n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - Child-friendly municipalities : including children on local government's agenda

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



This article is an investigation into the role of local authorities in matters concerning children. The article contains an analysis of the relevant provisions of the Constitution of South Africa of 1996, child protection legislation, statutes governing the functioning of local government and national policies, in order to establish the obligations of the local governments in respect of children. A brief analysis of a few relevant cases pertaining to socio-economic rights of children, which are relevant for local governments, is also provided. The author emphasises the scarcity of statutory provisions mandating local governments to take charge of matters affecting children. This makes space for arguments that local governments can do very little for children. The author argues that a creative interpretation of legal provisions pertaining top local governments indicates a much wider potential for intervention in matters regarding children on behalf of the local governments. The cases discussed in this article show that courts could play a significant role in holding local governments accountable for the manner in which they implement children's socio-economic rights. The article concludes by suggesting that a more active role of the local governments in respect of children is possible within the current legal framework, if a creative interpretation of the duties of the local governments is employed.

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