Municipal Matters: It’s everyone’s business

Local government is the sphere of government that is closest to the public. It provides almost all the services that the public engage with daily, and to many, local government is the only form of government most people interact with.

A municipality is a specific geographical area. There are 3 categories of municipalities in South Africa, namely Metropolitan, District, and Local Municipalities. Municipal councils govern municipalities and are elected during local government elections. Municipal councillors are elected through either the Proportional Representation Ballot or a Direct Candidate Ballot. Councillors in District Councils also represent local councils in that area. Municipal Councils have a Chairperson or Speaker, a Mayor and a Deputy Executive Mayor and a Mayoral Committee. The Municipal Administration carries out the decisions of the Municipal Council. Source Civics Academy


The majority of service delivery protests, and protests in general, are handled by, and often directed at, the local municipality.

A municipal council should serve its residents and it should be accountable to residents and to other stakeholders like businesses, customers, and users of municipal services.

It is clearly recognised in the South African Constitution: Section 152: Objects of local government

Source: News24
Source: News24
  • 1. The objects of local government are –
  • a. to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
  • b. to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
  • c. to promote social and economic development;
  • d. to promote a safe and healthy environment; and
  • e. to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.
  • 2. A municipality must strive, within its financial and administrative capacity, to    achieve the objects set out in subsection (1).

Local government is where decisions are taken that often have an immediate and measurable impact on your quality of life.

With this is mind, it then becomes critical for individuals and community organisations to take a firm interest in what is happening inside your municipality.