Local government in South Africa consists of municipalities (Tswana : bommasepala; Sotho : bomasepala; Northern Sotho : bommasepala; Afrikaans : munisipaliteite; Zulu : ngomasipala; Southern Ndebele: bomasipala; Xhosa : ngoomasipala; Swazi : bomasipala; Venda : vhomasipala; Tsonga : vamasipala) of various types. The largest metropolitan areas are governed by metropolitan municipalities, while the rest of the country is divided into counties called district municipalities, each of which consists of several boroughs called local municipalities. Since the boundary reform at the time of the municipal election of 3 August 2016 there are eight metropolitan municipalities, 44 district municipalities and 205 local municipalities.
Municipalities can belong to one of three categories: metropolitan, district and local (referred to in the constitution as categories A, B and C).
Metropolitan (or category A) municipalities govern large densely urbanised regions that encompass multiple centers with close economic linkages, i.e. metropolises. Metropolitan municipalities are unitary authorities responsible for all local government functions within their areas.
Since the 2011 municipal election there are eight metropolitan municipalities:
Buffalo City and Mangaung were originally local municipalities (see below) which were separated from their district municipalities and upgraded to metropolitan status in 2011. The other six municipalities were founded as metropolitan municipalities at the inception of the current system of local government in 2000.
The rest of the country, outside the metropolitan areas, is governed jointly by district (county) and local (borough) municipalities. Each district (or category C) municipality is divided into a number of local (category B) municipalities. District municipalities have responsibility for broader matters such as integrated planning, infrastructure development, bulk supply of water and electricity, and public transport; while local municipalities have responsibility for all municipal functions not assigned to the district, and in particular local service delivery. As of 2016 there are 44 district municipalities divided into 205 local municipalities.
Municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are elected every five years. The most recent nationwide election of municipal councils was held on 3 August 2016.
The councils of metropolitan and local municipalities are elected by a system of mixed-member proportional representation. These municipalities are divided into wards, and each ward directly elects one councillor by first-past-the-post voting. An equal number of councillors are appointed from party lists so that the overall makeup of the council is proportional to the votes received by each party.
In district municipalities, 60% of the councillors are appointed by the councils of their constituent local municipalities, while the remaining 40% are elected by party-list proportional representation.
The basic structure of local government originates from Chapter 7 of the Constitution of South Africa. In addition to this a number of acts of Parliament regulate the organisation of local government. The principal statutes are:
The South African Geographical Names Council is a statutory body that deals specifically with changing names of places in South Africa, including municipalities.
Discontent with the service delivery of municipalities is evident from the rising number of protests recorded from 2004 to 2020. The number of major protests increased from only 10 in 2004, to 237 in 2018.By 2019/20 Gauteng province had the most service delivery protests (some 23%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (c.21%), the Western Cape (c.20%), Eastern Cape (c.15%) and Mpumalanga (c.9%). Discontent often revolves around the demand for housing and free basic services, especially when community members are displaced or suffer the loss of income. Other causes are perceived councillor accountability, the quality or pace of basic service delivery (housing, water and electricity), misappropriation of Covid-19 relief benefits and land invasions. Protestors sometimes confuse issues relating to land demarcation, political candidates, or employer disputes with local government’s service delivery mandate. When violent, protests may impinge on freedom of movement or property of others.
Some of South Africa's municipalities are drowning in debt due to corruption and lack of skills, billion in 2017, and R25 billion in 2018) and consequence-free misconduct. Only a fraction (14% in 2017, 8% in 2018) of municipalities submit clean annual audits to the Auditor-General, and implementation of the AG's recommendations has been lax. By 2018, 45% of municipalities have not implemented all procedures for reporting and investigating transgressions or fraud, while 74% were found to insufficiently follow up on such allegations. The late Kimi Makwetu suggested holding employees individually accountable, treating recommendations as binding and issuing a certificate of debt to guilty parties.and by 2020 a significant proportion found themselves financially and logistically stressed by the pandemic. Municipalities often employ unqualified personnel who are unable to deliver proper financial and performance governance, which in addition leads to fraud, irregular expenditure (R30
As of 2020, municipalities owe South Africa's Water Boards a total of R12 billion, and a culture of non-payment has taken hold.They have also accumulated debt of R46.1 billion (R31 billion overdue) with Eskom.
Emfuleni Municipality's unserviced debt with Eskom (over R2.3 billion by 2020) and Rand Water (some R1,1 billion ) prevented it from providing a reliable power and water supply, which affected its ability to collect levies and taxes. A 2018 High Court judgment allowed Eskom to seize R645 million worth of Emfuleni's fixed assets due to non-payment for electricity. Lekwa Municipality has been taken to court by businesses around Standerton for failing to provide clean and sufficient water and electricity. These service interruptions were due to its soaring debt to Eskom (R1.1 billion by 2020 ), and its non-payment for services provided by the Department of Water and Sanitation. In 2018 VBS Bank collapsed, affecting the deposits of 14 municipalities. These deposits, which were all illegal in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), included a R245 million deposit by Fetakgomo Tubatse Municipality, and a R161 million deposit by Giyani Municipality.
Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM) and also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie (EVKOM), by the South African Government and people of the Republic of South Africa in terms of the Electricity Act (1922). South Africa became a Republic in the 1960s. Eskom represents South Africa in the Southern African Power Pool. The utility is the largest producer of electricity in Africa, and was among the top utilities in the world in terms of generation capacity and sales, but has since slipped in both categories. It is the largest of South Africa's state owned enterprises. Eskom operates a number of notable power stations, including Matimba Power Station and Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, Kusile Power Station in Witbank, Kendal Power Station, and Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape Province, the only nuclear power plant in Africa. The company is divided into Generation, Transmission and Distribution divisions and together Eskom generates approximately 95% of electricity used in South Africa, amounting to ~45% used in Africa, and emits 42% of South Africa's total greenhouse gas emissions.
Stellenbosch Local Municipality is the local municipality that governs the towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Pniel, and the surrounding rural areas, in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It covers an area of 831 square kilometres (321 sq mi) and, as of 2011, had a population of 155,733 people in 43,420 households. It falls within the Cape Winelands District Municipality.
Port Elizabeth, officially renamed Gqeberha and colloquially often referred to as PE, is a major seaport city and the most populous city in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is the seat of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa's second-largest metropolitan district by area size. It is the sixth-most-populous city in South Africa and is the cultural, economic and financial centre of the Eastern Cape.
The City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality is a metropolitan municipality that manages the local governance of Johannesburg, South Africa. It is divided into several branches and departments in order to expedite services for the city. Zulu is the most spoken language at 23.4% followed by English at 20.1%.
Sedibeng is one of the districts of the Gauteng province of South Africa. The administrative seat of Sedibeng is Vereeniging. The most widely spoken language among its 794,605 inhabitants is Sesotho.
In South Africa, a metropolitan municipality or Category A municipality is a municipality which executes all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation. This is by contrast to areas which are primarily rural, where the local government is divided into district municipalities and local municipalities.
The City of Cape Town is the metropolitan municipality which governs the city of Cape Town, South Africa and its suburbs and exurbs. As of the 2011 census, it had a population of 3,740,026.
Municipal elections were held in South Africa on 1 March 2006, to elect members to the local governing councils in the municipalities of South Africa. The municipalities form the local government of South Africa and are subdivisions of the provinces, thus making them responsible for local service delivery, such as electricity, water and fire services.
The nine provinces of South Africa are divided into 52 districts, which are either metropolitan or district municipalities. They are the second level of administrative division, below the provinces and above the local municipalities.
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The Emfuleni Local Municipality, founded in 1999, is one of three local municipalities comprising the Sedibeng District in Gauteng, South Africa. It is the westernmost local municipality in the District, and covers an area of 987 km² at the heart of the Vaal Triangle. It is located in the former industrial heartland of Gauteng which created employment and wealth for Sebokeng, Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging and Sharpeville. Its head offices are located in Frikkie Havenga Blvd, Vanderbijlpark.
South Africa has been dubbed "the protest capital of the world", with one of the highest rates of public protests in the world.
Lekwa Local Municipality is a South African local municipality situated in the southwest of the Gert Sibande District Municipality of Mpumalanga. Standerton, an urban node, is the seat of the Lekwa Local Municipality. The municipality was inaugurated on the 5th of December 2000 after the amalgamation the Standerton, Sakhile and Morgenzon councils. Agriculture, forestry and fishing constitute about 30% of its economy. It is situated on open grassland plains of the Highveld region, which is traversed by the west-flowing Vaal River, for which it is named. Lekwa is the Sotho name for the Vaal River. Lekwa's first two decades were marked by increasing maladministration, which culminated in a collapse in governance and service delivery by 2020. This had negative consequences for its residents and businesses, the environment, and utilities which were not paid for their services.
QQ Section also known as Tambo Park, was founded in 1989 and is an Informal Settlement in the Site B sub-division of Khayelitsha in South Africa.
Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality is an administrative area in the Thabo Mofutsanyane District of the Free State in South Africa. It encompasses substantially all of the former bantustan of QwaQwa, except for the small enclave at Botshabelo. The population is almost entirely Southern Sotho. The municipality is named after the Drakensberg mountains. The peak in QwaQwa is known as the Sentinel, which is called "Phofung" in Sesotho.
The Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution of South Africa altered the boundaries of seven of South Africa's nine provinces. It also redefined all of the provinces' geographical areas in terms of the areas of district and metropolitan municipalities, and repealed the provisions introduced by the Third Amendment that allowed municipal areas to cross provincial boundaries. A number of the boundary changes were highly controversial and led to popular protest and court challenges.
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The 2016 South African municipal elections were held on 3 August 2016, to elect councils for all district, metropolitan and local municipalities in each of the country's nine provinces. It was the fifth municipal election held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994; municipal elections are held every five years.
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