features & functions
- national
features & functions
- provincial
features & functions
- local
local government across the GCR
future change
working together
intergovernmental relations
political engagement
where are we going?
civic engagement
interactions with government
interactions with leaders
satisfaction with government
features & functions - local

In the post-apartheid period, local government has been completely transformed. The divided, racially defined local authorities of the past have been amalgamated into new municipalities. This means that the separate areas that were previously reserved for white residents, and those to which African, Indian and coloured residents were forcibly removed by apartheid, are now covered by  integrated, democratically elected municipalities. This is one of the most important features of the new system. By implication, the tax resources raised from residents and businesses in wealthier parts of the city can now be used to fund development in parts that were historically under-developed under apartheid. The result has been significant progress in rolling out household and community infrastructure to previously poorly serviced dormitory townships.

key features   competencies


Local government has benefitted from a strong impulse towards decentralisation embedded in the Constitution. Local government has the right to govern, on its own initiative, in a number of functional areas of competence. This is subject to national and/or provincial legislative oversight. But national and provincial government must not compromise or impede a municipality’s ability or right to exercise its powers or perform its functions. Local government institutional arrangements are a little complicated.  There are three categories of municipality.



Functional areas of local government competence, under the shared legislative competence of national and provincial government (defined in Schedule 4B of the Constitution):

Electricity and gas reticulation, building regulations, municipal health services (defined in legislation as environmental health, not health care), municipal public transport, stormwater management, water supply and domestic waste-water and sewerage, etc.
Category A (or Metropolitan) Municipalities are single, unicity structures which do not share authority with any other municipality in their area. There are only six metros in the country, in areas that are defined as cities. There are three category A municipalities in Gauteng.

Functional areas of local government competence, under the exclusive legislative competence of provincial government (defined in Schedule 5B of the Constitution):

Cemetaries and crematoria, cleansing, markets, municipal parks and recreation, local sports facilities and amenities, public places, refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal, street trading, street lighting, traffic and parking, etc.

Category B (or Local) Municipalities are one half of two-tier structures. Category B municipalities share executive and legislative authority with the C municipality in whose area they fall.

Category C (or District) Municipalities are the other half of the two-tier arrangement in non-metro areas. In each C municipality (the top tier), there are a number of B municipalities (the bottom tier). Powers and functions are shared between the tiers depending on the level of capacity in each.