General Laws Amendment Bill – Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs


The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Ms Thembi Nkadimeng welcomes the introduction of the Local Government: General Laws Amendment Bill – aimed at enhancing the functionality and efficiency of local government. This Bill reflects government’s ongoing commitment to ensuring good governance and improving service delivery within municipalities across South Africa.

The Local Government Laws Amendment Bill 2024, recently approved for public comments by Cabinet and gazetted on 14 May 2024 with the closing date of 28 June 2024, represents a necessary step towards refining local government legislation. By amending key acts such as the Municipal Structures Act of 1998, Municipal Systems Act of 2000, and Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004, this Bill seeks to strengthen operational efficiencies and governance within municipalities.

The main aim of the Bill is to review the various pieces of legislation that impact local government to entrench good practices and address the challenges experienced in the Local Government Sector.

These amendments will greatly contribute to the capabilities of councils, ultimately leading to improved service delivery for communities.

Under the Municipal Systems Act, proposed changes inclusion of the Whip in the definition of “political office bearer” to ensure alignment with the Structures Act, 2021, as amended, facilitating electronic communication for community participation and provisions of ease access to municipal by-laws and fosters that the specific roles and responsibilities of each political structure and political office bearer and municipal manager are displayed on the municipality’s official website to promote transparent and accountable local government, compelling municipalities to take into account the growth and climate change scenarios in the integrated development plans (IDP), involving national and provincial organs in municipal IDP to ensure alignment of plans between the three spheres of government in line with the District Development Model (DDM), considering women and youth needs in planning, and enhancing coordination between government spheres.

It also aims to extend periods for acting municipal managers to provide sufficient time to attract a capable workforce, require record-keeping for dismissed staff, involve the Minister of Finance in local government in the bargaining councils’ negotiations to meet the affordability needs of the municipality, and to require staff members to refrain from committing financial misconduct and to ensure that unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure and other losses are prevented.

Amendments under the Municipal Structures Act involve redefining by-election timelines, requiring written justifications for refusing council meetings to provide for a transparent process to avoid procedural defects in the system, allowing for intervention if council meetings are denied, providing for clarification for dissolving of mayoral committees upon an executive mayor’s departure and re-election of the new mayor to ensure continuity in the municipal council, drawing lines on separation of powers by restricting municipal office-bearers to hold dual roles in councils, mandating the timely establishment of ward committees and municipal public accounts committees, involving traditional leaders in committees, revising and redefining the district-local municipality powers and functions, providing for an appeals mechanism process for suspended councillors to avoid costly litigation and the promotion of rules of natural justice.

Regarding the Municipal Property Rates Act, the Bill suggests allowing electronic service of valuation roll notices for ease of access by end-users and the promotion of a billing system within the councils to ensure improvement of the revenue collection.

As COGTA moves forward with the legislative process for this Bill, Minister Nkadimeng encourages all stakeholders to actively engage and provide valuable input to further strengthen local government structures.

“As COGTA, we remain committed to developing transparent, accountable, and effective governance for the betterment of all South Africans. We look forward to the positive impact this Bill will have on our municipalities and reaffirm our dedication to working collaboratively towards building resilient and prosperous communities.” Minister Nkadimeng said.

Members of the public are thus invited to provide inputs/ comments on the Bill, with the view to address the present implementation gaps and challenges being experienced within the local government sector.

Written submissions/comments may be submitted to the Department of Cooperative Governance at Comments.GLAB@cogta.gov.za by no later than 28 June 2024; or

By post to:

Director-General

For the attention: Mr Nhlamulo Mathye

Department of Cooperative Governance

Private Bag X804

PRETORIA

0001

You can download the Bill:



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