Tinashe | Oct 09, 2022

Volume 17, Issue 4, November 2022

Between a rock and a dark place: Municipalities battle to keep the lights on in the face of escalating debt

In the space of one week in September, the country’s load shedding status sent any sniff of foreign investors scurrying for cover, and the City of Tshwane narrowly averted being plunged into complete darkness after settling its outstanding debt to Eskom of over R1,6bn. It joined the City of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and a long list of smaller municipalities which continually roll over debt, and default on payment settlement plans until the threat of Doomsday. Pay up, or we throw the big switch.

Land-grabbing: Municipalities must uphold the Constitution when dealing with unlawful occupiers

Land-grabbing is a term that captures the story of land dispossession in South Africa. The term has its roots in our apartheid history in which the authoritarian government initially deprived the Black majority (broadly defined) of their property. In democratic South Africa, land grabbing is often used to describe the process in which South Africans (black and white, men, women and children) are dispossessing the state and private businesses of land.

Court prohibits traditional authorities from developing land without the approval of the municipality

Since the pre-colonial era, traditional leaders have allocated land to residents in terms of indigenous law. In the democratic era, traditional leaders continue to allocate land to residents and issue permissions to occupy (PTO). These PTOs are sometimes issued by traditional leaders to a resident that is willing to pay to occupy land that is owned by the municipality. This can give rise to illegal occupation of municipal land and municipalities having to incur enormous expenditure in trying to service these developments.

Rogue leadership and lawlessness in Kannaland Municipality

More than half of Kannaland Local Municipality’s population lives in poverty. Improved access to water and sanitation, well-maintained roads, adequate parks and recreation facilities, etc. can go a long way to ensure a dignified living in all its communities. However, Kannaland has struggled to deliver services since December 2018, when it was placed under provincial administration, a situation that still persists. Political instability, maladministration and poor oversight are among the root causes of poor service delivery. As political parties continue their political scheming to gain access to political office, service delivery in the Municipality continues to decline.

Court invalidates an unlawful contract and holds officials personally liable for unauthorised and irregular expenditure

The case of Imvusa Trading 1581 BK v Oudtshoorn Municipality is about a monetary claim arising from a contract between the Oudtshoorn Local Municipality and Imvusa Trading 1581 (Imvusa). The Municipality contracted Imvusa to repair potholes on its behalf without following the requirements set out in the Constitution and the Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003 (MFMA). The Court held that concluding procurement contracts by deviating from legislated procurement requirements renders such contracts unlawful and therefore invalid.

© 2021 Dullah Omar Institute
Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions

| DOI Constitution

© 2021 Dullah Omar Institute

CMS Website by Juizi