Chapter 4: Community participation

16. Development of culture of community participation

  1. A municipality must develop a culture of municipal governance that complements formal representative government with a system of participatory governance, and must for this purpose-
    1. encourage, and create conditions for, the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality, including in-
      1. the preparation. implementation and review of its integrated development plan in terms of Chapter 5;
      2. the establishment, implementation and review of its performance management system in terms of Chapter 6;
      3. the monitoring and review of its performance, including the outcomes and impact of such performance;
      4. the preparation of its budget; and
      5. strategic decisions relating to the provision of municipal services in terms of Chapter 8;
    2. contribute to building the capacity of-
      1. the local community to enable it to participate in the affairs of the municipality; and
      2. councillors and staff to foster community participation; and
    3. use its resources, and annually allocate funds in its budget, as may be appropriate for the purpose of implementing paragraphs (a) and (b).
  2. Subsection (1) must not be interpreted as permitting interference with a municipal council’s right to govern and to exercise the executive and legislative authority of the municipality.

17. Mechanisms, processes and procedures for community participation

  1. Participation by the local community in the affairs of the municipality must take place through-
    1. political structures for participation in terms of the Municipal Structures Act;
    2. the mechanisms, processes and procedures for participation in municipal governance established in terms of this Act;
    3. other appropriate mechanisms, processes and procedures established by the municipality;
    4. councillors; and
    5. generally applying the provisions for participation as provided for in this Act.
  2. A municipality must establish appropriate mechanisms, processes and procedures to enable the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality, and must for this purpose provide for-
    1. the receipt, processing and consideration of petitions and complaints lodged by members of the local community;
    2. notification and public comment procedures, when appropriate;
    3. public meetings and hearings by the municipal council and other political structures and political office bearers of the municipality, when appropriate;
    4. consultative sessions with locally recognised community organisations and, where appropriate, traditional authorities; and
    5. report-back to the local community.
  3. When establishing mechanisms, processes and procedures in terms of subsection the municipality must take into account the special needs of-
    1. people who cannot reed or write;
    2. people with disabilities;
    3. women; and
    4. other disadvantaged groups.
  4. A municipal council may establish one or more advisory committees consisting of persons who are not councillors to advise the council on any matter within the council's competence. When appointing the members of such a committee, gender representivity on must be taken into account.

18. Communication of information concerning community participation

  1. A municipality must communicate to its community information concerning-
    1. the available mechanisms, processes and procedures to encourage and facilitate community participation;
    2. the matters with regard to which community participation is encouraged;
    3. the rights and duties of members of the local community; and
    4. municipal governance, management and development.
  2. When communicating the information mentioned in subsection (1), a municipality must take into account-
    1. language preferences and usage in the municipality; and
    2. the special needs of people who cannot read or write.

19. Public notice of meetings of municipal councils

The municipal manager of a municipality must give notice to the public, in a manner determined by the municipal council, of the time, date and venue of every-

  1. ordinary meeting of the council; and
  2. special or urgent meeting of the council, except when time constraints make this impossible.

20. Admission of public to meetings

  1. Meetings of a municipal council and those of its committees are open to the public, including the media, and the council or such committee may not exclude the public, including the media, from a meeting, except when-
    1. it is reasonable to do so having regard to the nature of the business being transacted; and
    2. a by-law or a resolution of the council specifying the circumstances in which the council or such committee may close a meeting and which complies with paragraph (a), authorises the council or such committee to close the meeting to the public.
  2. A municipal council, or a committee of the council, may not exclude the public including the media, when considering or voting on any of the following matters:
    1. A draft by-law tabled in the council;
    2. a budget tabled in the council;
    3. the municipality's draft integrated development plan, or any amendment of the plan, tabled in the council;
    4. the municipality's draft performance management system, or any amendment of the system, tabled in the council;
    5. the decision to enter into a service delivery agreement referred to in section 76(b); or
    6. any other matter prescribed by regulation.
  3. An executive committee mentioned in section 42 of the Municipal Structures Act and a mayoral committee mentioned in section 60 of that Act may, subject to subsection (1)(a), close any or all of its meetings to the public, including the media.
  4. A municipal council-
    1. within the financial and administrative capacity of the municipality, must provide space for the public in the chambers and places where the council and its committees meet: and
    2. may take reasonable steps to regulate public access to, and public conduct at meetings of the council and its committees.

21. Communications to local community

  1. When anything must be notified by a municipality through the media to the local community in terms of this Act or any other applicable legislation, it must be done-
    1. in the local newspaper or newspapers of its area;
    2. in a newspaper or newspapers circulating in its area and determined by the council as a newspaper of record; or
    3. by means of radio broadcasts covering the area of the municipality.
  2. Any such notification must be in the official languages determined by the council, having regard to language preferences and usage within its area.
  3. A copy of every notice that must be published in the Provincial Gazette or the media in terns of this Act or any other applicable legislation, must be displayed at the municipal offices.
  4. When the municipality invites the local community to submit written comments or representations on any matter before the council, it must be stated in the invitation that any person who cannot write may come during office hours to a place where a staff member of the municipality named in the invitation, will assist that person to transcribe that person's comments or representations.
    1. When a municipality requires a form to be completed by a member of the local community, a staff member of the municipality must give reasonable assistance to persons who cannot read or write, to enable such persons to understand and complete the form;
    2. If the form relates to the payment of money to the municipality or to the provision of any service, the assistance must include an explanation of its terms and conditions.

22. Regulations and guidelines

  1. The Minister may in terms of section 120 make regulations or issue guidelines concerning-
    1. minimum standards for municipalities, including minimum standards relating to funding, when implementing the provisions of this Chapter; and
    2. any matter that may facilitate-
      1. the participation of the local community in the affairs of the municipality; or
      2. the application of this Chapter.
  2. When making regulations or issuing guidelines in terms of section 120 to provide for or to regulate the matters mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, the Minister must-
    1. take into account the capacity of municipalities to comply with those matters; and
    2. differentiate between different kinds of municipalities according to their respective capacities.
  3. The Minister, by notice in the Gazette, may phase in the application of the provisions of this Chapter which place a financial or administrative burden on municipalities.
  4. A notice in terms of subsection (3) may-
    1. determine different dates on which different provisions of this Chapter become applicable to municipalities;
    2. apply to all municipalities generally;
    3. differentiate between different kinds of municipalities which may. for the purpose of the phasing in of the relevant provisions, be defined in the notice in relation to categories or types of municipalities or in any other way; or
    4. apply to a specific kind of municipality only, as defined in the notice.