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Principles of South African Local Government Law

Publication Language: English

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ISBN/ISSN: 9780409050097
Published: May 05, 2015
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ISBN/ISSN: 9780409009972
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Principles of South African Local Government Law is a comprehensive resource on local government law in South Africa.

The publication carefully explains the legal dispensation for local governments and addresses key issues in local government administration. These issues include the status, objects, challenges and developmental duties of local authorities, the legal nature and general rights and duties of local government institutions, co-operative governance and the powers and functions of local authorities.

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Table of contents



Research questions and research methodology

Founding principles of the new South African constitutional order

Key normative principles underpinning the new local government legal dispensation


A brief introduction to local government in South Africa

The origins of urban development and the early establishment of local authorities


The general development from farmland into urban settlements

The origin, creation and importance of local authorities


A brief history of local government in South Africa


Financial constraints of former local government institutions

Mobilisation against the former local government system


The process of transformation and restructuring of local government


The restructuring of local government under the Local Government Transition Act

The role and impact of the interim Constitution on the transition process

The importance of the 34 constitutional principles included in the interim Constitution and the certification process of the final Constitution

The impact of the final Constitution and the commencement of the new local government legal dispensation


The current state of local government and the general impact of the Constitution of 1996


Current financial constraints in local government

New administrative challenges

Legislative complexity of the new system

Global and national trends

The influence of settlement patterns and trends

General impact of the Constitution


The status, objects, challenges and developmental duties of local authorities


The characteristics of local governments

The importance of being a sphere of government

The status of municipalities

The objects of local government

The new challenges and developmental duties facing municipalities

Developmental duties of municipalities


The legal nature and general rights and duties of local government institutions


The specific character of local government

The legal nature of a municipality


Local government within a system of co-operative governance


Local government and intergovernmental relations

The constitutional foundation of co-operative government

The impact of co-operative government on local government structures

The recognition and protection of the obligations to support, strengthen, consult and promote local government matters

National legislative protection of the principles of co-operative government

Exploring the roles and responsibilities of national and provincial governments towards municipalities in a system of co-operative governance

National support and assistance to local government through national policies and programmes

Some comments on co-operative government in practice


The new institutional models in local government and the formal establishment of municipalities


Important requirements regarding the functioning and roles of local governments

Categories of municipal government

Systems and types of municipal government

Combining the different systems of municipal government to form municipal types

Application of municipal types to individual municipalities

Establishing new municipalities - procedures and requirements


Demarcation of new local government boundaries


The importance of local government boundaries

Re-determination of the municipal boundaries of the transitional period

The municipal demarcation board

Requirements regarding municipal demarcation

General administrative and other matters regarding the Demarcation Board


The composition, election and term of municipal councils


The composition and election of municipal councils during the local government transitional phases

The composition and election of municipal councils under the final Constitution

Membership of municipal councils and the qualifications of councillors

The terms of municipal councils and councillors

Municipal by-elections

General legislative provisions relevant to the local government electoral process and procedures


The role and importance of the institution of traditional leadership in local government affairs


A brief historical overview of traditional leadership in South Africa

Important considerations relating to traditional leadership from a South African perspective

The new legislative framework and requirements regarding traditional leadership


The powers and functions of municipal governments


The constitutional basis of municipal powers and functions

National legislation to enhance the constitutional foundation of the powers and functions of municipal councils

Executive and legislative functioning

Legislative procedures and requirements

Municipal financial powers

Municipal powers and functions regarding municipal law enforcement


Political structures and internal procedures of municipal councils


The basic constitutional framework regarding the internal procedures of municipal councils

The privileges and immunities of municipal councils and their members

Internal municipal functionaries and procedures

Code of conduct for councillors

The procedures regarding the election of municipal office-bearers


Municipal services and service delivery and the basic functional activities of municipal governments


The new vision of local government service delivery

The new legislative requirements regarding municipal services and service provision

An overview of services that are generally provided by local governments


Municipal personnel, labour relations and staffing matters


The broad organisational structure and overall personnel administration of local governments

New legislative provisions regarding municipal staff matters


Aspects relating to municipal finance and municipal fiscal management


The new legislative framework for municipal financial management

Legislative control mechanisms over municipal finance matters

General comments on the principles relating to municipal fiscal management

Important revenue sources of local governments


The principles of municipal public administration and therequirements of performance management, capacity building, accountability and public participation


Basic aspects concerning municipal public relations

The constitutional requirements affecting municipal public administration

Principles of municipal accountability and public participation

Aspects concerning municipal performance management and capacity building

Aspects regarding municipal capacity building


Municipal development planning


National principles concerning local government developmental planning


Basic legal matters relevant to local government structures


Sources of local government law

Important fields of law relevant to local government law

Special legal matters pertaining to local government


Concluding remarks