What is at Stake for New Councils in South Africa?

The eight percent decline in the voters’ support for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party between 2011 and 2016 represents a fundamental shift in South African politics.
Much has been written on the implications for the ANC and the country, but a significant and underreported short-term impact relates to the implications for budget expenditure and service delivery at a local level.

Metros Not Paying for e-Tolls

Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, has disclosed in Parliament that Gauteng municipalities owed the South African National Roads Agency a total of R2.4 million‚ triggering an outcry from politicians and glee from anti-tolling activists.

The Ekurhuleni Metro is the biggest offender with arrears of R1.838 million‚ followed by Tshwane (R351 644) Emfuleni Local Municipality (R127 685) and Lesedi Local Municipality (R111 000).

Is Local Really Lekker?

When it comes to local government, then ‘local is lekker’ does not apply and the opposite is more likely. For many years municipalities have made concessions in terms of rates and taxes that apply to benevolent organisations, including institutions that care for traumatised children. Sadly, this has changed and one can only assume that municipalities do not embrace social responsibility as part of their corporate conduct or in business practise.

​Electricity to Increase in July

South African municipalities will increase electricity prices by an average of 7.64 percent from 1 July 2016.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) said it had approved the price hike for the guideline municipal tariffs.
However, if the municipalities want to charge a higher increase than that, they must apply for special permission.

Good Municipalities Are About More Than Good Financial Management

Every year without fail, the release of the Auditor-General results on municipalities and municipal entities is the only time that local government is consistently in the news. We are bombarded with news about the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ performing municipalities, but this is done in a manner that separates municipal financial management from the core business of local government- service delivery.

Former Local Government Director-General ‘Not Qualified’ to be City Manager?

Barely three months into her new job, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality’s newly appointed municipal manager, Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela, faces suspension. The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has applied to court to compel the municipality to place Msengana-Ndlela on special leave. Interestingly, unlike many similar court battles about municipal managers, there are no allegations of misconduct or concerns about performance but questions about whether she is in fact qualified to be a municipal manager.

Local Politics and Factionalism: Local Government as a Site of Contestation

South Africa’s municipalities are a contested terrain. Divisions within (and between) political parties are overflowing into the life of municipalities, rendering some of them dysfunctional. Factionalism, patronage politics and corruption, maladministration, cadre deployment, political interference and a conflation of the party and the state have all contributed to the erosion of democratic, accountable and effective local government in some municipalities, while it has hindered service delivery provision in others.

NGOs Call for Municipalities to Fight Corruption

The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty say corruption and a lack of legislated decision-making powers are the biggest obstacles to improving local government.

The two organisations say corruption, along with municipalities’ lack of legislated decision-making powers, are the largest obstacles to the improvement of local government in the country.

Climate Change Affect Municipalities – SALGA

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) says that climate change is affecting the way in which municipal spaces are managed.

Speaking at IBSA Local Government meeting for knowledge sharing on Climate Change response, SALGA deputy chairperson, Mpho Nawa, says that SALGA’s view is that climate change is causing severe natural consequences in our communities.

He says the meeting shared experiences and perspectives about climate change before the upcoming conference in Durban.

Municipalities Wasted R27bn, Says Report

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says that municipalities could have saved R27 billion in the previous financial year - that is R74 million per day by cutting down on unnecessary expenses.

Gordhan urged new council members to, “Cut down on non-essentials and get your planning, budgets, service delivery and bureaucracy right.”

Speaking at the launch of the Treasury’s latest financial municipal oversight report, Gordhan said that new council members have to “forget about fancy extras like brand new Mercedes-Benzes.”


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