Municipality (South Africa)

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Overview map of all district and local churches in South Africa

A municipality ( English Municipality ) in South Africa is an administrative unit on the third level below the province . From a territorial point of view, there are three types of commune: the metropolitan communes , the district communes and the local communes . A congregation is still divided into electoral districts (wards).

Classification of the municipality level in the territorial administrative structure of South Africa


The administrative administration in South Africa is divided into three levels according to its constitution of 1996 and the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998 (German: " Municipal Structures Act "):

  1. the national level (National government),
  2. the provincial government and
  3. the municipal level (local government) - here Metropolitan Municipality (abbreviated: Metros, abbreviated: MM), District Municipality (abbreviated: Districts, abbreviated: DM) and Local Municipality (abbreviated: LM).

At the same level as the local church within a district municipality, there were areas administered by the district, so-called District Management Area (DMA), until 2011 .

Cross-border municipalities

At times some of the provincial boundaries (passed in South Africa border communities English Cross-boundary municipalities ). These could be metropolitan, district or local parishes.

The geographical delimitation of cross-border municipalities required that the respective provincial legislation had to be brought into line with the plans of the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB), and it required national legislation that approved the establishment of cross-border municipalities. This special territorial structure has been discussed in its preparatory phase since the end of 1999 and a call for comments on this was made in the public participation process.

In June 2000 the Local Government: Cross-boundary Municipalities Act 29 of 2000 was passed by the South African Parliament. The establishment of cross-border municipalities in the areas proposed by the MDB has hereby been approved. On July 21, 2000 the MDB published its definition of the cross-border municipal boundaries in the official gazettes of the provinces. After examining all objections, the MDB Board concluded its final determinations.

The following cross-boundary congregations participated in the municipal elections in December 2000:

Involved provinces Metropolitan municipalities Districts Local parishes
1. Gauteng / North West 1 metropolitan municipality ( Pretoria ) 1 district parish (CBDC8) 1 local church (CBLC8)
2. Gauteng / Mpumalanga 1 metropolitan parish ( East Rand ) 1 district parish (CBDC2) 1 local church (CBLC2)
3. Northern Province / Mpumalanga 2 district parishes (CBDC3 and CBDC4) 4 local churches (CBLC3, 4, 5 and 6)
4th Northern Cape / North West 2 district parishes (DC9 and CBDC1) 2 local churches (CBLC1 and 7)

With the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act 23 of 2005 , the government initiated a process with the aim of ending the status of cross-border municipalities by means of regional area reorganizations by acquiring an assignment to a single province.

Electoral districts (wards)

In the South African metropolitan communities (Metropolitan Municipalities), konurbane metropolitan areas, there are no local communities (local Municipality), but only electoral districts (Ward / s). The local parishes in the districts (District Municipality) are in most cases also divided into wards. The representatives (councilors) elected for each constituency are members of the municipal council. The legal basis for this is the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998 with its amending laws.

A ward is a spatially defined area on the territory of a municipality. Wards are established when more than seven councilors (elected councilors) meet for the regional councils.

In metropolitan and local communities, ward committees or a participation system can be set up via sub-councils of the municipality council . These Councilors represent the constituency directly in the municipal council and are also the chairman of a ward committee , which consists of up to 10 separately elected people from this municipality.

The ward committees represent various interests and can express them to the local government. Their function corresponds to that of an advisory group from civil society and represents a form of citizen participation . This communication model gives the residents the opportunity to quickly convey their needs and opinions to the council and the administration as well as to listen to them in the process of budget preparation.

Local interest representation

The overriding interests of the local government are predominantly represented by the South African Local Government Association .

Municipal reform

With the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998 , the administrative structures of the municipal sector prescribed by the constitution were implemented in substantive law and a multi-year municipal reform was initiated. This reorganization encompassed the entire national territory. For this purpose, a functioning institution was required, which was established with the designation Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) on the basis of the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act No 27 of 1998) . This authority began its work with the task of reducing the 843 local authorities that existed at that time to a number of 284. At the time, it was managed by Michael Sutcliffe, who had a doctorate in geography.

The 1996 constitution ( section 151 ff.) Provides for three categories of church:

  • Category A municipalities (metropolitan municipalities), 6 in 2000
  • Category B municipalities (local municipalities), 231 in 2000
  • Category C parishes (district parishes), 47 in 2000

The following were also formed:

  • District Managed Areas (DMA), 26 in 2000.

The entire territorial reorganization of the local administrative level had to be completed within the year 2000, because a decision in October set local elections for December 5, 2000.

Structure of a community

In every municipality there is a council that makes decisions and employees who carry out the given tasks. The municipal council consists of elected members and passes guidelines and ordinances for its area. Every year the council makes a budget decision for the municipality. It must also decide on development plans and the provision of services in the community area.

The mayor (Mayor or Executive Mayor), who is elected by the council, presides over the council. A governing body (Executive Committee or Mayoral Committee) of the municipal council supports the mayor. He and the board oversee the municipal manager and the heads of the various departments. The municipal administration carries out the necessary tasks. It is headed by the Municipal Manager and other officials. The administration consists of employees who are responsible for public tasks and must implement all projects approved by the municipal council.

Each constituency (ward) is represented by a member on the municipal council. These Ward Councilors are elected by the residents of the respective constituencies. The other half of the municipal council is determined by proportional representation through parties . In addition, there are ward committees that have no decision-making powers, are available to the Ward Councilor as an advisory body and are elected by the residents of their area.

Tasks of the community

The municipality is responsible for the following tasks:

  • Waste disposal
  • Sanitation
  • Connection to the power grid
  • Libraries and similar institutions
  • Land use decisions
  • Fire protection
  • Community health care
  • Local public transport in the community
  • Local tourism
  • Parks and recreation areas
  • Slaughterhouses and food supplies
  • Streets of the parish
  • Street trade
  • Storm water systems
  • Water connection for private use

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ South African Government: Local Government . at (English).
  2. ^ Local Government Handbook. South Africa: Municipalities . at (English).
  3. ^ A b c Michael Sutcliffe: The South African municipal demarcation process. Rencontres scientifiques franco-Sud-Africaines de l'innovation territoriale . Grenoble / Avignon, 2002; online at (English), PDF doc. Pp. 5-6, 8-9; Doc. Pp. 4–5, 7–8
  4. ^ Government of South Africa: Local Government: Cross-boundary Municipalities Act 29 of 2000 . online at (English)
  5. Municipal Demarcation Board: Strategic Plan 2006-2010 . online at (English, PDF, p. 18 ff.)
  6. ^ South African Local Government Association : Handbook for Municipal Councilors . online at (PDF, English), PDF doc. S. Sec2: xviii (24).
  7. ^ South African Local Government Association: Handbook for Municipal Councilors . online at (PDF, English), PDF doc. S. Sec2: xix (25).
  8. ^ Republic of South Africa, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Municipal Ward Committees: What You Need to Know . at (English).
  9. Municipal Demarcation Board : Mandates . at (English).
  10. SAIRR : South Africa Survey 2001/2002 . Johannesburg 2001. pp. 78-79.
  11. ^ SAIRR : South Africa Survey 2000/2001 . Johannesburg 2001. pp. 534-535.
  12. a b SAIRR : South Africa Survey 2000/2001 . Johannesburg 2001. p. 535.
  13. ^ Municipal Demarcation Board: Background to Municipal Boundaries . at (English).
  14. ^ SAIRR : South Africa Survey 2000/2001 . Johannesburg 2001. p. 535.
  15. ^ A b Republic of South Africa: Local Government Municipal Structures Act (Act No. 117, 1998) . In: Government Gazette No. 19614, dated December 18, 1998, online at (English).

further reading

  • Fatima Surty: The political / administrative interface: the relationship between the executive mayor and municipal manager . (Master's thesis, University of the Western Cape) Cape Town 2010 ( download link ).
  • Nico Steytler: South Africa's negotiated compromise . In: Raoul Blindenbacher, Abigail Ostien (ed.): Constitutional origins, structures and change in federal states. Booklet series Volume 1. Global Dialogue Program, Ottawa 2007, ISBN 978-0-7735-3308-0 (English: South Africa's Negotiated Compromise. Translation: Vera Draack).