Index of Sections
- Status of Municipalities
- Objects of Local Government
- Developmental Duties of Municipalities
- Municipalities in Co-operative Government
- Establishment of Municipalities
- Powers and Functions of Municipalities
- Composition and Election of Municipal Councils
- Membership of Municipal Councils
- Terms of Municipal Councils
- Internal Procedures
- Publication of Municipal By-laws
- Organised Local Government
- Other Matters
Status of municipalities
151. (1) The local sphere of government consists of municipalities,
which must be established for the whole of the territory of the Republic.
(2) The executive and legislative authority of a municipality is vested
in its Municipal Council.
(3) A municipality has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the
local government affairs of its community, subject to national and provincial
legislation, as provided for in the Constitution.
(4) The national or a provincial government may not compromise or impede
a municipality's ability or right to exercise its powers or perform its
Objects of local government
152. (1) The objects of local government are -
- to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
- to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable
- to promote social and economic development;
- to promote a safe and healthy environment; and
- to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations
in the matters of local government.
(2) A municipality must strive, within its financial and administrative
capacity, to achieve the objects set out in subsection (1).
Developmental duties of municipalities
153. A municipality must
- structure and manage its administration, and budgeting and planning
processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to
promote the social and economic development of the community; and
- participate in national and provincial development programmes.
Municipalities in co-operative government
154. (1) The national government and provincial governments, by legislative
and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities
to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their
(2) Draft national or provincial legislation that affects the status,
institutions, powers or functions of local government must be published
for public comment before it is introduced in Parliament or a provincial
legislature, in a manner that allows organised local government, municipalities
and other interested persons an opportunity to make representations with
regard to the draft legislation.
Establishment of municipalities
155. (1) There are the following categories of municipality:
- Category A: A municipality that has exclusive municipal executive
and legislative authority in its area.
- Category B: A municipality that shares municipal executive and
legislative authority in its area with a category C municipality within
whose area it falls.
- Category C: A municipality that has municipal executive and
legislative authority in an area that includes more than one municipality.
(2) National legislation must define the different types of municipality
that may be established within each category.
(3) National legislation must
- establish the criteria for determining when an area should have a single
category A municipality or when it should have municipalities of both category
B and category C;
- establish criteria and procedures for the determination of municipal
boundaries by an independent authority; and
- subject to section 229, make provision for an appropriate division
of powers and functions between municipalities when an area has municipalities
of both category B and category C. A division of powers and functions between
a category B municipality and a category C municipality may differ from
the division of powers and functions between another category B municipality
and that category C municipality.
(4) The legislation referred to in subsection (3) must take into account
the need to provide municipal services in an equitable and sustainable
(5) Provincial legislation must determine the different types of municipality
to be established in the province.
(6) Each provincial government must establish municipalities in its
province in a manner consistent with the legislation enacted in terms of
subsections (2) and (3) and, by legislative or other measures, must
- provide for the monitoring and support of local government in the province;
- promote the development of local government capacity to enable municipalities
to perform their functions and manage their own affairs.
(7) The national government, subject to section 44, and the provincial
governments have the legislative and executive authority to see to the
effective performance by municipalities of their functions in respect of
matters listed in Schedules 4 and 5, by regulating the exercise by municipalities
of their executive authority referred to in section 156(1).
Powers and functions of municipalities
156. (1) A municipality has executive authority in respect of, and has
the right to administer
- the local government matters listed in Part B of Schedule 4 and Part
B of Schedule 5; and
- any other matter assigned to it by national or provincial legislation.
(2) A municipality may make and administer by-laws for the effective
administration of the matters which it has the right to administer.
(3) Subject to section 151(4), a by-law that conflicts with national
or provincial legislation is invalid. If there is a conflict between a
by-law and national or provincial legislation that is inoperative because
of a conflict referred to in section 149, the by-law must be regarded as
valid for as long as that legislation is inoperative.
(4) The national government and provincial governments must assign to
a municipality, by agreement and subject to any conditions, the administration
of a matter listed in Part A of Schedule 4 or Part A of Schedule 5 which
necessarily relates to local government, if
- that matter would most effectively be administered locally; and
- the municipality has the capacity to administer it.
(5) A municipality has the right to exercise any power concerning a
matter reasonably necessary for, or incidental to, the effective performance
of its functions.
Composition and election of Municipal Councils
157. (1) A Municipal Council consists of
- members elected in accordance with subsections (2), (3), (4) and (5);
- if provided for by national legislation
- members appointed by other Municipal Councils to represent those other
- both members elected in accordance with paragraph (a) and members appointed
in accordance with subparagraph (i) of this paragraph.
(2) The election of members to a Municipal Council as anticipated in
subsection (1)(a) must be in accordance with national legislation, which
must prescribe a system
- of proportional representation based on that municipality's segment
of the national common voters roll, and which provides for the election
of members from lists of party candidates drawn up in a party's order of
- of proportional representation as described in paragraph (a) combined
with a system of ward representation based on that municipality's segment
of the national common voters roll.
(3) An electoral system in terms of subsection (2) must ensure that
the total number of members elected from each party reflects the total
proportion of the votes recorded for those parties.
(4) If the electoral system includes ward representation, the delimitation
of wards must be done by an independent authority appointed in terms of,
and operating according to, procedures and criteria prescribed by national
(5) A person may vote in a municipality only if that person is registered
on that municipality's segment of the national common voters roll.
(6) The national legislation referred to in subsection (1)(b) must establish
a system that allows for parties and interests reflected within the Municipal
Council making the appointment, to be fairly represented in the Municipal
Council to which the appointment is made.
Membership of Municipal Councils
158. (1) Every citizen who is qualified to vote for a Municipal Council
is eligible to be a member of that Council, except
- anyone who is appointed by, or is in the service of, the municipality
and receives remuneration for that appointment or service, and who has
not been exempted from this disqualification in terms of national legislation;
- anyone who is appointed by, or is in the service of, the state in another
sphere, and receives remuneration for that appointment or service, and
who has been disqualified from membership of a Municipal Council in terms
of national legislation;
- anyone who is disqualified from voting for the National Assembly or
is disqualified in terms of section 47(1)(c), (d) or (e) from being a member
of the Assembly;
- a member of the National Assembly, a delegate to the National Council
of Provinces or a member of a provincial legislature; but this disqualification
does not apply to a member of a Municipal Council representing local government
in the National Council; or
- a member of another Municipal Council; but this disqualification does
not apply to a member of a Municipal Council representing that Council
in another Municipal Council of a different category.
(2) A person who is not eligible to be a member of a Municipal Council
in terms of subsection (1)(a), (b),(d) or (e) may be a candidate for the
Council, subject to any limits or conditions established by national legislation.
Terms of Municipal Councils
159. The term of a Municipal Council may be no more than four years,
as determined by national legislation.
160. (1) A Municipal Council
- makes decisions concerning the exercise of all the powers and the performance
of all the functions of the municipality;
- must elect its chairperson;
- may elect an executive committee and other committees, subject to national
- may employ personnel that are necessary for the effective performance
of its functions.
(2) The following functions may not be delegated by a Municipal Council:
- The passing of by-laws;
- the approval of budgets;
- the imposition of rates and other taxes, levies and duties; and
- the raising of loans.
- A majority of the members of a Municipal Council must be present before
a vote may be taken on any matter.
- All questions concerning matters mentioned in subsection (2) are determined
by a decision taken by a Municipal Council with a supporting vote of a
majority of its members.
- All other questions before a Municipal Council are decided by a majority
of the votes cast.
(4) No by-law may be passed by a Municipal Council unless
- all the members of the Council have been given reasonable notice; and
- the proposed by-law has been published for public comment.
(5) National legislation may provide criteria for determining
- the size of a Municipal Council;
- whether Municipal Councils may elect an executive committee or any
other committee; or
- the size of the executive committee or any other committee of a Municipal
(6) A Municipal Council may make by-laws which prescribe rules and orders
- its internal arrangements;
- its business and proceedings; and
- the establishment, composition, procedures, powers and functions of
(7) A Municipal Council must conduct its business in an open manner,
and may close its sittings, or those of its committees, only when it is
reasonable to do so having regard to the nature of the business being transacted.
(8) Members of a Municipal Council are entitled to participate in its
proceedings and those of its committees in a manner that
- allows parties and interests reflected within the Council to be fairly
- is consistent with democracy; and
- may be regulated by national legislation.
161. Provincial legislation within the framework of national legislation
may provide for privileges and immunities of Municipal Councils and their
Publication of municipal by-laws
162. (1) A municipal by-law may be enforced only after it has been published
in the official gazette of the relevant province.
(2) A provincial official gazette must publish a municipal by-law upon
request by the municipality.
(3) Municipal by-laws must be accessible to the public.
Organised local government
163. An Act of Parliament enacted in accordance with the procedure established
by section 76 must
- provide for the recognition of national and provincial organisations
representing municipalities; and
- determine procedures by which local government may
- consult with the national or a provincial government;
- designate representatives to participate in the National Council of
- nominate persons to the Financial and Fiscal Commission.
164. Any matter concerning local government not dealt with in the Constitution
may be prescribed by national legislation or by provincial legislation
within the framework of national legislation.
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