An analysis of metropolitan governance and institutional issues in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The main objectives of this article is to gauge to what extent metropolitan governments have led to the improvement of service delivery and to investigate how the existing governing and institutional frameworks are working for metros. Evidence suggests that the creation of widely drawn single-tier municipalities encompassing the whole city is a better governing model than the two-tier system. It has also led to the embodiment of the one city, one tax base slogan. It has also contributed to improved service delivery although there are still backlogs due to inmigration. There is evidence to suggest ordinary councillors are not communicating effectively with their constituencies. Part of the problem is that they do not have delegated powers and functions, even though they have constituencies to which they are accountable. The local government electoral system of 50% ward councillors and 50% proportional representation (PR) councillors has led in some cases to bloated councils with a number of PR councillors contributing little to the governing function. While there are some ward committees that are functioning, the evidence suggests that the majority of these structures are not working particularly well. They are too politicised and do not appear to promote public participation. Literature suggests that there is limited public participation in integrated development plans. Community Development Workers do bring some benefits to metropolitan municipalities and support councillors in some instances. However, there is some concern about their relationship with elected councillors and the implications for democratic accountability.