Municipal Structures Amendment Bill, 2024 (Coalition 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: Municipal Structures Amendment Act, 2024 (“the Bill”) to provide for a legislative framework to guide the formation and the management of coalition governments, as well as providing systems to minimise the challenges of coalitions within the Local Government sphere.

The Bill has been recently approved by Cabinet for publication in the Government Gazette for public comments and gazetted on 21 May 2024 with the closing date of 5 July 2024.

The Bill comes as a result of a public outcry for a framework, or guidelines or legislation given rise by the maturing democracy and increased number of hung councils from 24 in the year 2000 to the recently 81 municipalities affected post the 2021 Local Government Elections. This increased number signalled the need to strengthen coalition governance to address challenges related to poor governance, service delivery and Instability in municipal councils.

The amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (“the Structures Act”) is seen as a vehicle or mechanism within which the coalition governments can be institutionalised to address challenges in hung councils.

In essence, the Bill seeks to amend the Structures Act, so as to provide for a definition of “coalition agreement” to compel political parties to enter into a written and negotiated binding agreement between parties that form a coalition government in a municipality in which no political party has a majority of seats in council, so as to promote a continued service delivery, transparent and open governance; requiring  the Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) responsible for local government in the provinces to change the type of municipalities from mayoral executive system to collective executive system, in which no party obtained a majority of seats to promote stability in hung councils; provide for the election or removal from office of municipal office-bearers to be by a show of hands to ensure accountable and transparency; provide for the grounds for removal of municipal office-bearers from office to avoid frequent disruptions and frivolous motions of no confidence interrupting the effective functioning of the council; and introducing a minimum threshold of one percent of the valid votes cast during an election for a party to qualify for a seat in the municipal council.

As CoGTA, we believe that this Bill will be able to address our resolve towards mitigating the governance challenges related to:

  • Unscrupulous manipulation by parties less represented in council to dictate the functioning of council;
  • Coalitions incentivised by promises of senior positions or outright bribes with little thought on the impact of the same on the municipality and its ability to deliver services;
  • In-fighting in councils characterised by walkouts resulting in inquorate councils failing to execute their legislated mandate; and
  • Inability to make key appointments and adopt budgets, IDPs, and policies resulting in an administration that cannot spend its budget to address service delivery backlogs.

These challenges have a direct impact on society in particular when a municipality fails to uphold its obligations, which in turn, have repercussions ripple throughout its jurisdiction, affecting the lives and livelihoods of local residents.

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.

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 5 July 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 gazette



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *