Confronting the state of local government: the 2013 Constitutional Court decisions
de Visser, Jaap
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In September 2014 the then Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pravin Gordhan, divided municipalities into three groups: a third of the municipalities was carrying out their tasks adequately, a third was just managing, and the last third was ‘frankly dysfunctional’ because of poor governance, inadequate financial management, and poor accountability mechanisms.1 What this analysis starkly illustrates is that local government cannot be seen as a uniform institution, operating in the same manner, facing the same challenges. Most, but not all metropolitan municipalities are highly functional and the same applies to the so-called ‘secondary cities’. Then there are highly dysfunctional rural municipalities but also rural municipalities that perform well. Yet a uniform system of law applies to them all.