Volume 10, Issue 4, September/October 2008.

Heeding the Call for Sustainable Energy Use.

Energy experts agree that the installation of domestic solar-water heaters (SWHs) could significantly reduce the demand for electricity. The figures suggest that a roll-out of SWHs could eliminate the need for one large coal power station. This roll-out could be achieved through a variety of measures, ranging from financial incentives for the purchase of SWHs and the promotion of the SWH industry to regulation.

Reviewing the Childrens Act.

The Childrens's Amendment Act was signed into law on March 18 this year, together with draft regulations recently published for public comment, represents the final step in the arduous, ten year journey of reviewing the Child Care Act.

Are Ward Committees Working?

Ward Committees were introduced after the December 2000 municipal elections to supplement the role of elected councillors. As such, they were intended to create a bridge between communities and the political and administrative structures of municipalities. Many observers argue , however, that ward committees are not functioning as intended and that instead of enhancing the environment of participatory governance, these structures have actually undermined it by displacing many other channels for public participation.

Navigating the grey areas

The powers and functions shared between provincial and local government have traditionally been a source of great confusion and concern for municipalities. Ill defined powers and functions have often led to duplications, inefficiencies and arguably even deterioration in the delivery of services to communities. In the Western Cape in particular, the status quo has resulted in a lack of uniformity in approach to municipalities across provincial sector departments. This had led to an impasse between the provincial and local sphere on the delivery of certain powers and functions.

From the Courts: Delegating the Power to Preside Over Disciplinary Appeals.

The Constitution provides that "everyone has a right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair". This entitlement extends to municipal employees and must therefore be reflected in municipal labour and administrative practices. The Northern Cape High Court considered whether a municipal council could delegate the power to preside over an appeal process which stemmed from a disciplinary hearing.