Governance Framework


Constitutional Mandate

The mandates of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs are embodied in the following Sections of the Constitution, 1996

  • Section 139 provides for provincial intervention in local government. This intervention in municipalities, includes the issuing of directives, and managing interventions by the Provincial Executive Council in accordance with the provisions of section 139(1) (a), (b) and (c);
  • Section 154 determines that provincial governments must provide support and strengthen the capacity of  municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions in accordance with the provisions of section 154(1) and (2);
  • Section 155(5) and (6) determines the types of municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, and establishes municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, thereafter the Municipalities, by legislative and other measures, must be monitored and supported, in addition to which the Department  must promote the development of local government capacity, to enable municipalities to perform their functions and manage their own affairs; and
  • Section 155 (7) stipulates that provincial governments have legislative and executive authority to see to the effective performance by municipalities of their functions in respect of matters listed in Schedules 4 and 5, by regulating the exercise by municipalities of their executive authority referred to in section 156(1).

Legislative Mandates

The following legislation is administered by the Department:

  • Local Government: Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act No. 32 of 2000)
  • Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act No. 117 of 1998)
  • Local Government: Municipal Financial Management Act, 2003 (Act No. 53 of 2003)
  • Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act, 2004 (Act No. 6 of 2004)
  • Local Government Demarcation Act, 1998 (Act No. 6 of 2004)
  • Local Government Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act No. 27 of 2000)
  • Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003 (Act No. 41 of 2003)
  • Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002)
  • Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, 2013: (Act No. 16 of 2013)
  • Infrastructure Development Act, 2014 (Act No. 23 of 2014)
  • Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act, 2007 (Act No. 12 of 2007)
  • Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act, 1998 (Act No. 20 of 1998)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act, 2008 (Act No. 6 of 2008)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Pounds Act, 2006 (Act No. 3 of 2006)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Cemeteries and Crematoria Act, 1996 (Act No. 32 of 2000)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Determination of Types of Municipalities Act, 2000 (Act No. 7 of   2000)
  • KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, 2005 (Act No. 5 of 2005)
  • Fire Brigade Services Act, 1987 (Act No. 99 of 1987)


Policy mandates have in the past created the parameters within which laws have been developed. For example, the White Paper on Developmental Local Government created the policy environment for the development of the Municipal Structures, Systems, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations Acts.

Policy mandates are also associated with policy pronouncements such as: the National Development Plan (NDP), Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) which then enhance the mandate for Cooperative Governance

Freedom Charter, 1961

The Freedom Charter is a document that the Congress of the People adopted in 1961 as to what would be a picture of a free South Africa. The Freedom Charter declares that ”South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people” (Freedom Charter, 1961: 1). The will of all people is at the centre, and forms a base for this document. The core principles of the Freedom Charter find manifestation in the SA Constitution. The key opening demand for the Freedom Charter is “The people shall govern”. This means that all men and women off all races, sex and colour have a right to vote, and can stand as a candidate for all bodies which make law and are entitled to be part of the administration of the country. Indeed, as COGTA we have witnessed that our government is elected regularly through transparent, free and fair elections as a prerequisite of our democracy demanded by the Freedom Charter. Every South African has the right to elect a government of his or her own choice. Regardless of race, the charter also calls for full equal rights for all citizens including human rights; common ownership of land and industry; equality before law; right to housing, security and comfort; jobs and security; fully-funded education for children and greater access to higher education.

The Freedom Charter remains the platform and vision for South African policies, strategic thinking and aspirations that South Africa seeks to achieve. On the Statement of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress, President Jacob Zuma defines National Development Plan (NDP) as an “overarching plan and a vision to realise the ideals of the Freedom Charter to put in place a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it” (Statement of the NEC of the ANC, 2015: 3). This means that the NDP is our long term vision to attain the objectives of the Freedom Charter.

26 June 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter. While there has been huge progress, there is still a lot to be done for our people in giving effect to the ideals envisaged by the Freedom Charter. Our role as COGTA is to co-ordinate, lead Integrated Provincial Service Delivery; support ward based planning; and strengthen Local Government to ensure that it has the necessary capacity to decently house people whilst providing other necessary services such as transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres called for by the Freedom Charter. The Department will also work towards improving consultation, communication and feedback in municipalities and traditional councils.

National Development Plan and Medium Term Strategic Framework

The National Development Plan is a plan for South Africa and provides a broad strategic framework to guide key choices and actions in order to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and unemployment by 2030. The NDP approach draws extensively on the notion of capabilities, active citizenry and inclusive economy, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. As with the Freedom Charter, NDP calls on our people to be part of an active citizenry and to take greater collective responsibility for their own development.
COGTA contributes to the delivery of chapters 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14 and 15 of the NDP. Table 8.2 illustrates the alignment of the COGTA strategic goals and objectives with the NDP, MTSF outcomes and PGDP.

Chapter 4 of the NDP: Economic Infrastructure stipulates that in order for the country to support the long term economic objectives and development goals, South Africa needs to extensively invest in basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, telecommunications and public transport.  The challenge is to maintain and expand the provision of basic services in order to address the demands of the growing economy. Our role as COGTA includes providing support to municipalities    in the provision of new infrastructure, as well as operational, maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure. In addition, COGTA will strengthen the capacity of municipalities to efficiently deliver infrastructure services to the required standard.

According to Chapter 5 of the NDP: Environmental Sustainability and Resilience, developmental challenges must be addressed in a manner that ensures environmental sustainability and builds resilience to the effects of climate change, particularly in poorer communities (NDP, 2011: 197). To this effect, adaptation strategies in conjunction with national development strategies should be implemented, including disaster preparedness, investment in more sustainable technologies and programmes to conserve and rehabilitate ecosystems and biodiversity assets. Consequently, the strategic objective of KZN COGTA is to increase adaptation to Climate Change impacts and improve Disaster Management by identifying and putting into effect appropriate policies and     measures.

Chapter 6 of the NDP: An Integrated and Inclusive Rural Economy states that by 2030 South African rural communities must have better opportunities to fully participate in the economic, social and political life of the country. Our people will only achieve this through access to high-quality basic services which will enable them to seek economic opportunities. COGTA acknowledges the challenges at municipalities and it is then our priority to implement the Back to Basics programme and ensure that all municipalities move from a dysfunctional to functional state.

One of the key objectives of the NDP is to ensure a transformed Human Settlement (Chapter 8). To have a strong and efficient spatial planning system well integrated across the spheres of government. Among other things this will require:

  • Reforms to the current planning system for improved co-ordination;
  • Develop a strategy for densification of cities and resource allocation to promote better located housing and settlements;
  • Introduce spatial development framework and norms, including improving the balance between location of jobs and people; and
  • Provide incentives for citizen activity for local planning and development of spatial compacts.

Chapter 13 of the NDP: Building a Capable and Developmental State places emphasis on building a capable state to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and unemployment by 2030. Our determination is to ensure that Local Government has committed people with appropriate skills and is capable of being transformative and developmental state to achieve NDP goals. Building a capable state necessitates the following:

  • Stabilisation of the political administrative interface;
  • Making the public service and local government careers of choice;
  • Development of technical and specialist professional skills;
  • Improving relationships between the spheres of government, and
  • Reforming the state owned enterprises.

Chapter 14 of the NDP: Fighting Corruption states that corruption frustrates the country’s ability of operating fairly and efficiently, and hinders the country’s ability to deliver on its development mandate. A no “corruption country” will be realised through:

  • Enforcement of law, procedures and policies will ensure that anti-corruption agencies have requisite resources and independence;
  • Prevention focuses on the effectiveness of the available systems, institutional arrangements and accountability in the organisation; and
  • Education in society is about the society understanding the social dimensions of corruption and reporting it.
  • Operation Clean Audit, good governance, sound financial management and accountability remain the priority for COGTA.

The National Development Plan is the collective future of people of South Africa regardless of gender and race and it is our responsibility to make it work. Chapter 15 of the NDP: Transforming Society and Uniting the Country emphasises that people must unite around a vision of a better South Africa. This indicates that citizens have an important role to play in bringing about transformation and holding government accountable for the services they deliver. Participation in local governance is a key principle of post-apartheid legislation.  White Paper on Local Government (1998) encourages municipalities to find ways of structuring participation to enhance service delivery. KZN COGTA will work towards strengthening the functionality of oversight structures; Ward Based Planning; Ward Committees; improve timeous consultation, communication and feedback in municipalities and traditional councils. It will also enhance the participation of Traditional Leaders in municipalities and improve IGR Structures.

The MTSF is the short term strategy that gives effect to the NDP. The NDP and MTSF identify the following priorities that are particularly important to improve Local Government performance and ensure quality service delivery:
a)         Members of society have sustainable and reliable access to basic services. (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 1).
b)         Intergovernmental and democratic governance arrangements for a functional system of cooperative governance strengthened (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 2).
c)         Sound financial and administrative management. (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 3).
d)         Promotion of social and economic development. (Outcome 9: Sub Outcome 4)
e)         Local public employment programmes expanded through the Community Work Programme. (Outcome 9:   Sub Outcome 5).

Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP)
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) is a comprehensive document that addresses the enormous triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. This is a long-term plan which sets ambitious but achievable TARGETS that will be realised by the year 2030. The PGDP espouses the Provincial vision that: KwaZulu-Natal will be a prosperous Province with a healthy, secure and skilled population, acting as a gateway to Africa and the World.

The PGDP is aligned to the National Development Plan. The Department’s operations are guided by the National Development Plan, 2030 which is expressed in the Provincial Growth and Development Plan