South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Local government

Local Government Turnaround Strategy
Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)
Community Work Programme (CWP)
Local Economic Development (LED)
Municipal Demarcation Board
South African Local Government Association (Salga)
Disaster management






In accordance with the Constitution and the Organised Local Government Act, 1997 (Act 52 of 1997), up to 10 part-time representatives may be designated to represent municipalities and participate in proceedings of the NCOP.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs aims to build and strengthen the capability and accountability of provinces and municipalities.

This includes:

  • continued hands-on support through the established system and capacity-building programme, focusing on critical areas such as integrated development planning, local economic development (LED), financial management, service delivery and public participation
  • evaluating the impact of government programmes in municipal areas, enhancing performance and accountability by improving the quality of reporting on the Local Government Strategic Agenda and improving the monitoring, reporting and evaluation of capacity in local government
  • coordinating and supporting policy development, implementing the Local Government Strategic Agenda, and monitoring and supporting service delivery.


The Constitution provides for three categories of municipality. There are 278 municipalities in South Africa, comprising eight metropolitan, 44 district and 226 local municipalities. They are focused on growing local economies and providing infrastructure and service.

As directed by the Constitution, the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998) contains criteria for determining when an area must have a category-A municipality (metropolitan municipalities) and when municipalities fall into categories B (local municipalities) or C (district municipalities).

The Act also determines that category-A municipalities can only be established in metropolitan areas.

Metropolitan councils have single metropolitan budgets, common property ratings and service-tariff systems, and single-employer bodies.

South Africa has eight metropolitan municipalities, namely:

Metropolitan councils may decentralise powers and functions. However, all original municipal, legislative and executive powers are vested in the metropolitan council.

In metropolitan areas, there is a choice of types of executive system: the mayoral executive system where executive authority is vested in the mayor, or the collective executive committee system where these powers are vested in the executive committee.

Non-metropolitan areas consist of district councils and local councils. District councils are primarily responsible for capacity-building and district-wide planning. The Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998 provides for ward committees whose tasks, among other things, are to:

  • prepare, implement and review IDPs
  • establish, implement and review municipalities’ performance-management systems
  • monitor and review municipalities’ performances
  • prepare municipalities’ budgets
  • participate in decisions about the provision of municipal services
  • communicate and disseminate information on governance matters.

Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS)

The Local Government Turnaround Strategy was introduced as a government programme of action and a blueprint for better service delivery aimed at responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government. Five focus areas aimed at fast-tracking implementation of the strategy have been identified.

These are:

  • service delivery
  • governance
  • financial management
  • infrastructure development
  • fighting corruption.

The department aims to review all pieces of legislation that impede service delivery. In this regard, more than 300 sections of legislation that fall under this category have been identified
and reviews undertaken.

Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)

The MIG aims to eradicate municipal infrastructure backlogs in poor communities to ensure the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, roads and community lighting.

The DCoGTA is responsible for managing and transferring the MIG and provides support to provinces and municipalities on implementing MIG projects.

Community Work Programme (CWP)

The CWP aims to create one million work opportunities by 2018/19, covering all local municipalities. The CWP is a key Government initiative aimed at mobilising communities to provide regular and predictable work opportunities at the local government level.

The purpose of the programme is to provide an employment safety net for those without access to opportunities designed to lift them out of poverty.

The programme recognises that policies to address unemployment and create decent work will take time to reach people living in marginalised areas where few opportunities exist.

The programme has a total budget of R13 billion over the MTEF period. Spending in the programme is set to increase at an average annual rate of 5.8% from R3.9 billion in 2018/19 to R4.6 billion in 2021/22.

Local Economic Development (LED)

LED is an approach towards economic development that allows and encourages local people to work together to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, thereby bringing economic benefits and improved quality of life to all residents in a local municipal area.

LED is intended to maximise the economic potential of municipal localities and enhance the resilience of macro-economic growth through increased local economic growth, employment creation and development initiatives within the context of sustainable development. The “local” in economic development points to the fact that the political jurisdiction at local level is often the most appropriate place for economic intervention, as it carries alongside it the accountability and legitimacy of a democratically elected body.

LED programmes provide support in the following areas:

  • developing and reviewing national policy, strategy and guidelines on LED
  • providing direct and hands-on support to provincial and local government
  • managing the LED Fund
  • managing and providing technical support to nodal economic development planning
  • facilitating, coordinating and monitoring donor programmes
  • assisting LED capacity-building processes.

Through these interventions and resources, local role players and interest groups are mobilised to achieve economic growth and creating jobs to reduce poverty.

Municipal Demarcation Board

The Municipal Demarcation Board is an independent authority responsible for the determination of municipal boundaries. The board’s status as an independent authority is also protected by Section 3 of theLocal Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act 27 of 1998) and various judgements by the Constitutional Court.

In addition to the determinations and re-determinations of municipal boundaries, the MDB is also mandated by legislation to declare the district management areas; to delimit wards for local elections; and to assess the capacity of municipalities to perform their functions.

South African Local Government Association

SALGA is a listed public entity, established in terms of Section 21 of the Companies Act, 1973 (Act 61 of 1973), and recognised by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, in terms of the Organised Local Government Act, 1997 (Act 52 of 1997).

SALGA represents local government on numerous intergovernmental forums such as the PCC, Minister and MECs (MinMec) forum, the Budget Forum, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and the Financial and Fiscal Commission.

SALGA aims, among other things, to:

  • transform local government to enable it to fulfil its developmental role
  • enhance the role of provincial local government associations as provincial representatives and consultative bodies on local government
  • raise the profile of local government
  • ensure full participation of women in local government
  • act as the national employers’ organisation for municipal and provincial member employers
  • provide legal assistance to its members, using its discretion in connection with matters that affect employee relations.

SALGA is funded through a combination of sources, including a national government grant, membership fees from provincial and local government associations that are voluntary members, and donations from the donor community for specific projects.

The Human Resource (HR) Management and Development Strategy aims to turn municipalities into professional and responsive entities.

The strategy is intended to help municipalities make better use of the human capital at their disposal, for them to be able to fulfil their important objective of accelerating service delivery as well as promoting development in local government as a whole.

The strategy emphasises employing individuals who are prepared to extend themselves in serving the needs of people, are professional, and are constantly learning and developing themselves.

One of SALGA’s achievements was the establishment of public accounts committees on municipalities, which allowed councils themselves to exercise accountability.

Disaster management

The Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002) was promulgated in 2003. The National Disaster-Management Centre (NDMC) and functional disaster-management centres and advisory forums were established in eight provinces.

The National Disaster-Management Advisory Forum was recognised by the United Nations (UN) as the national platform for reducing disaster risk.

Through the National Disaster-Management Centre, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs registered unit standards for levels three to seven with the South African Qualifications Authority for a national certificate in disaster risk management.

The department also developed regulations for recruiting and using disaster-management volunteers.

The Provincial Disaster Relief Grant and the Municipal Disaster Relief Grant are designed for the immediate release of funds for emergency repairs to infrastructure for basic services, the provision of temporary infrastructure, humanitarian relief, 
and other immediate essential services after a classified and declared state of disaster.

In 2018/19, the DCoGTA was allocated an additional R1.2 billion to provide immediate drought relief and future mitigation funding to affected sectors such as water, agriculture and environmental affairs. Given this once-off allocation, spending in the National Disaster Management Centre programme is set to decrease at an average annual rate of 31.4%, from R2 billion in 2018/19 to R636.1 million in 2021/22.