Reinventing local government in South Africa

Reinventing local
government in South
- a policy perspective -
Babette Rabie
• History of South Africa
• Segregation policies prior to 1994
• Democratisation
• 3 spheres of government
• 1 national, 9 provinces, 278 local
• Reinventing local government
• Developmental mandate
• Governance, management and performance
The Constitution (1994)
Constitutional principles for service delivery:
• The promotion and maintenance of a high standard of personal ethics.
• The efficient, economic and effective use of resources.
• Public administration must be development-oriented.
• Services must be provided impartially, fairly and equitably without bias.
• Public administration must be accountable.
• Good human resource management and career development practices
must be cultivated to maximise human potential.
Objects of local government:
(a) to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
(b) to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
(c) to promote social and economic development;
(d) to promote a safe and healthy environment; and
(e) to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations
in the matters of local government.
Delegated powers to local government (Schedule 4, Part B)
White Paper on Local
Government (1998)
The White Paper (1998) outlines the vision for a more developmental
orientated local government system. It sets out the framework and
programme for transforming the inherited local government system. The
White Paper (1998: Section B, part 3) identifies the following tools for
realising a developmental local government:
• integrated development planning and budgeting
• performance management
• partnerships with local citizens and partners
The White Paper on Local Government (1998) specifies the four
characteristics of a developmental local government as “maximising social
and economic growth; integrating and coordinating government/business
non-profit sector activities; democratising development through
empowerment and redistribution; and fostering "social capital" at the local
level via a leadership approach committed to learning.” (Swilling 1998)
Local Government
Demarcation Act (1998)
Consolidation of local authorities, new municipal boundaries
The Constitution provides for three categories of municipality.
There are 278 municipalities in South Africa, comprising eight
metropolitan, 44 district and 226 local municipalities.
They are focused on growing local economies and providing
infrastructure and service.
Municipal Structures Act
Section 19 of the Municipal Structures Act stipulates that a
municipality must annually review:
The needs of the community.
Its priorities to meet those needs.
Its processes for involving the community.
Its organisational and delivery mechanisms for meeting the
needs of the community.
• Its overall performance
• Provides for the establishment of Ward Committees.
Municipal Systems Act (2000)
The Municipal Systems Amendment Act, 2011, (Act 7 of 2011), aimed at
professionalising local government for improved service delivery and
performance management, while also instilling a people-centred local
government mindset in municipalities.
Chapter 6 requires municipalities to:
• Develop a PMS.
• Set targets, monitor and review performance based on indicators linked
to their IDP.
• Publish an annual report on performance for the councillors, staff, the
public and other spheres of government.
• Incorporate and report on a set of general indicators prescribed
nationally by the Minister responsible for local government.
• Conduct an internal audit on performance before tabling the report.
• Involve the community in setting indicators and targets and reviewing
municipal performance (RSA 2000: Sections 38 and 41).
Further financial and
governance reform
• The Performance Management Regulations of 2001
• The Municipal Finance Management Act (Act No. 56 of 2003),
regulating financial management, accounting, supply-chain
management, reporting and budgeting
• The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act
(Act No. 41 of 2003), providing for relations between
traditional leadership and municipalities
• The Municipal Property Rates Act (Act No. 6 of 2004),
regulating property evaluations and taxing
• The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (Act No. 13
of 2005) , better prediction of relationships between spheres
of government
Project Consolidate
Project Consolidate was a two-year national intervention (200406) to support municipalities lacking the expertise to discharge
their mandate to provide basic services. It also sought to
address the fact that national and provincial departments were
not fulfilling their constitutional duty to support municipalities.
Project Consolidate deployed technical experts to 136
municipalities – generally in rural areas or former homelands
which had the highest backlogs in basic services and were
economically depressed (Department of Provincial and Local
Government, 2006a:1).
The Local Government
Turnaround Strategy
• The Local Government Turnaround Strategy (TAS) emerged from
COGTA’s assessment of the state of local government in 2009 (COGTA,
2009a; COGTA, 2009c). The report found that while local government
had contributed to democratisation, the system as a whole was
‘showing signs of distress’ (COGTA, 2009a:2). Indicators of this distress
included ‘huge service delivery backlogs’, a breakdown in council
communication with and accountability to citizens, political
interference in administration, corruption, fraud, bad management,
increasing violent service delivery protests, factionalism in parties, and
depleted municipal capacity (COGTA, 2009a:13). These were symptoms
of deeper systemic problems in local government and cooperative
governance (COGTA, 2009a:9-10). In some cases ‘accountable
government and the rule of law had collapsed or were collapsing’ due
to corruption, profiteering, and mismanagement.
The Local Government
Turnaround Strategy (continues)
Five focus areas:
• service delivery
• governance
• financial management
• infrastructure development
• fighting corruption.
Improving Municipal
At the end of March 2013, the Municipal Infrastructure Support
Agent (Misa) deployed 68 technical consultants and 24 service
providers that support 100 priority municipalities. During
2012/13, Misa technical consultants accelerated 862
infrastructure projects
Municipal Infrastructure Grant aims to eradicate municipal
infrastructure backlogs in poor communities to ensure the
provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, roads and
community lighting.
Back to Basics (2014)
5 pillars
People first
Service delivery
Financial Management
Capacity building
• Local government is acknowledged as the crucial peoplegovernment connecting point. A well-capacitated local
government is crucial to ensure service delivery.
• However local government often lack the human resource
capacity and financial capacity to fulfil the vast need of
• Basic service delivery (‘survival’ is a challenge in smaller
municipalities, leaving no room for ‘advanced’ functions
required by some of the reform strategies.
• Too many reforms… leaving little time for proper
implementation and measuring results.