Making law: A guide to municipal councils
de Visser, Jaap
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The first fully democratic municipal elections held on 5 December 2000 saw local government take its rightful place as the third sphere of government. Chapter seven of the Constitution has now come into full operation. A municipality now enjoys protected status as a legislative body. This means that it has the authority to make laws on local government matters without undue interference by other spheres of government. However, a constitutionally protected legislative authority brings with it a responsibility. The onus is now on municipalities to use the legal space provided by the Constitution in a manner that is democratic, accountable and developmental. This is certainly not an easy task: the challenges of sustaining, improving and extending service delivery and local democracy are great. The legislation that will guide newly elected councillors in the final phase of transformation further enables municipalities to be development agents and builders of democracy. This manual provides a useful guide for councillors to familiarise themselves with: • the scope of the legislative authority that their councils enjoy; • procedural aspects around making law; and • the legal and constitutional requirements relating to the content of by-laws. It will be a significant aid to councillors in their pivotal role as policyand lawmakers.