n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Challenges facing the supervision of local government in South Africa : aantekeninge

Volume 2014, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 requires national and provincial governments to supervise local government. Section 155(6) requires each provincial government to provide for the monitoring of local government in the province and section 155(7) instructs the national and provincial governments to oversee the effective performance by municipalities of their functions. There are challenges which arise from the constitution and the legislation in relation to the supervision of local government. This note reveals serious shortcomings and challenges in the supervision of local government in South Africa. In spite of the fact that the constitution entrenches the status of local government such status may be useless if the mechanisms that are intended to protect the status of local government are not effective. (S 51(2) of the constitution vests both the legislative and executive authority of a municipality in its municipal council and s 40(1) provides that government in the Republic is constituted of three spheres, namely, the national, provincial and local spheres of government. Meyer (1997) 6 points out that the reference to local government as "a sphere of government" indicates that the 1996 constitution recognises local government as being part of a team of government together with the national and provincial spheres of government.) Despite the constitutional provisions aimed at protecting local government from the other spheres of government compromising or impeding its ability to exercise its powers or to perform its functions (in s 151(4)), provincial governments may too easily encroach on the geographical and institutional integrity of municipalities. For this reason, the weaknesses in the constitution and legislation in respect of its protection of local government from possible abuses of its supervisory powers by provincial government are discussed in this note.

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