presentation - 2013 Commonwealth Local Government









15 MAY 2013



Local Government in South Africa is constitutionally mandated to play an important role in socio-economic development with Local Economic Development being one of its key 5 areas of performance.

Local Government therefore is ultimately the space where economic growth, poverty eradication and social development needs to take place, both in terms of space and operating environment.

Government programmes aiming at eradicating poverty and inequality in South

Africa, seek to ensure that services such as transport, sport and recreation infrastructure, social grants, library services, and health services, are made available to all.

Unfortunately governance and intergovernmental structures for the fight against poverty are relatively weak, e.g. intergovernmental poverty eradication programmes in municipalities (War Rooms), which are effectively an ‘unfunded mandate’.


Background (Continued)

Some of the instruments and services necessary for poverty eradication are not within local government’s constitutional, legislative and funding frameworks,

Secondly, decentralization within poverty and inequality eradication functions

has often followed a ‘one-size fits all’ approach even as metropolitan municipalities demonstrate fundamental differences in capacity and pertinence of issues to other categories of municipalities.

Thirdly, where decentralization has occurred, it has not been consolidated

through constitutional and legislative reform to entrench local government’s role.

SALGA and its membership have adopted a human development approach by recognising that in real terms poverty itself has “several faces; [wherein], a poor household could be considered “needy” in terms of health, but could have access to education or food [consequently] social policies should present multiple areas of treatment.


Constitutional Framework for Local Government

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa provides for 3 Spheres of government, having specified powers and functions, but are:

• Distinctive;

• Interdependent; and

• Interrelated

Local Government, as one sphere with 283 Municipal Councils, plays a crucial role in advancing the interest of its citizens.

As municipalities, effective participation in the system of Inter-

Governmental Relations requires that local government acts as a

Collective (with a common vision). This imperative is recognized and entrenched in the Constitution and Legislation (i.e. Organized Local

Government Act, Municipal Systems Act, etc.)

SALGA’s Mandate

Section 163 of the Constitution envisages an important role for organized local government and provides that an Act of Parliament must cater for the recognition of national and provincial organizations representing municipalities, and determine procedures by which local government may consult the national and provincial government, designate representatives to participate in the National Council of Province (NCOP) and nominate persons to the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC)

SALGA has demonstrated a political preference for a unitary structure for organised local government, i.e. one structure that is governed through a constitution as one unit


SALGA’s Mandate


The Organized Local Government Act, Act 52 of 1997:

• Authorises the Minister to recognise a national organization representing the majority of provincial associations as well as the provincial association representing the majority of municipalities in each province.

• Organised local government represents municipalities by articulating their interests and seeking to coordinate their policies and programmes with those of the other spheres.

• Our current achievement has been the collective development of a 5 year Strategic Agenda that has undertaken to improving local economic development and intergovernmental relations with the aim of supporting employment creation through the improvement of municipal capacities to lead job creation.


Leadership Role of

Local Government

Understanding that local government on its own cannot create jobs, a joint mapping of economic development targets, response approaches and intelligence with other key stakeholders is critical.

Local government can and should continue to act as a key facilitator between the different spheres of government and sectors through the

Integrated Development Planning (IDP) process.

Local government is also well located and strategically positioned to lead business and private sector to see the value of forming part of the developmental agenda.

This would also translate into a more responsive socio-economic planning, indicative of local development needs though policy and regulation.


Leadership Role of

Local Government (Continued)

Integration of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2013 as well as

Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (PGDS) in to the programmes of municipalities to ensure alignment with national development targets including the achievement of the Millennium

Development Goals (MDGs).

Facilitating joint championing of local economic development initiatives through high level engagements between public and private sector decision makers for a developmental agenda.

Organizing capacity and leveraging resources from all stakeholders to deal with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment.

Provision of leadership in networking, clustering, economic intelligence, tools for economic growth and a sustained public private sector dialogue.


Policy deficiencies impacting on Local Government

Local Government as windows of coordination - One-stop Shops

Social services that are funded through the equitable share (formally or informally) will invariably be vulnerable to underfunding in instances where fiscal capacity is higher than actual revenue collection due to shocks. Very often the user-fees charged for social services are negligible if existent at all.

Metropolitan municipalities are able to generate substantial own-revenues outside the equitable share (government grants) and therefore are able to sustain cross-subsidisation of libraries, art centres or a sports programme etc.

It is noted that social services that are funded from municipal equitable share (e.g. environmental health) tend to struggle to get priority against revenue generating services.


Policy deficiencies impacting on Local Government (Continued)

The local government social / community development portfolio

The policy framework that is needed for the Social / Community

Development, is one that has cross-cutting themes within the

Social/Community Development Sector. Therefore:

• Local government should have a common conceptual understanding of the human development paradigm as a means of poverty eradication at local government level.

• Local government should define and defend the broad parameters necessary for municipalities to develop and implement poverty eradication strategies.

• Local government should, progressively, be assigned the most strategic intervention areas necessary for poverty eradication.


Policy deficiencies impacting on Local Government (Continued)

Consolidating decentralization

The assignment of poverty eradication functions to local government should, progressively, be embedded in the constitution.

Local government accountability and reporting

Local government should adopt a uniform monitoring and evaluation framework for measurement of human development progress at local government level in consultation with the national and provincial spheres of government.

Remodeling of funding and funding modalities

Funding modalities, including the actual funds, should be aligned to support the three-sphere system so that local government is funded directly to eradicate poverty.



Each municipality, therefore, needs to develop and adopt policies to ensure that the communities have access to the package of services included in the Free Basic

Services (FBS) programme as a safety net to the poor.

The pressure from globalization and its austerity places increasing pressure on local economies and thus local government should lead in capacity to address economic constraints locally.

Local Government should also take the lead in adopting mature approaches to responding to poverty, inequality and unemployment by ensuring that an equilibrium between insight strategy and ability to execute effective local economic development initiatives in a manner that is progressive.

The Developmental Local Government concept under which the South African

Local Government was formed can be truly realized when policy is twinned with an equal level implementation at community level.


Thank you