curtly Stevens

On 27 October 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled in The Premier for the Province of Gauteng and Others v Democratic Alliance and Others that the municipal council of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality must be reinstated. This article discusses the legal and political consequences of the judgment for the City of Tshwane and similarly situated municipalities.

What you need to know about the Municipal Demarcation Bill of 2020
Author: Melissa Ziswa

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs invited members of the public to submit written comments on the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation (Draft) Bill (the Bill) before it is introduced to the National Assembly. The deadline for the submission of comments was the 29th of July 2020. Once adopted into law, the Bill will replace the current Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act of 1998 which, among other things, regulates the demarcation of municipal boundaries and provides for the establishment and functions of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB). This article summarises key provisions of the Bill, particularly those which seek to make significant changes to the Municipal Demarcation Act.

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