Power & Functions

Municipalities are responsible to perform the following functions;

  • Electricity delivery
  • Water for household use
  • Sewage and sanitation
  • Storm water systems
  • Refuse removal
  • Fire fighting services
  • Municipal health services
  • Decisions around land use
  • Municipal roads
  • Municipal public transport
  • Street trading
  • Abattoirs and fresh food markets
  • Parks and recreational areas
  • Libraries and other facilities
  • Local tourism


Municipalities have the following powers;

  • Pass by-laws – local laws and regulations about any of the functions they are responsible for. By-laws may not contradict or over-rule any national laws
  • Approve budgets and development plans – every year a municipal budget must be passed that sets down how money will be raised and spent. (See chapter 4). The council should approve an overall plan for how development should take place in the area. This is called an integrated development plan (IDP) and all projects and planning should happen within the framework of the IDP. (See chapter 3)
  • Impose rates and other taxes – property rates are a form of tax that municipalities can place on the value of properties. It is an important source of income.
  • Charge service fees – for us of municipal services like water, electricity, libraries, etc.
  • Impose fines – for anyone who breaks municipal by laws or regulations, for example traffic fines, littering or library fines.
  • Borrow money – the council may agree to take a loan for a development or other project and to use the municipal assets as surety.