n Journal of Public Administration - The transformed local government system : some lessons

Special issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Democratising the system of local government in South Africa required a total transformation of all the municipalities and the services they provide. Local government as demanded particular attention as the services they are expected to provide in a transformed system affect the daily lives of all inhabitants of the state. During the apartheid regime South Africa consisted of racially based local authorities responsible for a limited number of municipal services. The major transformation commenced in 1998 with the establishment of comprehensive municipalities with extensive functions covering the total geographic area. The aim of this article is to briefly trace the stages in the development of the new system of local government and administration. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the elected municipal council and its substructures and the administrative structure with a municipal manager as the chief executive officer. The political administrative interface will be addressed to explain the implications of democracy on the operations of municipalities. The challenges and prospects of the current system will also receive attention and to explain the lessons learned after 10 years.

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