Original Research

Towards strengthening collaboration between district and local municipalities in South Africa: Insights from Ehlanzeni District Municipality

Douglas N. Magagula, Ricky M. Mukonza, Rasodi K. Manyaka, Kabelo B. Moeti
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 15, No 1 | a673 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v15i1.673 | © 2019 Douglas N. Magagula, Ricky M. Mukonza, Rasodi K. Manyaka, Kabelo B. Moeti | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2019 | Published: 25 November 2019

About the author(s)

Douglas N. Magagula, Department of Public Management, Tshwane University of Technology, Mbombela, South Africa
Ricky M. Mukonza, Department of Public Management, Tshwane University of Technology, Polokwane, South Africa
Rasodi K. Manyaka, Department of Public Management, Tshwane University of Technology, Mbombela, South Africa
Kabelo B. Moeti, Department of Public Management, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

This article examines the state of collaboration between a district municipality and its local municipalities using Ehlanzeni District Municipality as a case study. This is important because in terms of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998, district municipalities are established to coordinate and support their local municipalities to enable them to deliver services to the communities that they serve. In spite of this, literature on local government shows that there is ambiguity regarding the roles of district and local municipalities within the sphere of local government. The study was essentially qualitative in design with the use of a semi-structured interview as a data collection instrument. The findings of the study reveal that local municipalities have an executive and legislative authority, which limits the district municipality towards holding them accountable for failure to execute their constitutional obligations. The study further affirms that there is ambiguity in legislation regarding the discharge in roles and responsibilities between a district and a local municipality. Thus, it is suggested that for the district municipalities to strengthen their roles of coordinating, intergovernmental forums between a district and local municipality should be used as a starting point. The article concludes that there is a need to review legislation regarding the extent to which a local municipality should account to a district municipality, as well as clarity regarding the discharge in roles and responsibilities between a district and a local municipality.

Keywords

collaboration; district municipality; local municipality; intergovernmental relations; local government.

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