Structures of Government in South Africa Essay

Assignment question: 2 Describe and explain the role of the Municipal Manager in local government with particular emphasis on his/her leadership role. You are also expected to critically analyse the relationship between the Mayor and Mayoral Committee, Municipal Manager and Speaker. Name: Suhil Singh Stu No. :212519449 Course:Introduction to Local Government Table of Contents: * Introduction * The Municipal Manager * The Speaker * The Mayor * The Mayoral Council * Conclusion * References Introduction The constitution of 1996 establishes local government as a distinguishing sphere of government.

This sphere consists of municipalities that have been established for the whole territory of the Republic of South Africa. Condition is made for the establishment of municipalities in agreement with the requirements relating to categories and types defined by specific criteria. Powers and functions are appropriately divided among the categories of municipalities. The Local Government Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998 regulates the internal system, structures and office bearers of municipalities. These structures and functionaries play an important role in the promotion of democratic and developmental local government.

Political Office Bearers: The Municipal Manager The municipal council must appoint a municipal manager who is the head of the administration and also the accounting officer of the municipality. The municipal manager, as head of the municipal administration, is responsible and accountable for the formation and development of an effective, co-efficient and accountable administration in accordance with all applicable legislation. The municipal manager is responsible to the executive mayor for the management of the administration and the performance of the functions and responsibilities assigned to him/her by the council and executive mayor.

He/she is further responsible and accountable for the implementation of the IDP, as well as the management of the provision of services to the local community in a sustainable and equitable manner. The municipal manager is not only responsible for the management of the staff of the council administration, but also plays a pivotal role in the appointment and development of personnel in terms of delegated powers and subject to compliance with the Employment Equity Act and the Skills Development Act.

The municipal manager must advise the political structures and the political officer bearers. He/she is responsible for the maintenance of discipline among staff and the promotion of sound labour relations. The municipal manager is responsible for the administration and implementation of the municipality’s by-laws, policies and other applicable legislation, and must perform all duties and exercise all powers delegated to him/her by the councillor or sub-delegated by another delegating authority.

The municipal manager is also responsible for the management of communication among the council’s administration, its political structures and office bearers, and must also facilitate participation of the local community in the affairs of the municipality by publicising public participation mechanisms. Financial Responsibilities The municipal manager is the accounting officer and he/she is accountable to the council for the overall administration of the municipality, and to the mayor or executive mayor for the implementation of the specific agreed outputs as outlined in Section 82 of the Municipals Systems Act.

The municipal manager is responsible for the financial management of the municipality, ultimately ensuring that all financial systems are in place and properly maintained. In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the municipal manager has specific responsibilities in this regard, including certifying the correctness of reports. The municipal manager is responsible for helping the mayor to prepare the draft budget for submission to the council, as well as an adjustment budget. The municipal manager must assist in conducting community participation meetings.

He/she must also ensure that budget related policies are being drafted and implemented. The municipal manager further ensures that the approved budget is made public and that it is implemented by the various departments of council. A service delivery and budget implementation plan must be developed and updated monthly to determine and adjust and variances. The municipal manager must also ensure that revenue collection and expenditure are in line with the budget, and administrators and all council bank accounts.

The annual performance management agreements of all managers appointed according to Section 57 of the Municipals Systems Act must be submitted to council and provide an assessment of municipal performance for including the annual report. The municipal manager has pertinent reporting and publishing duties. All unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure must be reported. The municipal manager must report on budget progress and staff expenditure monthly and mid-year. Information with regard to debt proposals or proposals to establish a municipal entity must be supplied to the council and the public.

The annual financial statements must be prepared for auditing, verifying salaries and benefits paid, while the annual report and the council’s oversight report must be publicised. The municipal manager may delegate any of the powers and duties delegated or entrusted to him/her in terms of the Municipal Financial Management Act. To any of his/ her managers or senior officials, but may only delegate responsibilities and duties provided in Sections 7, 8 and 11 of the Act to the chief financial officer.

The municipal manager must take effective appropriate steps to ensure that funds are spent in accordance with the approved budget, and that those revenues and expenditures are properly monitored. When the recovery of revenue is lower than estimated, expenditure must be reduced accordingly. A monthly report must be submitted to the council that accounts for actual revenue and expenditure and that explains material variances and gives a summary of steps taken to ensure that the expenditure and revenue remain within the budget.

The municipal manager must submit a report monthly to the council in respect of intergovernmental grants received and spent by municipality. Information in respect of debt proposals must be supplied to the council and the public. Annual financial statements for auditing, verifying salaries and benefits paid, must be prepared, while the municipal manager must make the council’s annual report and oversight report public. Section 77 of the Municipal Finance Management Act requires the municipal manager to share responsibilities with other senior managers.

The latter are managers responsible for specific functions or departments, and who report directly to the municipal manager in terms of Section 57 of the Municipals Systems Act. Communication between council and administration The municipal manager must manage the communication between the political structures and office-bearers and the administration. Instructions, queries and other communications from council, committees, the mayor or the speaker to the administration cannot bypass the municipal manager’ office because the municipal manager is accountable for the entire municipal administration.

In the event of communications going directly to officials or departments, the municipality would have to establish clear communication between those and the municipal manager to the level of detail required for the municipal manager to answer to his or her accountability towards the council. A delegation that has the effect of enabling the executive mayor or committee to instructions directly to officials, other than the municipal manager, would effectively disable the accountability of the municipal manager towards the council and therefore run contrary to the scheme envisaged by the legislation.

Communication between political structures of the Structures Act stipulate that reports of portfolio committees must go to the executive committee/mayor respectively. If they can deal with the matter in terms of their delegated powers, they will do so or otherwise forward the report with recommendations, to the council. The municipal manager must manage this communication. Advising the political structures The municipal manager must advise the political structures and office-bearers.

Particular issues where the municipal manager must render advice are: • financial matters (eg financial considerations to proposed policies); • issues related to the internal administration, such as human resources matters; • policy matters • legal and technical matters Speaker The speaker is a new political office bearer, introduced by Section 36 of the Municipals structures Act. Each municipal council must have a speaker, who is the chairperson of the council. The speaker is elected from among the councillors who make up the council.

No council may hold the position of speaker and mayor at the same time, but in a council with plenary and executive system or a council with plenary executive system combined with a ward participatory system, the speaker must be called the mayor. A municipal council is conferred with both legislative and executive powers, and in order to prevent the monopolisation of powers, a division of legislative and executive authority takes place between the speaker and executive mayor. The speaker presides at council meetings. He/she performs duties and exercises power delegated to him/her in terms of Section 32 of the Municipal Structures Act.

They ensures that the council meets at least quarterly and must set a date for a special meeting at the request of the majority of the councillors. They maintain order in council meetings and must ensure that meetings are conducted in terms of the rules of order, e. g. freedom of debate must be protected or limited when necessary. Speakers ensure compliance by councillors with the code of conduct generally and specifically in the council or council’s committees and ensures that an agenda is sent out timeously and that proper minutes are recorded of the proceedings.

The speaker is responsible for overseeing the legislative process of the municipal council and must ensure that draft by-laws are published for comments, that proper notice is given to the councillors and that a proper consultation process takes place with regard to draft by-laws. The speaker must ensure that policy is formulated with regard to the procedures for the endorsement of the code of conduct. The speaker must also ensure that councillors who cannot attend a meeting submit in writing an application for leave of absence, and that approval of this leave of absence is obtained at the meeting in question.

Policy must also me formulated for the treatment of confidential information, while the speaker, on a reasonable suspicion of a breach of a code of conduct, must authorise an investigation, allow the councillor to respond, thereafter compile a report to council and report to the MEC for local government in the province with regard to the outcome of the matter. Mayor Only municipalities of certain types may establish executive committees. A member of the executive committee is elected by the council as the mayor and another as the deputy mayor for the duration of the term of the executive committee.

The office is vacated on the mayor’s recognition or removal from the office or after he/she has ceased to be a councillor. No person may hold office of the mayor or deputy mayor for two consecutive terms. The mayor presides at meetings of the executive committee and performs the duties and exercises the powers delegated to him/her by council or executive committee, including ceremonial functions. The deputy mayor performs these duties and exercises these powers in the absence of the mayor, and performs any duties delegated to him/her by the mayor.

The mayor decides when and where the executive committee meets and they must also arrange for a special meeting at the request of the majority of members of the committee. The mayor as chairperson of the executive committee, must be distinguished from the executive mayor, and has no powers equal to that of the executive mayor. Mayoral Committee If a municipal council has more than nine members and has an executive mayor system, the executive mayor must appoint a mayoral committee from the councillors to assist him/ her. The members shall not be more than 20% of the councillors or ten in number, whichever is the least.

The executive mayor may delegate specific responsibilities and powers to members of the mayoral committee, and must exercise his/her designated powers and functions together with other members of the mayoral committee. Members of the mayoral committee, who are full time councillors, are assigned to a specific department and act as the political head of that department. They are responsible to the executive mayor for the effective and efficient administration of the department, and must therefore work in close collaboration with the head of the department.

The members of the mayoral committee participate in the IDP and budget processes of the respective departments. Members of the mayoral committee must support the executive mayor in the performance of his/her powers and functions, and will therefore communicate with the community to determine their needs. Communication of information with regards to service, planning of projects, the IDP and the budget, tariffs and taxes, and credit control should take place. Members of the mayoral committee are also members of council, and some, if not all, are ward councillors, in which capacity they have other roles, functions and duties to fulfil.

Conclusion It is evident from the above roles, functions and responsibilities of the municipal manager that he/she is a key role player in the functioning of a municipal council. He/she must be highly competent in the areas of strategic and financial management, and must be developmentally orientated. Strong leadership skills are also required to head a multifunctional institution such as developmental municipality. The institutions of a municipality are established in terms of the legal framework for the local government dispensation.

The constitution mandates local government to be developmental in nature, and municipalities must perform their legislative and executive powers to achieve their goals and objectives effectively and efficiently, and to serve the best interests of the community. Political office bearers like the speaker, the mayor and elected councillors must perform their governance function and play political oversight role over the administration, so as to ensure that political policy and resolutions of council are executed by the administration.

The municipal manager and other executive senior perform part of the executive team, and must ensure that the members of the administration execute resolutions, implement policies and perform their duties effectively and efficiently in order to ensure maximum service delivery to the community. References: 1. Bland, R. And Rubin, I. S. 1997. Budgeting: A Guide for local governments. USA : ICMA 2. Cloete , J. J. N &Thornhill, C. 2005. South African Municipal Government and Administration. Pretoria: Dotsquare 3. Levy, N &Tapscott, C. 2001. Intergovernmental relations in South Africa.

Cape Town. Idasa 4. Coetzee, M 2002: Local Pathway to Sustainable Development in South Africa. Pretoria: CSIR 5. Davids, I. 2005. ‘The private sector and development: towards social responsibility’. In Davids, I. Theron, F. & Maphunye, K. J. Participatory Development in South Africa: A Development Management Prospectiv, pp 84-89. Pretoria: Van Schaik. 6. Stoker, G 2002. New Localism, Participation and Network Community Governance. Manchester: University of Manchester. 7. www. info. gov. za/aboutgovt/locgovt/ 8. en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Local_government

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