Municipal Law: 10 laws that are important to municipalities

All law effects local government but there are some pieces of legislation that make specific reference to local government. This list is by no means complete but these are among the most well known pieces of legislation that focus on municipalities.

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1. The Constitution

The Constitution of South Africa is the big daddy of all pieces of legislation. Any piece of legislation will be deemed unenforceable if it is found to be unconstitutional. Chapter 7 of the Constitution is dedicated to matters pertaining to local government.

From Section 151 to 164, the chapter deals with the legal status of municipalities, their objectives, responsibilities, powers and privileges.

2. Municipal Finance Management Act

The Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 intends to secure sound and sustainable management of the financial affairs of municipalities and other institutions in the local sphere of government. To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

3. Municipal Systems Act

The Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 intends:

To provide for the core principles, mechanisms and processes that are necessary to enable municipalities to move progressively towards the social and economic upliftment of local communities, and ensure universal access to essential services that are affordable to all.

To define the legal nature of a municipality as including the local community within the municipal area, working in partnership with the municipality’s political and administrative structures.

To provide for the manner in which municipal powers and functions are exercised and performed.

To provide for community participation.

To establish a simple and enabling framework for the core processes of planning, performance management, resource mobilisation and organisational change that underpin the notion of developmental local government.

To provide a framework for local public administration and human resource development.

To empower the poor and ensure that municipalities put in place service tariffs and credit control policies that take their needs into account by providing a framework for the provision of services, service delivery agreements and municipal service districts.

To provide for credit control and debt collection.

To establish a framework for support, monitoring and standard setting by other spheres of government in order to progressively build local government into an efficient, frontline development agency capable of integrating the activities of all spheres of government for the overall social and economic upliftment of communities in harmony with their local natural environment.

To provide for legal matters pertaining to local government.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

4. Municipal Structures Act  

The Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 intends to:

Establish criteria for determining the category of municipality to be established in an area.

Define the types of municipality that may be established within each category.

Provide for an appropriate division of functions and powers between categories of municipality.

Regulate the internal systems, structures and office-bearers of municipalities.

Provide for appropriate electoral systems.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

5. Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005 intends to:

Establish a framework for the national government, provincial governments, and local governments to promote and facilitate intergovernmental relations.

To provide for mechanisms and procedures to facilitate the settlement of intergovernmental disputes.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

6. Municipal Demarcation Act

The Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act 27 of 1998 intends to provide for criteria and procedures for the determination of municipal boundaries by an independent authority.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

7. Municipal Electoral Act

The Local Government: Municipal Electoral Act 27 of 2000 intends to regulate municipal elections.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

8. The Electoral Act

The Electoral Act 73 of 1998 intends to regulate elections of the National Assembly, the provincial legislatures and municipal councils.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

9. Municipal Property Rates Act

The Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004 intends:

To regulate the power of a municipality to impose rates on property.

To exclude certain properties from rating in the national interest.

To make provision for municipalities to implement a transparent and fair system of exemptions, reductions and rebates through their rating policies.

To make provision for fair and equitable valuation methods of properties.

To make provision for an objections and appeals process.

 To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here

10. Organised Local Government Act

The Organised Local Government Act 52 of 1997 intends:

To provide for the recognition of national and provincial organisations representing the different categories of municipalities.

To determine procedures by which local government may designate representatives to participate in the National Council of Provinces.

To determine procedures by which local government may consult with the national and provincial governments.

To determine procedures by which local government may nominate persons to the Financial and Fiscal Commission.

To view the Act, amendments, deletions, repeals etc. click here