Comment on Municipal Structures Amendment Bill extended

municipal structures
28 Jun 2024

The comment period for the Draft Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill has been extended.

The cooperative governance department published the extension notice in Government Gazette 50871.

The draft bill’s explanatory summary was published in Gazette 50682 in May 2024.

The draft bill aims to amend the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 so as to:

  • insert the definition for coalition agreement;
  • change municipalities with a mayoral executive system, in which no party obtained a majority of seats, to a collective executive system within a prescribed period;
  • provide for the election or removal from office of municipal office-bearers to be by a show of hands;
  • provide for the grounds for removal of municipal office-bearers from office;
  • provide for binding coalition agreements;
  • provide a minimum threshold of one percent of the valid votes cast during an election for a party to qualify for a seat on the council; and
  • provide for matters connected therewith.

In a nutshell, the proposed legislation aims to provide a “legislative framework that will guide the formation and management of coalition governments, as well as providing systems to minimise the challenges of coalitions within the Local Government sphere”.

The comment period for the Draft Local Government: General Laws Amendment Bill has also been extended.

The draft bill’s explanatory summary was published in Gazette 50650 in May 2024.

According to the memorandum, the draft bill seeks to review and amend various pieces of legislation that impact on local government to entrench good practices and address identified challenges.

Acts to be amended include the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 2000; Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998; and the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004.

Highlights of proposed amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 2000 include, inter alia, “whip” in the definition of “political office bearer”; allow for the electronic communication of information concerning community participation; provide for the responsibility of national and provincial organs of state to provide inputs into a municipality’s integrated development plan; provide that the additional needs of women and youth are considered in the consultation and development of the integrated development plan; increase the period for acting as municipal manager; increase the period within which the MEC for local government must enforce compliance with the provisions for appointment of municipal managers and allow for a municipal council to reconsider the appointment; add the Minister of Finance among parties to be consulted before organised local government embarks on negotiations in the bargaining council; and allow for service of documents to be made electronically.

Highlights of proposed amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998 include, inter alia, redetermine the date from which to begin the calculation of the period within which a by-election to fill a vacancy in a ward must be held; provide for the speaker to provide reasons for refusing to call a meeting of the municipal council as requested; provide for the councillors dissatisfied by the refusal of the speaker or acting speaker to call a meeting of the municipal council, or by the reason or reasons given by the speaker or acting speaker for refusing to call a meeting of the municipal council, to request the MEC for local government in the province to designate a person to call and chair the meeting; prohibit members of executive committees from holding the position of speaker, acting speaker or whip; provide that if the executive mayor vacates office, the mayoral committee appointed by that executive mayor dissolves and must vacate office; require metropolitan or local councils to establish ward committees within 120 days after the election of the speaker of the municipal council; provide for the participation of traditional or KhoiSan leaders in ward committees; and redetermine the formula regarding the quota of votes required for a seat in the district council.

Proposed amendments to the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act of 2004 aim to allow service of notices of valuation rolls by electronic mail or any appropriate electronic communication; and provide for matters connected therewith.

Comments on both draft bills are now invited until 31 July 2024.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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