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A Kruger

N5

Municipal Administration

© Future Managers 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, or otherwise, without prior permission of the copyright owner.
To copy any part of this publication, you may contact DALRO for information and copyright clearance.
Any unauthorised copying could lead to civil liability and/or criminal sanctions.

Telephone: 086 12 DALRO (from within South Africa); +27 (0)11 712-8000
Telefax: +27 (0)11 403-9094
Postal Address: P O Box 31627, Braamfontein, 2017, South Africa
www.dalro.co.za
ISBN 978-1-77581-042-1 
This book was compiled for students studying towards the National Certificate in Public Management N5
at FET colleges. The book was compiled using the syllabus for Municipal Administration N5.
First published 2013

FutureManagers
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PO Box 13194, Mowbray, 7705
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Contents
Module 1 – The origin of municipal authorities
1. Origin of municipal authorities............................................................................................................................. 2
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................... 2
1.2 Development of urban areas........................................................................................................................ 2

1.2.1 Up to the end of the 18th century.................................................................................................. 2

1.2.2 The 19th century............................................................................................................................... 2
1.3 The stages of development of urban areas.................................................................................................. 3

1.3.1 Division of urban areas into sections or parts ........................................................................... 4

1.3.2 Squatter camps.................................................................................................................................. 4
1.3.3 Slums.................................................................................................................................................. 5

1.3.4 Tribal villages.................................................................................................................................... 5
1.4 Origin of towns and cities............................................................................................................................ 6

1.4.1 Characteristics of the development of towns and cities.............................................................. 6
1.5 Procedures and conditions for development in a town/city.................................................................... 8

1.5.1 The procedure for the establishment/development of a town or city ....................................... 9

1.5.2 Conditions imposed on applications for new development....................................................... 9

1.5.3 Control over buildings and requirements for buildings.............................................................. 9
1.6 The emergence of local authorities............................................................................................................ 10

1.6.1 Local authorities during the transfer of authority from the Dutch to the British ................ 11
1.7 Regional services councils.......................................................................................................................... 11

1.7.1 Financing of regional service councils......................................................................................... 11
1.8 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 11
Review questions ......................................................................................................................................................... 12
Module 2 – Reason for existence of municipal authorities
1. The reason for existence of local government................................................................................................... 14
1.2. Reasons for existence of municipalities.................................................................................................... 14
1.3. Summary....................................................................................................................................................... 15
Review question ........................................................................................................................................................... 15
Module 3 – Environment in which municipal authorities function
1. Environment in which municipal authorities function................................................................................... 18
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 18
1.2 Environmental factors................................................................................................................................. 18

1.2.1 Physical factor................................................................................................................................. 18

1.2.2 Social factor..................................................................................................................................... 20

1.2.3 Economic factor.............................................................................................................................. 21

1.2.4 Judicial factor ................................................................................................................................. 22

1.2.5 Political factor................................................................................................................................. 22
1.3 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 23
Review questions ......................................................................................................................................................... 23
Module 4 – The structure of a local authority
1. Services rendered by and powers of, municipal authorities............................................................................ 26
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 26
1.2 Structure of a local authority...................................................................................................................... 26
1.3 Characteristics of services.......................................................................................................................... 27
1.4 Classification of services............................................................................................................................. 27

1.4.1 Ambulance services........................................................................................................................ 28

1.4.2 Cemeteries and crematoria........................................................................................................... 28

iii

1.4.3 Electricity......................................................................................................................................... 29

1.4.4 Environmental pollution............................................................................................................... 29

1.4.5 Health services................................................................................................................................ 30
1.4.6 Housing............................................................................................................................................ 31

1.4.7 Library services............................................................................................................................... 32
1.4.8 Licences............................................................................................................................................ 32

1.4.9 Parks and sports grounds.............................................................................................................. 33

1.4.10 Rubbish and night-soil removal................................................................................................... 33

1.4.11 Town and city planning ................................................................................................................ 34

1.4.12 Water provision.............................................................................................................................. 34
1.5 Powers of municipal authorities................................................................................................................ 35
1.6 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 35
Module 5 – Levels of government
1. Relations between municipal authorities and between municipalities and other
levels of the hierarchy........................................................................................................................................... 38
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 38
1.2 Levels of government.................................................................................................................................. 38
1.3 Relations between local authorities and central government institutions........................................... 39

1.3.1 The role of Parliament ................................................................................................................... 40

1.3.2 Role of the State President............................................................................................................. 40

1.3.3 Role of Cabinet............................................................................................................................... 40
1.4 The relationship between local authorities and provincial government institutions......................... 41
1.5. Relations and co-operation with other local authorities........................................................................ 41
1.6 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 42
Review questions.......................................................................................................................................................... 42
Module 6 – Who has the right to vote or qualifies as a voter
1. Municipal elections............................................................................................................................................... 44
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 44
1.2 Right to vote (voter qualifications)............................................................................................................ 44

1.2.1 Reasons for disqualification of voter............................................................................................ 44
1.3 Voters’ roll..................................................................................................................................................... 45

1.3.1. Procedure for preparing a voters’ roll.......................................................................................... 45
1.4 Electoral wards............................................................................................................................................. 45
1.5 Elections........................................................................................................................................................ 46

1.5.1 Activities prior to election day...................................................................................................... 46

1.5.2 Election day..................................................................................................................................... 48
1.6 Party politics................................................................................................................................................. 51

1.6.1 Advantages of political party involvement in municipal elections.......................................... 51

1.6.2 Disadvantages of political party involvement in municipal elections..................................... 51
1.7 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 52
Review questions.......................................................................................................................................................... 52
Module 7 – Councillors
1. Municipal councillors........................................................................................................................................... 54
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 54
1.2 Qualifications needed to be elected as councillor................................................................................... 54
1.3 Reasons for being disqualified from election as a councillor................................................................ 54
1.4 Conditions under which councillors serve / Code of conduct.............................................................. 54

1.4.1 General conduct of councillors.................................................................................................... 55

1.4.2 Attendance at meetings.................................................................................................................. 55

iv

1.4.3 Sanctions for non-attendance of meetings.................................................................................. 55

1.4.4 Withdrawal from meetings........................................................................................................... 55

1.4.5 Vested interest in council contracts............................................................................................. 55

1.4.6 Personal gain................................................................................................................................... 56

1.4.7 Declaration of interest.................................................................................................................... 56

1.4.8 Councillors acting as agents.......................................................................................................... 56

1.4.9 Bribery and corruption.................................................................................................................. 56

1.4.10 Exemption from personal liability............................................................................................... 56

1.4.11 Appointment as an official of a council....................................................................................... 57

1.4.12 Rewards, gifts and favours............................................................................................................. 57

1.4.13 Unauthorised disclosure of information..................................................................................... 57

1.4.14 Intervention in administration..................................................................................................... 57

1.4.15 Council property............................................................................................................................ 57
1.5 Status of councillors.................................................................................................................................... 57
1.6 Functions of councillors............................................................................................................................. 58
1.6.1 Representation................................................................................................................................ 58

1.6.2 Participation in committees.......................................................................................................... 58

1.6.3 Deliberation in council meetings................................................................................................. 58

1.6.4 Public liaison................................................................................................................................... 59
1.7 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 59
Review questions.......................................................................................................................................................... 59
Module 8 – Mayors
1. Office-bearers of municipal councils.................................................................................................................. 62
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 62
1.2 The mayor..................................................................................................................................................... 62

1.2.1 Election of mayor (executive or non-executive mayor)............................................................ 62

1.2.2 Functions and powers of executive mayors................................................................................ 63
1.3 Deputy mayors............................................................................................................................................. 64
1.4 Chairpersons of committees...................................................................................................................... 64
1.5 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 64
Review questions.......................................................................................................................................................... 65
Module 9 – Committee system
1. Committee systems of muncipal councils......................................................................................................... 68
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 68
1.2. The executive committee (previously known as the single or management committee).................. 68

1.2.1 Composition of the executive committee................................................................................... 68

1.2.2 Powers and functions of the executive committee..................................................................... 68
1.2.3 Advantages...................................................................................................................................... 69

1.2.4 Disadvantages................................................................................................................................. 69
1.3 Committees to assist executive committees or executive mayors (previously known as

multiple committees).................................................................................................................................. 69

1.3.1 Advantages of the multiple committee system (portfolio committees).................................. 71

1.3.2 Disadvantages of the multiple committee system ..................................................................... 71
1.4 Metropolitan sub-councils ....................................................................................................................... 71

1.4.1 Composition of metropolitan sub-councils................................................................................ 71

1.4.2 Functions and powers of sub-councils........................................................................................ 72
1.5 Ward committees......................................................................................................................................... 73
1.6 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 74

v

Module 10 – Meeting procedures of municipal councils
1. Meeting procedures of municipal councils........................................................................................................ 76
1.1 Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 76
1.2 Rules of meeting procedures / standing orders....................................................................................... 76
1.3 Reports.......................................................................................................................................................... 77
1.4 Notice of meeting........................................................................................................................................ 78
1.5 Agenda.......................................................................................................................................................... 78

1.5.1 Format of agenda............................................................................................................................ 78

1.5.2 Compilation of the agenda............................................................................................................ 79

1.5.3 Rules for submission of agenda items.......................................................................................... 80

1.5.4 Different agendas for the same meeting...................................................................................... 80

1.5.5 Statutory provisions....................................................................................................................... 80
1.6 Minutes......................................................................................................................................................... 80

1.6.1 Order of items................................................................................................................................. 81
1.6.2 Content............................................................................................................................................ 81

1.6.3 Types of minutes............................................................................................................................. 82
1.6.4 Compilation.................................................................................................................................... 82
1.6.5 Indexing........................................................................................................................................... 82

1.6.6 Statutory provisions ...................................................................................................................... 83
1.7 Chairman ..................................................................................................................................................... 83

1.7.1 Functions of the chairperson........................................................................................................ 83

1.7.2 Powers of chairman ....................................................................................................................... 84

1.7.3 Cycle of events during a meeting................................................................................................. 84
1.8 Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................... 85
Review questions.......................................................................................................................................................... 85
Bibliography................................................................................................................................................ 87

Symbol key
Self-activity
Group activity
Remember/Definition
Did you know?
Note
Discussion Point/
Pause for Thought
Example
Case study

vi

Module 1

The origin of municipal authorities
After completion of this module you should be able to:








Explain the development of urban areas in South Africa

Discuss slums, tribal villages and squatter camps as part of town/city

development
Demonstrate an understanding of the origins of towns and cities

Discuss the characteristics of the development of a town or city

Discuss the procedures and conditions for establishing a town

Discuss the control over buildings
Explain the emergence of local authorities
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of regional services councils

Module 1

1.

Origin of municipal authorities

1.1 Introduction
All of us live in a town, city or urban area. The development of municipal authorities in South
Africa has an interesting history, dating back to 1652.
This is not a history lesson on local government, but we need to have a basic understanding of how
municipal authorities arrived at the state on which they were, by 1993.

1.2

Development of urban areas

1.2.1 Up to the end of the 18th century
• When Jan Van Riebeeck set foot at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, no communities were yet
established.
• Cape Town was the first urban area to be developed in Southern Africa.
• The Dutch settlers governed the colony from 1652 till 1795, and for a short period from 1803 till
1806, on a centralised basis.
• A system consisting of landdrosten and heemraden was established, where decisions were made
with majority vote.
• The landdrost was a government official with local functions.
• The heemraden were white citizens appointed by governor. In later years the heemraden were
elected.
• This system was taken by the Voortrekkers to the Boer Republics and was used till replaced by
British systems.

1.2.2 The 19th century
• From 1795 till 1803, and again from 1806 till 1910, the British ruled the colonies and influenced
the development of local government.
• The Voortrekkers moved to the east and north of the colony and in the process urban areas were
created.
• Port Elizabeth was created as a military station in 1799, and after the arrival of the British Settlers
in 1920, developed quickly.
• Durban was created in 1828, after King Chaka of the Zulus ceded the area where Durban is
located, to Nathaniel Isaacs.
• In 1839 Pietermaritzburg became the capital of Natal.
• Bloemfontein was developed and became the capital of the Orange Free State in 1846.
• Kimberley developed after the discovery of diamonds in 1867.
• Johannesburg was established after the discovery of gold in 1886.
• In 1855 Pretoria became the capital of Transvaal.
Ordinances that set out the principles of local tax and the election of councillors, were passed in the
two British Colonies of the Cape and Natal. In 1854 a new ordinance which was based on the local
government laws in England, was passed in the Natal colony.

2

The origin of municipal authorities

For the first time in South Africa the following concepts were established:
• Towns were constituted as legal corporate bodies.
• Representatives were elected by voters registered on a voters’ roll.
• The town council decided on local tax (rates) levied on valued properties.
• Auditors had to audit transactions of all municipal activities.
• The Town Clerk and other senior officials were appointed and not elected at a public meeting.
• The committee system of making decisions was introduced.

1.3

The stages of development of urban areas
Urban areas went through different stages, from a few people living together, to thousands living in
a small area. The stages can be identified as follows:
• Hamlet: A small settlement in a rural area with
only a few houses
• Village: A group of houses and associated
buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a
town, situated in a rural area.
Hamlet
• Town: An urban area that has a name, defined
boundaries and a municipality - it is larger than a village and smaller than a city
• City: A large urban area with a large population and businesses
For many years people lived in small villages or on farms and had to satisfy their own needs.
The basic needs that had to be satisfied were:
• Water: People had to fetch and carry their own water from streams or rivers.
• Lighting: Fires, candles and paraffin lamps were used for lighting.
• Heat energy: Firewood was collected for fires or coal was bought for stoves and paraffin for
lamps and primus stoves.
• Food and meat: Animals were slaughtered for meat, and maize, grains, fruit and vegetables were
grown for own use.
People on farms provided for themselves and, with the assistance of neighbours and family, could
produce their own food. As the number of people increased on the farms, there was not enough
work for everybody and some people moved to urban areas to find work. This movement to urban
areas to find work (urbanisation) is the reason for the development of towns and cities.
White people could afford to buy or rent houses in towns and cities. Coloured and Black people
who could not afford to buy or rent houses, erected dwellings which they could afford. These areas
were called “locations” and later townships.
A township is usually a town or part of a town. Historically, ‘township’ in South Africa referred
to an urban residential area created for black migrant labour, beyond the town or city limits.
Reference is sometimes made to ‘black township’, ‘coloured township’ and ‘Indian township’,
meaning that these settlements were created for these population groups. By contrast, the white
population resided in suburbs. Informal synonyms for township are ‘location’, ‘lokasie’, ’ilogishi’.
Generally, every town/city has one or several townships associated with it. (www.statssa.gov.za)

3

Module 1

1.3.1 Division of urban areas into sections or parts
Most urban areas developed in the same manner with certain sections and parts which can be
identified as follows:
• Suburbs: areas reserved for division into building stands (plots) for houses and churches
• Streets and sidewalks for vehicles and pedestrians
• Parks, sports grounds and cemeteries
• Business areas: areas zoned for businesses, usually with a central business district (CBD)
• Industrial sites: areas divided in to industrial sites for factories
• Public buildings: areas for schools, libraries, museums, prisons, magistrate offices and railway
stations
Activity 1
Identify all the different sections/parts of the urban area that you passed through from the time
you left home till the you got to college, as well as those you went on to visit during the day.
This orderly division of urban areas is called land-use zoning and is important in areas where a large
number of people live and work together.




A town plan is prepared for the area indicating the purpose and use of each piece of land, e.g.
Suburb, business area, etc.
The areas reserved for suburbs must be divided into small stands (plots) which people can buy
to build houses on.
Due to a larger demand for plots, the price will increase.
In any urban area there are certain areas with larger plots for richer people.
Smaller and more affordable plots will also be made available.

1.3.2 Squatter camps
Squatter camps can be defined as unplanned settlements, consisting mainly of informal
dwellings (shacks), on land which has not been surveyed or proclaimed as residential.

With the movement of people from the farms and rural areas to the urban areas, problems are
experienced with sufficient and suitable housing. Normally people will buy a plot and build a house,
or buy or rent a house or flat.
A lot of people do not have the means to buy or build houses and have to find a shelter or place to
stay. Urban areas also do not have enough housing available for the influx of people to these areas.
In South Africa, people have started building shelters on any open piece of land, which usually
belongs to the local authority or a private individual. Any type of material like cardboard, timber,
tins or plastic is used to build shelters. This type of informal erection of dwellings, is called a
squatter camp.

4

The origin of municipal authorities

Characteristics of squatter camps
• The area is not divided into building stands or
plots.
• No streets are found.
• No provision is made for essential services
such as water, electricity and rubbish and night
soil removal.
• The dwellings erected are not safe. If a fire
breaks out in one of the dwellings, it spreads
quickly to the neighbouring dwellings.
• People invade land and do not pay for it.
• Living conditions in these areas are very
unhealthy because a lot of people live in a
small area.
• The houses are built very close to one another. This results in the area being very densely
populated and having a high crime rate.
Squatter camps are not the ideal solution, but they provide housing for a large number of people
who cannot afford anything else. If municipalities try to relocate people they get a lot of resistance
because the squatters prefer living in these conditions.
Solutions for squatter camps
• Upgrade squatter camps into proper urban areas.
• Divide open land into building stands.
• Improve construction of dwellings.
• Provide streets and essential services.
• The state can make fully serviced stands available to people.
• Proper building materials can be made available.

1.3.3 Slums
• Slums develop when people neglect their houses or other buildings and allow them to deteriorate
to such an extent that they become dangerous to live in.
• Poverty is the main reason for the appearance of slums.
• The municipalities should have strict rules and measures in place to prevent people from
endangering other people’s lives by erecting unsafe buildings or neglecting properties.
• If municipalities discover a slum, the owner of the property must be ordered to repair, clean or
upgrade the property.
• If the owner refuses to carry out such orders, the property must be demolished to ensure the
safety of people.

1.3.4 Tribal villages
Tribal villages can be defined as settlements in a tribal area. A village has boundaries, which
include populated and also agricultural areas, e.g. grazing and crop land or forests. Villages are
under the jurisdiction of tribal authorities, headed by chiefs, while sub-chiefs are direct principals
of villages.
• Tribal villages are usually found amongst black population groups.
• Rules and processes of urban areas are not followed in tribal villages.
• Tribal villages are governed by informal rules which are enforced upon the inhabitants by the
tribal chiefs.
5

Module 1

• The land belongs to the tribe.
• The area is not divided into building stands and
streets.
There are certain advantages, but also certain
disadvantages for tribal villages.
Advantages of tribal villages:
• People construct their own houses, which gives
them self respect and independence.
• People fulfil their own needs according to their
abilities and expectations.
Disadvantages of tribal villages:
• No essential services like water, electricity and refuse removal are provided, which can cause
unhealthy conditions.
• Large pieces of land are used unproductively because tribal villages are not densely populated
and agricultural land is wasted.
If a tribal village becomes densely populated, it can cause a lot of health and safety problems. If this
happens, it should be declared an urban area and dealt with according to the rules and regulations
that apply in urban areas.

1.4

Origin of towns and cities
Why did people settle in a specific place? People
deliberately chose a place for various reasons
such as the availability of water; the presence of
minerals, diamonds or gold, and the safety of
the community. Communities were established,
which became permanent settlements. These
settlements were well organised and able to
support and maintain community structures. The settlerment went through the stages from hamlet,
village, town and eventually cities were established. These early settlements were a form of local
government. There were rules, order and activities. Where people concentrate in a specific place, a
spontaneous form of government develops.
The main purpose of towns and cities is to serve as a place to live and work. People build houses,
protect themselves, go to work and take part in community life.
All towns or cities develop for their own reasons, but there are four characteristics which will
identify any town or city.

1.4.1 Characteristics of the development of towns and cities
Ecological environment
• A town or city will develop in a specific ecological environment.
• It will either be close to a river, the sea, trading routes, mines or mountains for protection.
• When people start developing an area, they will reconstruct the environment to satisfy their
needs.
• They will cut down trees, fill hollows, make excavations or build up against mountains to satisfy
their needs.

6

The origin of municipal authorities

Physical structure
• Physical structures are man-made buildings like churches, trading stores, schools, etc.
• These physical structures play an important role in in the economic development of a town or
city.
• Some experts say that in South Africa the first buildings in towns were churches.
• Then trading stores and businesses developed around the churches.
• Most of the towns in South Africa have a church in the middle of the town, for example,
Beaufort West.
Human beings have to exist
• People have needs that must be satisfied, and when a lot of people live in the same area, different
needs exist.
• To satisfy these needs and maintain order in the community, a type of government had to be
formed.
• That was the starting point for local government.
• Municipalities were established to maintain order in the community and they even provided
work for inhabitants.
Communication channels
• Communication channels are the network that link people, other towns and cities, the station
and harbour.
• Roads and streets, telephone and internet cables, electricity cables and pipelines are needed to
connect services and people.
• The planning departments of municipalities include communication channels in the plans for
development of the city or town.
Smart buildings

Transportation system

Personal communications

Communication
networks

Healthcare services

Wireless comminication

Smart grid
Process industry

Types of communication channels which must be included in the development plans of cities/towns

7

Module 1

1.5

Procedures and conditions for development in a town/city
If an owner of a piece of land wants to develop that piece of land, there are various procedures that
must be followed, as there are conditions imposed on the development by the municipality and
requirements that must be fulfilled for the development to go ahead.
The owner of the land can be an individual person, a company, provincial or central government or
the local authority itself. If the sub-division of one or more stands (plots) is required, the process is
not so complicated.
Below is a summary of the procedure that must be followed before new development or the
establishment of a new town can take place. This will be discussed in detail in this section.

Owner obtains
approval, divides land
and sells stands which
are registered with
the Registrar of Deeds
before application
can be made for
development to begin.
Procedure (Ord 85 of 85)
- apply & submit 26 copies
- application considered by
council & Administrator
who can approve or reject

Control & requirements
- suburb image not affected
- buildings hygienic & safe
- with proper ventilation
- meet foundation & height
of wall requirements.
Conditions to be met
- supply of water and electricity
- entry to streets
-business away from residential
areas

When development of a large area is undertaken, provision must be made for:
• streets and sidewalks
• water and electricity reticulation
• public buildings
• parks
• refuse dump sites
• residential and business areas.
The procedure for the development of land takes time, and the following administrative
processes have to take place:
• The development must be approved by the provincial government.
• Ownership must be transferred from one owner to another.
• The stands have to be accurately measured and divided.
• The deed of sale must be registered by the Registrar of Deeds of the province.
• The Registrar of Deeds must record the sale in the property register.

8

The origin of municipal authorities

1.5.1 The procedure for the establishment/development of a town or city
The development and use of land and buildings are generally controlled in terms of various laws and
regulations, for example, the Land Use Planning Ordinance (Ordinance 15 of 1985) and National
Building Regulations.
The procedure is as follows:
• The applicant must apply in writing to the Director of Community Development of the specific
local authority.
• The necessary completed forms, plans, documents and fees must be handed in with the
application.
• 26 copies of the application must be submitted for the various government institutions, such as
SARS and Post Office, that need to be notified.
• If the land falls outside the borders of an existing municipality, a new town may be established
with a new name.
• The Director of Community Development will inform the Surveyor General of the province of
the application.
• The application will then be submitted to the committee of the town council dealing with land
development.
• The intention of development is published in the Provincial Gazette and one or more local
newspapers.
• Any person who wants to object to the proposed development can inspect the relevant
documents at the municipal council office.
• An objection can be submitted to the council committee dealing with development within a
certain time limit.
• Representation for the development can also be submitted to the committee.
• If the proposed development lies within an existing municipality or within five kilometres of its
boundary, the municipal council should give their comment.
• If the time limit for representation or objections has expired, the chairman of the council
committee will set dates for inspection as well as the time and venue for the hearing of objections
and representations.
• When the inspections and hearings are concluded, the council committee makes a
recommendation to the Administrator of the province.
• The Administrator of the province may approve or reject the applications or postpone the
decision.

1.5.2 Conditions imposed on applications for new development








Provision must be made for the supply of water and electricity.
Provision must be made for entry to streets and stands.
Land must be set aside for public purposes, e.g. parks, schools, etc.
Fees as prescribed must be paid.
Business stands must border the main street with sufficient parking space.
Stands for industries should be situated away from residential stands.
Stands for flats and hotels should be larger than residential stands.
Layout of development must make provision for easy flow of traffic.
The proposed development should meet all requirements of Ordinances and Acts of Parliament.

1.5.3 Control over buildings and requirements for buildings
After the application process ha been completed and the development approved by the
Administrator of the province, the owners of the land may proceed with the erection of buildings.

9

Module 1

Authorities laid down standards for the erection of buildings in urban areas.
- Detailed plans of the building must be submitted to the local authority.
- Local authority will have to approve plans or request amendments.
If plans are approved, the construction of the building can begin, but the local authority has certain
common requirements that must be met.
Common requirements for the construction of buildings
• The image and appearance of the suburb should not be affected by
the building.
• The rights and interests of neighbours should not be infringed by
the building.
• Building should be hygienic and safe.
• Building should not create fire or health hazards.
• Sufficient ventilation should be allowed for all rooms.
• Specifications regarding foundation and height of walls should be
met.
• Flow of traffic should not be obstructed.

1.6

The emergence of local authorities
• Urban development started in Cape Town in 1652.
• People started moving inland and by 1682 there was so many people settled in the vicinity of
Stellenbosch that the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope appointed four leading farmers as
heemraden to solve disputes.
• A landrost (magistrate) was appointed in 1685 for Stellenbosch and, together with the
heemraden, he served on a council to manage the local affairs of Stellenbosch and surrounding
farms.
• The matters dealt with were the maintenance and construction of furrows to convey water, water
division, proper standards in construction of buildings and the removal of rubbish.
• As people moved further inland, more villages and councils (landrost and heemraden) were
established.
• Swellendam was established in 1745 and Graaf Reinet in 1786.
• The councils governed these villages in the Cape Colony until they were abolished by the British
on 31 December 1827.

1.6.1 Local authorities during the transfer of authority from the Dutch to

the British
• From 1785 the municipal affairs of Cape Town were administered by the College van
Commisarisse uit den Raad van Justitia that consisted of three Dutch and three private persons.
• The British took over the Cape Colony in 1795 and a Burgersenaat that consisted of six private
persons appointed by the British replaced the College.
• In 1802 the Burgersenaat was replaced by the Raad der Gemeente when the Dutch took back the
Cape Colony. This lasted for only three years.
• In 1806 it changed back to a Burgersenaat when the British took over again.
• The Burgersenaat was abolished on 27 December 1827 as well as the Council of Landrost and
Heemraden in the rural towns.
• From 1 January 1828 the Cape Colony had no local authorities.
• Local authority matters were handled by the resident magistrates.
• Municipal Ordinance 9 of 1836 was approved, which made provision for the election of a small
number of commissioners to serve on the council.
• Only persons who paid rates were eligible to be elected as commissioners.
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The origin of municipal authorities

• Ordinance 9 of 1936 served as basis for legislation for local authorities in Natal (1847), Orange
Free State (1856) and the Transvaal (1883).

1.7

Regional services councils
Although regional services councils have been abolished, they will be discussed briefly.
With the increasing problems associated with urbanisation, cities had developed in an uncontrolled
manner. Towns and cities close to each other had to co-operate with each other to provide the
necessary services.
The Regional Services Council Act, 1985 (Act 109 of 1985) established regional services councils to
assist with the performance of functions. The regional services councils were not forced on a local
authority who could decide whether they want a regional services council or not. They could make
a request to the Minister of Constitutional Development and submit planning to institute such a
council in that area.
A regional service council consisted of a chairman appointed by the relevant provincial
Administrator and as many members as determined by the Administrator.
The members represented all local authorities in that region. The number of representatives
allocated to each local authority was determined by the contribution of funds to the regional
services council. A maximum of five members was allowed.

1.7.1 Financing of regional service councils
Finance was obtained by:
• Levies on local authorities buying services
• Donations, loans and state appropriations
• Fines for contravening legislation of regional services councils
• Interest on dividends
• A regional service levy on the salary of each employee and employer
• An establishment levy on the turnover of businesses
Regional services councils were abolished and levies on payrolls were stopped.

1.8 Conclusion
The development of urban areas and the establishment of local authorities in South Africa started
in 1652. People started moving inland and settled in areas where they could survive. As more
people started living together, more services and order were needed, which resulted in a form of
local government. Local authorities were established through election by the inhabitants in order to
render such services.
As towns grew and cities were established, the development of vacant land had to be administered,
and so procedures and conditions were laid down for developments which needed to be controlled
by the local authority.
Although different types of councils were established after 1652, it is clear that whether it was
a village, town or city, a local government, with an elected council, was needed to manage that
municipality.

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Module 1

Review questions
1. Give a short explanation of the development of local authorities in South Africa in the 18th
and 19th centuries.
2. Urban areas went through different stages, from a few people living together, to thousands
living in a small area. Name and describe the stages of urban development in South Africa.
3. For many years the urban areas were small villages and most people in South Africa lived
on farms where they had to satisfy their own needs. Name and describe how needs and
services were satisfied before the inception of municipalities.
4. With the influx of people from the rural to the urban areas, problems are experienced in
finding suitable housing. Many settle for squatter camps.
4.1 List SIX characteristics of squatter camps.
4.2 List FOUR possible solutions for squatter camps.
5. Tribal villages can be defined as a settlement in a tribal area under the jurisdiction of tribal
authorities, headed by chiefs. Give TWO advantages and TWO disadvantages of tribal
villages.
6. The origin of towns and cities can be traced back to the development of close communities.
All towns or cities developed for its own reasons but there are four characteristics which
will identify a town or city. Discuss the characteristics of the development of a town or city.
7. The establishment of a town of new development is prescribed in Ordinance 15 of 1985.
Explain the procedure for establishing a town or for a new development in an existing
municipality.
8. The initiative of township development is vested in the owner of the land which can be
divided into building stands or plots. The owner must take into consideration the
conditions imposed on applicants. State the conditions imposed on applicants when
establishing a town or new development.
9. Anyone with the intention of constructing a fixed structure or building on a plot, or adding
to an existing building, has to submit detailed plans to the municipality which will in turn
approve or amend the plans. There are certain common requirements to be followed.
List SIX common requirements when building a house.
10. Name SIX sources of finance for regional services councils.

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