President Ramaphosa has signed the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act.
Parliament passed the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill and sent it for assent in March 2021.
The bill was amended by the national council of provinces (NCOP) and returned to the national assembly (NA) for concurrence in December 2020.
The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in February 2019.
The bill is designed to address the problems experienced in the implementation of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act.
The bill was drawn up by the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department and tabled in June 2018.
It was revived by the NCOP in October 2019.
During its deliberations, the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs introduced amendments to the bill.
A new definition on municipal public accounts committee was inserted. It means a committee established in terms of section 79A.
Clause 8 was amended by the insertion of paragraph c referring to 20% if the geographical size of the local municipality is greater than 20 000 square kilometres and if less than 35 councillors have been determined for the municipality in terms of the formula.
Clause 12 got a new subsection 6 outlining when the MEC for local government may not call a by-election.
A new clause on public notice of meetings of municipal councils was also inserted.
Clause 23 was amended by the inclusion of a new 1A outlining the process to be followed if a metropolitan or local council is unable to establish a ward committee.
Proposed amendments by the select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements included the insertion of section 21A stipulating that the code of conduct applies to every member of a municipal council and a new clause 32 on transitional arrangements stipulating that “a municipality with a plenary executive system immediately before the commencement of this Act, will continue to exist as a municipality with a plenary executive system until the date of the first local government election after commencement of this Act.’’
The portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs adopted the NCOP amendments in February 2021.
The Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Act aims to amend the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998, so as to:
• insert, delete and amend certain deﬁnitions;
• remove all references to district management areas;
• remove all references to plenary executive system as a type of municipality;
• provide for a minimum of 10 councillors per municipality;
• amend the deviation threshold;
• provide for the prohibition of a councillor who was found guilty of a breach of the Code of Conduct for Councillors for a period of two years;
• clarify the date of assumption of office by a councillor;
• allow for extension on the declaration of the result of an election;
• require the municipal manager to inform the MEC for local government in the province in addition to the Electoral Commission of ward vacancies;
• provide that the MEC call and set the date for by-elections;
• clarify who can inform the municipal manager of a speciﬁc vacancy;
• allow the MEC to designate a person to call and chair a meeting of the municipal council when the speaker, acting speaker or municipal manager refuses to call the meeting;
• provide for additional functions of the speaker;
• provide for a whip of municipal council;
• clarify the formula for the composition of an executive committee;
• provide for the establishment of a municipal public accounts committee;
• provide for the resolution of a situation where excessive seats may arise from the seat calculation in local municipalities;
• amend the timeframe for the municipal manager to inform the chief electoral officer of vacancies;
• allow for the MEC to inform the chief electoral officer of vacancies if the municipal manager fails to do so;
• clarify the supplementation of party lists for local municipalities;
• provide for the resolution of multiple seats which may arise where a candidate qualiﬁes to be elected to more than one seat;
• clarify the supplementation of party lists for district municipalities;
• provide for a Code of Conduct for Councillors;
• provide for transitional arrangements in respect of municipalities with a plenary executive system; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
The act comes into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.