Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) is considering introducing an amendment bill that will see local government departments granted more powers to deal with municipalities and other matters.

This was revealed by Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in a written response to a parliamentary question by former DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Maimane had enquired whether Dlamini Zuma intended introducing amendments that would enable local governments to take firm decisions on matters which involved transport and rail, energy supply and safety.

The DA had, in the build-up to the May elections, campaigned for budgets to be handed over to metro councils, so that they took over the running of harbours and Metrorail services.

It had also wanted provinces to be empowered to administer their own police force, saying crime-fighting needed localised knowledge and intelligence. In her written response, Dlamini Zuma said amendments to two sections of the Municipal Structures Act would be tabled in the National Assembly over the course of the next medium-term expenditure framework.

“The Constitution provides the principles to guide processes for the devolution of powers and functions (subsidiarity principle) and other mechanisms for the devolution of powers and functions between the three spheres of government.”

The minister also said Sections 84 and 85 of the Municipal Structures Act and chapters 9 and 10 of the Municipal Systems Act clarified a process that needed to be undertaken in the assignment, revocation and adjustment of powers and functions to local government and between the two tiers of local government.

She further said that her department had developed “an assignment framework of powers and functions to local government”, which would guide how national and provincial sector departments could delegate powers and functions to local government.

“The decision for the determination of the location and distribution of powers and functions within the three spheres resides with the responsible department guided by the existing prescript and processes.

“However, in pursuance of the objectives of the national development plans and responding to the development needs at local government-level, a case can be made for certain functions to be devolved to local government,” she said.

Political Bureau