Bulletin Archives

Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: 13 Aug, 2020
2021 Local Elections, Governance and Stability
Author: Jennica Beukes

During the run-up to the local government (LG) elections, it is not uncommon for turbulence to arise in municipalities because of the potential shifts that can occur in the composition of municipal councils. Uncertainties emanating from the elections that are yet to transpire also feeds back into the municipal administrations, making it fragile during election times. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a webinar on LG elections and their impact on the municipal administration.

African School on Decentralisation: The impact of COVID-19 on decentralisation in Africa
Author: Curtly Stevens

The African School on Decentralisation (ASD) is a collaboration between the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law and Development located at the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI) of the University of the Western Cape and the Centre for Federalism and Governance Studies (CFGS) of Addis Ababa University. The two institutes were to hold the inaugural course of the ASD under the theme ‘Decentralisation and Development in Africa’ from 25 May to 5 June 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Regrettably, the rapid spike in the spread of the coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) across the continent witnessed from March 2020 necessitated the postponement of the ASD to 2021.

Local government response to the economic impact of COVID-19
Author: Phumla Hlati & Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

The full impact of the nationwide lockdown under COVID-19 restrictions to the South African economy is yet to be fully understood. However, Statistics South Africa estimates that in the second quarter of 2020, the economy contracted by 51 percent. In anticipation of the socio-economic impact, national government announced a R500 billion stimulus package that included various support measures to Small and Medium Enterprises, the informal sector and to municipalities. But what has been the local government economic response to COVID-19?

The role of traditional leaders in combating COVID-19 in rural areas
Author: Xavia Poswa

All organs of state have been required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by putting in place measures targeted at containing the virus. In urban areas, it is municipalities that are at the forefront of implementing national, provincial and local measures to curb infections. In rural areas, however, municipalities are working with the institution of traditional leadership in tackling the spread of the virus. Cooperation is often times replaced by competition which creates tensions and conflicts between municipalities and traditional leaders. Obviously, these tensions have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19.

Western Cape High Court sets a new benchmark for promoting spatial equity, access to land and housing
Author: Paul Mudau

The Constitution does not make explicit reference to ‘spatial equity’. However, the spatial inequalities that are characterised by poor living conditions, continuous struggles for basic amenities, severe shortages of housing stock and an infrastructure backlog, can amount to indirect racial discrimination. Thus, spatial inequalities can clearly implicate the right to equality as stipulated by section 9(2) of the Constitution.

Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2020
Author: Tinashe
Published: 25 May, 2020
Courts as a check on provincial interventions: the Makana and Tshwane interventions
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Provincial intervention under section 139 of the Constitution is one of the many mechanisms available to provinces to rectify problems at municipal level. This provision provides a menu of different interventions which are of a discretionary, mandatory, budget or financial nature. Provinces have conducted many interventions but the record of these interventions is not very good. Many of these interventions actually fail to bring municipalities back on their feet. Choosing the correct intervention without falling foul of the law also seems to be a problem.

Development charges in South Africa – An introduction to the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill (Part 1)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Picture this scenario: Trollkins Consortium (Pty) Ltd submits a land use application to Nkanyezi Local Municipality, with the proposal to undertake the construction of retail stores, restaurants, offices and a casino. This proposal sounds exciting - on one hand, it will offer employment opportunities, economic development and growth, and will result in the movement of goods and people in the municipality. On the other hand, Nkanyezi Local Municipality is concerned that by approving Trollkins’ application, more water, sewerage and electricity infrastructure will be needed. This means the proposed development could have negative financial impacts such as burdening the current municipal infrastructure without value for use. It could thus potentially burden the municipality as it will have to provide infrastructure to accommodate the additional load that the proposed development will place on municipal bulk infrastructure and unduly benefit the developer who might not pay the true cost of the extended infrastructure or not pay at all.

Development charges in South Africa – the case of in-kind payments and subsidisation of certain categories of land development (Part 2)
Author: Thabile Chonco

Development charges have now received attention in the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill. The Bill contains a new chapter 3A that regulates the power of municipalities to levy development charges from developers in a uniform manner. Part 1 of the series on the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill introduced the Bill and provided a general analysis of its provisions on development charges. In this article (Part 2 of the series), the focus is on the provisions regulating the in-kind payment of development charges, the subsidisation of categories of land development and the permissible uses of revenue from development charges. The article concludes with some reflections on the Bill.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality vs COVID-19: 90 days into the Lockdown
Author: Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Since the declaration of the state of national disaster by the Minister of Cooperative Government on 18 March 2020, and the subsequent announcement of a Lockdown by the President on 26 March, municipalities have implemented various measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article analyses some of the measures taken by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Metro) more than 90 days into the Lockdown. While disaster management is a shared national and provincial government competence, municipalities play a crucial role during disasters in terms of their constitutional functions (listed under Schedule 4B and 5B) and their assigned functions (s99 and 126), such as housing.

Gauteng High Court deals decisively with councillor-walk-outs
Author: Jaap de Visser

Perhaps the most important aspect of the job of a councillor is to attend council and committee meetings. Item 3 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors provides that every councillor must attend these meetings and the municipality’s rules of order contain more detailed rules on this. Failing to attend, or to remain in attendance, without having obtained leave of absence, is a violation of the Code of Conduct (item 4(1)). If a councillor fails to attend three or more meetings in a row, the councillor must be removed from office (item 4(2)).

Khosa v Minister of Defense: Municipalities warned on enforcing the Lockdown
Author: Jennica Beukes

The COVID19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of local government. Apart from delivering essential services and helping to mitigate the adverse impact of the Lockdown on livelihoods, municipalities also play a crucial role in enforcing the Lockdown Regulations through their law enforcement and, where applicable, municipal police services. During the Lockdown period, law enforcement and metropolitan police departments (MPDs) have been cooperating with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF) to enforce the Lockdown Regulations.

Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2020
Author: Jaap De Visser
Published: 31 Mar, 2020
Can councillors be legally prohibited from engaging residents and/or advisors before an item is tabled in a Committee or Council?
Author: Frans Rootman (Guest Contributor)

Matters affecting municipalities have become more and more important to residents. Given the constitutional objective to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in matters of local government, how elected councillors are allowed by their respective councils to engage with residents, determines whether residents truly believe that their councillors are genuinely interested in their views.

The Lockdown Regulations Are Not A Ban On All Informal Food Traders
Author: Jaap De Visser

South Africa has gone into lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. One of the very many concerns surrounding the impact of the lockdown relates to access to food. The rules with respect to supermarkets, and our access to them during the lockdown, are reasonably clear.

Volume 14, Issue 2, December 2019
Author: Karel
Published: 05 Dec, 2019
Can a provincial government under national intervention intervene in a municipality?
Author: Gaopalelwe Lesley Mathiba

The Constitution confers on the national government supervisory powers over the provincial (and local) governments. It also affords the provincial government the powers to supervise local government. Generally, this arrangement has the potential to safeguard, track and ensure optimal performance of public service, effective governance, accountability, transparency and sustainable development. Most critical for this article are section 100 of the Constitution, which regulates national government intervention in a province and section 139 of the Constitution, which regulates provincial and national intervention(s) in local government. Within these two provisions, there are different forms of interventions with varying degrees of encroachment. However, a recent judgment by the North West High Court seems to have blurred the distinctions between them. The article seeks to clarify this uncertainty.

Land use management: Where traditional and municipal governance meet in rural areas
Author: Xavia Poswa

Municipalities play a critical role in service delivery, development and democracy. What is often forgotten in the assessment of local government is that, before 1994 (and even before 2000), there were significant parts of the country where no local authorities existed. One of those areas is the rural areas of South Africa, where traditional leaders continue to be the face of local government. This is something which traditional leaders have been for many centuries.

Measuring transparency, public participation and oversight in the budget processes of South Africa’s metropolitan municipalities
Author: Dullah Omar Institute & IBP South Africa

The Metro Open Budget Survey (Metro OBS) is modelled on the global Open Budget Survey (OBS) initiated by the International Budget Partnership in 2006. The OBS is an independent, comparative assessment of budget accountability: transparency, oversight, and public participation. The global OBS has been conducted six times and evaluates national government budget processes in 115 countries across six continents. The Metro OBS goes a level deeper by applying the OBS methodology to local government, and assesses five of the eight metropolitan municipalities (metros) in South Africa: City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg, City of Ekurhuleni, eThekwini Municipality, and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. In 2018, IBP South Africa in partnership with the Dullah Omar Institute piloted the Metro OBS across the same five metros. The questionnaire used in this pilot was developed by adapting the 2017 international Open Budget Survey for the South African local government context. After using the 2018 pilot to test and refine the methodology, we rolled out the project in full from the beginning of 2019.

Municipal Cost Containment Regulations: An attempt to curb local government wastefulness?
Author: Melissa Ziswa

The public has long put pressure on the government to curb the resource wastage at the local level. In a bid to contain this problem, on 7 June 2019, the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, with the concurrence of the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), gazetted the Municipal Cost Containment Regulations (the Regulations). The objective of these Regulations is to ensure that the resources of municipalities and municipal entities are used effectively, efficiently and economically. It is also hoped that these cost containment measures will eliminate the wastage of public resources on non-service delivery mandates.

The BRICS Bank: More Money for South Africa’s Municipalities?
Author: Dr. Michelle Rufaro Maziwisa

Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill coined the term ‘BRIC’ in 2009 as an abbreviation for a group of four emerging economies that were growing relatively fast- Brazil, Russia, India and China. Although this was initially an acronym for ease of reference, BRIC soon personalised this term. In 2010, after some lobbying from the former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, an invitation was extended to South Africa to join the group, which then took the acronym ‘BRICS’ to accommodate South Africa. There were several countries which could have been invited to join the BRIC other than South Africa. However, South Africa was earmarked as a gateway to Africa. As a regional leader that arguably represents African interests in global forums, South Africa was considered strategic to present a united voice of the global South.

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum focuses on the Localisation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals Agenda in Southern Africa
Author: Phumla Hlati

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), a membership-based organisation established in 1995, and representing about 200 members across the 53 Commonwealth countries, convened its Southern Africa Regional Conference on the 25th - 26th June 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia. Based on the Dullah Omar Institute’s work on multilevel governance and local government in South Africa, the region and beyond, the institute has a long established association with CLGF, dating back to 2005. In its capacity as a member of CLGF’s International Research Advisory Group, the DOI participated at this Regional Conference.

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