Municipal Systems in Local Government
The lack of service delivery is a commonly-heard complaint in the context of municipalities and local government.
Whether there is merit in the complaints or not, the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 20001 aims, amongst other purposes, to provide for the core principles, mechanisms and processes necessary to enable municipalities to progress the social and economic upliftment of local communities, and ensure access to affordable essential services.
Accordingly, the Act establishes the legal nature, and the rights and duties of municipalities, their functions and powers, legislative procedures, the provisions for community participation, integrated development planning, administration and human resources, codes of conduct and performance management, the mechanism for the (internal and out-sourced) provision of services, and debt collection.
The occupier of premises in a municipality must give an authorised representative of the municipality (or of a service provider) access at all reasonable hours in order to read, inspect, install, repair or to disconnect, stop or restrict any meter or service connection, and it is an offence to deny such access.2
It is also an offence for any member of a municipal council to try and influence the municipal manager (or any other staff member) not to enforce any obligation, by-law or a decision of the council; and, any such manager or staff member who gives in to the attempt is also guilty of an offence.3