n Journal of Public Administration - Legal framework of local government in combating poverty in South Africa

Volume 43, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



One institution in South Africa that has been radically transformed since 1994 is the unit of local government. Given its legacy as fundamental to policy of separatism, it is not by accident that local government received priority political attention in restructuring. The institution has been created, not by Parliament, but by the Constitution. A corollary of this radical feature is that local government units have existence as a sphere, and must be recognised as such by other spheres of government. Yet, as democratic norms would require, checks and balances exist, constitutionally, to promote accountability in local government functioning.

Combating poverty, or its alleviation, is a fundamental objective of municipalities in South Africa. The urgency and necessity of the agenda item means that municipalities can function optimally on being legally empowered. Such is the focus of this article which examines the legal framework by which municipalities are constitutionally positioned to improve living conditions by fighting poverty. For that matter, case studies are provided on the extent to which municipalities can face challenges on implementing mandates on fighting poverty.

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