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)
Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent






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 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.


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 integrated development plans
  • 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.

Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG)

The Municipal Infrastructure Grant 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 DCoG is responsible for managing and transferring the Municipal Infrastructure Grant and provides support to provinces and municipalities on implementing grant projects.

Community Work Programme (CWP)

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.

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 board is an independent authority responsible for determining municipal boundaries. It is also mandated to determine minucipal boundaries, delimit wards for elections, and assess the capacity of municipalities to perform their functions.

Over the medium term, the board plans to focus on finalising amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act 27 of 1998), to improve its administrative and legislative functions.

It is also in the process of finalising and updating the municipal capacity model, which will assist in determining whether municipalities have the institutional capacity to execute their mandates.The board’s total budget for 2020/21 was R68.1 million.

South African Local Government Association

The SALGA is is an association of municipalities. The association represents the interests of local government within the overall system of government, supporting its members to fulfil their developmental obligations and actively participate in intergovernmental relations.

The association has requested that it be delisted from the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act 1 of 1999), as a public entity. This request is awaiting agreement from the DCoG. To support its operations, particularly its attendance of mandatory governance structures, the association is set to receive transfers amounting to R123.1 million, from the department, over the medium term. Total transfers to the association in 2020/21 amounted to R52.1 million.

Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent

The agent is mandated to provide immediate support to municipalities struggling with infrastructure delivery by facilitating the deployment of engineers, scientists and technicians to those municipalities, and providing oversight.

By offering technical advice, the agent supports and strengthens the capacity of municipalities to provide access to basic services, exercise their powers, and perform the functions required to develop, maintain and operate municipal infrastructure. It also aims to improve the municipal management of infrastructure contracts, procurement and construction.

These functions will remain focal over the medium term as the agent aims to train 130 learners, 150 graduates and 250 municipal technical officials per year to improve municipal capacity and assist 90 municipalities in developing spatial development frameworks. The agent’s total budget for 2020/21 was R359.7 million.