Chapter 11: Legal matters

109. Legal proceedings

  1. A municipality is a local authority for purposes of the Limitation of Legal Proceedings (Provincial and Local Authorities) Act, 1970 (Act No. 94 of 1970).
  2. A municipality may compromise or compound any action, claim or proceedings, and may submit to arbitration any matter other than a matter involving a decision on its status, powers, duties or the validity of its actions or by-laws.

110. Certain certificates to be evidence

In legal proceedings against a municipality, a certificate which purports to be signed by a staff member of the municipality and which claims that the municipality used the best known, or the only, or the most practicable and available methods in exercising any of its powers or performing any of its functions, must on its mere production by any person be accepted by the court as evidence of that fact.

111. Copy of Provincial Gazette as evidence

A copy of the Provincial Gazette in which a by-law was published, may on its mere production in a court by any person, be used as evidence that that by-law was passed by a municipality concerned.

112. Prosecution of offences

A staff member of a municipality authorised in terms of section 22(8)(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998), to conduct prosecutions, may institute criminal proceedings and conduct the prosecution in respect of a contravention of or failure to comply with a provision of-

  1. a by-law or regulation of the municipality;
  2. other legislation administered by the municipality; or
  3. other legislation as the National Director of Public Prosecutions may determine in terms of section 22(8)(b) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998.

113. Fines and bail

Fines and estreated bails recovered in respect of offences or alleged offences referred to in item 2 of Schedule 4 to the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No 1 of 1999), must be paid into the revenue fund of the municipality.

114. Time of notices and payments

Normal or extended office hours is the only time-

  1. a payment may be made at a municipality, except when payment is made by electronic transfer or at agency pay-points; or
  2. any notice or other document may be served on the municipality, including on its council, or other structure or functionary or a staff member in an official capacity, except when the matter in connection with which a summons is served is an urgent matter.

115. Service of documents and process

  1. Any notice or other document that is seined on a person in terms of this Act, is regarded as having been served-
    1. when it has been delivered to that person personally;
    2. when it has been left at that person's place of residence or business in the Republic with a person apparently over the age of sixteen years;
    3. when it has been posted by registered or certified mail to that person's last known residential or business address in the Republic and an acknowledgement of the posting thereof from the postal service is obtained;
    4. if that person's address in the Republic is unknown, when it has been served on that person's agent or representative in the Republic in the manner provided by paragraphs (a), (b) or (c); or
    5. if that person's address and agent or representative in the Republic is unknown, when it has been posted in a conspicuous place on the property or premises, if any, to which it relates.
  2. When any notice or other document must be authorised or served on the owner, occupier or holder of any property or right in any property, it is sufficient if that person is described in the notice or other document as the owner, occupier or holder of the property or right in question, and it is not necessary to name that person.
  3. Any legal process is effectively and sufficiently served on a municipality when it is delivered to the municipal manager or a person in attendance at the municipal manager's office.

116. Public servitudes

Public servitudes in favour of a municipality are under the control of the municipality which must protect and enforce the rights of the local community arising from those servitudes.

117. Custody of documents

Except where otherwise provided, all records and documents of a municipality are in the custody of the municipal manager.

118. Restraint on transfer of property

  1. A registrar of deeds or other registration officer of immovable property may not register the transfer of property except on production to that registration officer of a prescribed certificate-
    1. issued by the municipality in which that property is situated; and
    2. which certifies that all amounts due in connection with that property for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and other municipal taxes, levies and duties during the two years preceding the date of application for the certificate have been fully paid.
  2. In the case of the transfer of immovable property by a trustee of an insolvent estate, the provisions of this section are subject to section 89 of the Insolvency Act, 1936 (Act No. 24 of 1936).
  3. An amount due for municipal service fees, surcharges on fees, property rates and other municipal taxes, levies and duties is a charge upon the property in connection with which the amount is owing and enjoys preference over any mortgage bond registered against the property.