Municipal representation as a mechanism to enhance local government efficiency: the role of associations for local authorities
Contributor(s)Mathenjwa, Mbuzeni Johnson
Organised local government
Association for local authorities
Spheres of government
Local participatory democracy
Municipal international co-operation
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
the South African Local Government Association
South African Local Government Association
South Africa. Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs
Local government -- Law and legislation -- South Africa
Local government -- South Africa -- Citizen participation
International and municipal law -- South Africa
Democracy -- South Africa
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AbstractConceptually, South Africa is “one sovereign democratic state”, with a three-sphere governmental system operating co-operatively. Each sphere of government has “original” or constitutionally-allocated powers and functions, as well as legislative and executive powers. Thus, the governmental system is a hybrid or one sui generis, not benefiting from appropriate precedents. The status and autonomy given local government makes it somewhat unique in the world. Application of the principle of subsidiarity, and the mandate for local government to be developmental has resulted in the roles and responsibilities of municipalities being substantially increased, notwithstanding that most suffer from a lack of resources and capacity.
Local authorities moved from the establishment of the first one in 1682 as providers of basic municipal services on the basis of race and affordability to democratically-elected ‘wall-to-wall’ municipalities in 2000. With 257 municipalities serving a population of 55.6 million, South African local authorities are comparatively large, spatially and demographically.
Given the constitutional-statutory framework and the resultant complex operating environment, it is imperative that all municipalities are able to represent their interests in an intelligent, forceful, and unified manner on decision-making institutions to ensure a close fit between policies/programmes and peoples’ needs. Hence, effective municipal representation by knowledgeable, ethical and committed persons is imperative.
The study provides a history of representation and local authority ‘development’ and underdevelopment in South Africa; a theoretical basis for representation; a review of formalism and government’s approach to development; co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations as a mechanism to facilitate municipal representation; an analysis local government powers, functions, status, autonomy, objects, rights and duties of municipalities; local participatory and representative democracy; and the establishment of municipalities. The constitutional and statutory provisions provide the foundation and framework to facilitate municipal representation. The study continues by analysing other mechanisms that enable municipal representation; a comparative review of local government and co-operative governance in certain select countries.
It goes on to review the formal framework for organised local government in South Africa, including an overview of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Finally, findings and recommendations are made toward a model for municipal representation in South Africa.
Public, Constitutional and International Law
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