Whereas the system of local government under apartheid failed dismally to meet the basic needs of the majority of South Africans;

Whereas the Constitution of our non-racial democracy enjoins local government not just to seek to provide services to all our people but to be fundamentally developmental in orientation;

Whereas there is a need to set out the core principles, mechanisms and processes that give meaning to developmental local government and to empower municipalities to move progressively towards the social and economic upliftment of communities and the provision of basic services to all our people, and specifically the poor and the disadvantaged;

Whereas a fundamental aspect of the new local government system is the active engagement of communities in the affairs of municipalities of which they are an integral part, and in particular in planning, service delivery and performance management;

Whereas the new system of local government requires an efficient, effective and transparent local public administration that conforms to constitutional principles; 

Whereas there is a need to ensure financially and economically viable municipalities;

Whereas there is a need to create a more harmonious relationship between municipal councils, municipal administrations and the local communities through the acknowledgement of reciprocal rights and duties;

Whereas there is a need to develop a strong system of local government capable of exercising the functions and powers assigned to it; and

Whereas this Act is an integral part of a suite of legislation that gives effect to the new system of local government;