Critique of the 15year Review of Local Government prepared for South African Local Government Association (SALGA 2000-2015)


Critiqueof the 15year Review of Local Government prepared for South AfricanLocal Government Association (SALGA 2000-2015)

Critiqueof the 15year Review of Local Government prepared for South AfricanLocal Government Association (SALGA 2000-2015)

TheLocal Government of South Africa was established by Chapter 7 of theSouth African Constitution. The Local Government was to actindependently but cooperatively with the National government inaddressing the issues that were experienced at the municipal level.It would also mainly execute its roles as was provided for by theConstitution and as stipulated in a framework called the White paper.It is important to note that there have been many laws instituted toguide the effecting of the local government obligations, and guardthe interests of the diverse cultural background within which thelocal government exercises control. All these laws stem from theConstitution. Many laws had to be enacted in order to attaindemocracy and a non racial local government.

Itis in the same vein that South African Local Government Associationwas formed as the institution that voices for the local government.It represents the issues that affect the local government to thestakeholders, and for consideration by the National Government. Thestudies conducted by SALGA serves the National government and therespective local governments with information that offers insighttowards the achievement of goals, and in determining progress.

TheLocal Government is mandated to provide a democratic and anaccountable government to local communities and to promote the billof rights through rallying for the participation of the members ofthe of the communities in matters of the local government (Tapscott2007).

TheSALGA has considered a review of the Local Government, which seeks toclarify the functioning of the local government from 2000 to 2015. Itrelates the progress made in the 15 years and describes theachievements in that period. It also seeks to determine the successor setbacks that have been experienced in the 15 year period.

Itis South Africa’s National and Local government mandate to achievean organized local government. The local government being a newconcept in the nineties, had to rely on SALGA to offer guide for theproper institution of local authorities. SALGA remains instrumentalin the achievement of an organized local government, which is yet tobe accomplished. Structures and policies had to be created tofacilitate the performance of local government through administeringservices to the locals, improving service delivery, and equitablyinvolving the communities in activities of the local government(Williams 2006).

Theoperation of SALGA has not been without challenges. The institutionhas faced myriad barriers to their progress. The organization hasraised the concerns of increasing responsibilities without the reviewof the funding model, causing strain on what they financially canachieve of their constitutional roles. Also, the organization ispredisposed to financial risk because of its voluntary nature, andthat the members which are the major funding source have an unstableincome. Notwithstanding the fact that SALGA has attained a unitarystructure, the membership is voluntary. As a result, the organizationis open to opposition and unanticipated criticism.

Thestudy offers a comprehensive analysis of the situation of SouthAfrica’s Local Government. It addresses the significant aspectsSALGA’s role and extensively examines the progress that has beenmade throughout the years. The literature review is thorough, boldlyapplying the language that is comprehensible to readers. The languageis simple but scholarly, portraying that its preparation was done byexperts. The use of graphics and statistics to explain the matters ofLocal Government offers credibility to the information contained inthe review. It implies that the information given could be used asreference in other materials compiled for the better understanding ofSouth Africa’s Local Government.

Thecompilation of this review is conducted with precision, and itsdetails are influential in application.The adoption of this reportoffers the change in the ares that enhance local governmentdevelopment.

Inmy view, the study entails information that is germane to the purposeof research. The study seeks to determine the extent of progress theLocal Government has achieved within the fifteen year period.

Theinformation provided on service delivery is necessary to createalterations to sectors of operation within the local government thathave not registered good performance and offer the basis for policymaking to guide the local government’s delivery of services. Thereview discusses in depth the legislations upon which the performanceof Local Governments is founded. For instance, the South AfricanConstitution stipulates in Schedule four and five that localgovernment should ensure that the provision of services isprogressively expanded, and commensurate to the available resourcesin order to ascertain sustainability. It also mentions some Acts ofParliament that establish services and create the manner in which theservices should be dispatched. The Acts also institute the legalpenalties that could be imposed on offenders upon violation of thelaw, and remedies that can be claimed in a civil suit. For example,the National Water Act, which mandates the municipalities to monitorwater supply by ensuring contaminants such as foreign objects andoil, are not released into water that is used by the communities.Also, the Municipal Finance Management Act Circular 13 articulates towhich place water is delivered and how.

Incompiling the review, the authors also relied on other reports, suchas FFC report on Division of Revenue 201/13. These reports guaranteethat the information provided in the review is valid, and therefore,the local government upon adopting this information would developpossible changes to their operation to accomplish the ultimate goalof realizing a democratic local government.

Itsuffices to note that the municipalities to a large degree depend onsubsidies and capacity support from the National and Provincialgovernments. However, it is worth mentioning that local government isno longer considered subordinate to National or Provincialgovernment. The Constitution directs the governments not to encroachon the geographical domain of another, and to perform their functionsin a manner not to interfere with each jurisdiction`s integrity.There are some functions which are perfomed by all the threegovernments, however, it is witnessed that in some instances there isoverlapping of functions so that it is not clearly determined whatfunctions are specifically allocated every government (Cameron 2002).

Thereview is encompassing, to the extent that it discusses the aim ofthe legislation that focuses on the promotion of democracy andsubstantially broadening the democratic arena, allowing the locals toparticipate actively in activities that enhance democracy. Theconcept also addresses as a function of democracy the drive toadminister fairness in the distribution of resources, and the localgovernment to grant their services without biases to every member ofthe community (Tapscott 2007).

Eventhough the review does not openly outline the recommendations, itoffers an informed basis for the local government to act upon andformulate policies that could assist in the better provision ofservices to the locals. It examines its data and analyses it for theapplication. It is a fact that this review is written for SALGA toassist it in issuing guide to local governments and providing themwith adequate information to help them create sound principles thatwill foster democracy at the local level. Communities do not onlyplay a role in the election but are also involved in decision-makingwithin the local government. The mission to achieve a fullydemocratic local government is supported by laws, which providesformal structures for the participation of the community. The lawconsiders members participation at different levels that is personswith disability, women and other disadvantaged groups (Williams2006).

Thereview includes the section that discusses matters of transparencywithin the local government administration. It mentions an auditprogram, the Operation Clean Audit Programme, which ensuresaccountability and proper handling of fiscal issues in the localgovernment. It determines the fate of auditing as ineffective for themain reason that COGTA lacked the mandate to enforce compliance.Therefore, it would be a futile endeavor to audit and no action betaken towards enforcement (Nel 2001).

Thestudy displays the role of the municipality’s management asfacilitating a culture of public service and creating an atmospherethat fosters accountability among its staff, and performing itsfunctions through operationally efficient administrative units. Mostimportantly, it requires the management to be responsive to the needsof the locals (Tapscott et al 2013). In another instance, I wouldwell note that even though the municipalities comply with thelegislative requirements for preparation of Intergrated DevelopmentPlans, the quality of services provided still remain a challange.Thus, some communities still have a problem accessing servicesbecause of their increased needs. It, therfore, causes financialstrain on the local government and yet the resources allocated themis not enough to offer sufficient service to the community (Xuza2007).

Conclusively,the 15-year review of the local government registers progresses inthe period that has been studied. Despite the challenges that havebeen met from the time of institution of local government to 2015, itis worth noting that development is an explicable factor. Many thingshave changed for the good of the community, including improvement ofservice delivery. I also wish to indicate that if the localgovernment acts upon this review, they will advance even further toachieve the many areas that still require utmost attention.


Tapscott,C. and Thompson, L., 2013. Between supply and demand: the limits toparticipatory development in South Africa. InternationalReview of Administrative Sciences,79(2),pp.368-385.

Tapscott,C. 2007. The challenges of deepening democracy in fragmentedsocieties: The South African Experience. Paper delivered at VLIRseminar September 2007.

Williams,J.J., 2006. Community participation: lessons from post-apartheidSouth Africa. Policystudies,27(3),pp.197-217.

Xuza,P., 2007, June. Ten years and ten trends of local economicdevelopment practice in South Africa: a practitioner’s perspective.In UrbanForum(Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 117-123). Springer Netherlands.

Nel,E., 2001. Local economic development: A review and assessment of itscurrent status in South Africa. UrbanStudies,38(7),pp.1003-1024.

Cameron,R. (2002). Central-Local Financial Relations in South Africa. LocalGovernment Studies,28(3), pp.113-134.