Bulletin Archives

Volume 18, Issue 2, June 2023
Author: Tinashe
Published: 05 Jun, 2023
Deepening democracy through municipal councillor oversight
Author: LGSETA

As a result of the wide-spread and intense criticism directed at local government for failing to deliver on its constitutional mandate, a necessity arise for in-depth study to evaluate the role of municipal councillors in their duty to provide oversight in ensuring policy implementation and accountability. In light of this, the LGSETA commissioned Enterprises UP to conduct research regarding the extent to which municipal councillors succeed in their oversight role.

Municipal debt-crisis: Can Eskom reduce bulk electricity supply to defaulting municipalities?
Author: Curtly Stevens

This article discusses whether Eskom can decrease bulk electricity supply to defaulting municipalities in terms of a bulk supply agreement without informing the local citizens and businesses residing in a municipality’s jurisdiction. This issue was considered in Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v. Vaal River Development Association (Pty) Ltd and Others, where the Constitutional Court (CC) confirmed that Eskom may reduce bulk electricity supply to municipalities, subject to it following a fair process, as prescribed in law.

Municipal enterprises in the energy sector: A case of Germany
Author: Lisa Hagen

This article explores how municipalities in Germany are dealing with the energy shortage since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and outlines the legal framework of municipal economic activity. The war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains across Europe and prompted sharp price increases, especially in the energy market. This has an impact on customers, the economy, and, most significantly, local governments.

The Procurement Bill will be introduced in Parliament: Is it constitutional?
Author: Curtly Stevens

The long-awaited Public Procurement Bill (Bill 2023) will be introduced in Parliament for debate in the second quarter of 2023, after being in the making since 2014. A key question is whether the 2023 Bill in its current form is constitutional. Specifically, does the establishment and the powers assigned to the Central Procurement Office in the Bill encroach on the autonomy of municipalities? This question is likely to be subject of the vetting for constitutional compliance, currently being undertaken by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor.

Volume 18, Issue 1, March 2023
Author: Tinashe
Published: 23 Mar, 2023
Coalitions in local government: ideas for law reform
Author: Jaap de Visser

Coalition politics in local government, particularly in some of the country’s metropolitan municipalities continues to dominate the news for all the wrong reasons. This article offers reflections on coalition politics, and ideas for law reform to further the debate on what role, if any, the law can play in ensuring that governance in so-called “hung councils” improves.

Composing selection panels to appoint senior managers in municipalities
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

The law provides that senior managers in municipalities must have the requisite skills to perform. It further prescribes the procedure for appointing senior managers, including the appointment of selection panels to recruit and select candidates. Appointments made outside these rules are invalid.

Human Settlements in the 2023/24 Budget
Author: Alison Tshangana & Luther Jubane

Increasing 4.4% to R34.9 billion in 2023/24, the budget of the National Department of Human Settlements serves as the primary means for government to achieve its goal of integrated, sustainable human settlements. The new budget allocates R14.9 billion for the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG), while the Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) increases to R8.15 billion and the ISUPG to R8.6 billion.

Municipal managers must leave politics to councillors
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

After the 2021 local government elections, politicians have been fighting to control city councils where there is no outright majority. Mayors and speakers have been elected, and removed, on a regular basis. In this turmoil, municipal managers risk become entangled in politics

Reflections on reforming municipal law and policy in harmony with laws on carriage of hazardous materials by road in South Africa
Author: Hoitsimolimo Mutlokwa

South Africa is an industrial hub in sub-Saharan Africa and its transport industry is a 333 790 billion-rand industry that significantly contributes to taxes and employment. Many goods crisscross roads that fall under the responsibility of national, provincial, district, and local spheres of government, more specific to this discussion, are municipal roads.

Using a section 106 inquiry to investigate theft?
Author: Tinashe Carlton Chigwata

Section 106 of the Municipal Systems Act of 2000 empowers the MEC for local government to request information or to appoint an investigator(s) if he or she has reason to believe that “maladministration fraud, corruption or any other serious malpractice has occurred or is occurring in a municipality”.

Volume 17, Issue 4, November 2022
Author: Tinashe
Published: 09 Oct, 2022
Between a rock and a dark place: Municipalities battle to keep the lights on in the face of escalating debt
Author: Cameron Brisbane

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.

Court invalidates an unlawful contract and holds officials personally liable for unauthorised and irregular expenditure
Author: Sanelisiwe S. Ntuku

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.

Court prohibits traditional authorities from developing land without the approval of the municipality
Author: Xavia Poswa

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.

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

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.

Rogue leadership and lawlessness in Kannaland Municipality
Author: Jennica Beukes

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.

Volume 17, Issue 3, September 2022
Author: Tinashe
Published: 14 Jul, 2022
City of Cape Town wants to run the metro railway service
Author: Thabile Chonco

A simple google search of South Africa’s railway leads one to pictures and videos of dilapidated railway networks, in sharp contrast of what one would imagine when told ‘South Africa has the best railway system on the continent [of Africa]’. The dilapidated Goerge Goch station has even become a popular meme on [South African] twitter, often used to express shock at anything but the horrifying state of one of many railway stations in South Africa. Behind the ‘thixo wase Goerge Goch’ phrase, lies the sad reality that the once mighty railway lines of South Africa are quickly becoming no more.

High Court rejects unwarranted deviation from strict procurement rules in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro
Author: Sanelisiwe S. Ntuku

In Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality v Erastyle (Pty) Ltd, the Court had to decide whether Erastyle (Pty) Ltd (Erastyle, the first defendant of eight defendants) was lawfully appointed to provide a service to Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (the Metro). Secondly, whether the payments received by Erastyle from the Metro amount to irregular expenditure in terms of section 32 of the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Municipalities may not charge fees to protestors for security and traffic control services
Author: Francesca Visage

The right to protest is essential to South Africa’s constitutional order. Protests played an important role in South Africa’s transition from apartheid to the current democratic dispensation. Protests continue to play a vital role in enabling citizens to hold the government accountable. It then goes without saying that the right to protest, as provided for in section 17 of the Constitution, should not be limited unjustifiably. In Right2Know Campaign v City Manager of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, the Court confirmed the importance of the right to protest in South Africa.

The prosecution of corruption in local government
Author: Africa Criminal Justice Reform

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must prosecute corruption at all levels of government. While much of the focus has been on the capture of national government and national state-owned enterprises (SOEs), there has also been widespread corruption in municipalities.

SCA invalidates by-laws restricting the transfer of immovable property
Author: Marivyn-Blaire Tchoula Tchokonte

In Govan Mbeki Local Municipality and Another v Glencore Operations South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Others, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had to determine the constitutionality of section 76 of the Govan Mbeki Spatial Planning and Land Use Management By-law of 2016, and section 86 of the Emalahleni Municipal By-law on Spatial Planning and Land Use Management of 2016 (SPLUMA) which imposed restrictions on the transfer of property in these municipalities. The constitutionality of these provisions was challenged in Court on the basis that they exceeded local government powers in terms of section 156 of the Constitution read with Schedule 4B. The SCA agreed with the High Court's decision that the provisions were unconstitutional and therefore invalid.

The impact of disaster or crisis on business continuity in the local government sector
Author: LGSETA

A reflection of the impact of disasters in the local government sector provides a good platform for a discussion on the need to implement business continuity plans for municipalities. A business continuity plan refers to the processes and procedures a municipality must implement to ensure that mission-critical functions can continue during and after a disaster or crisis.

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