Metropolitan restructuring (and more restructuring) in South Africa

“The article argues that structural reform, territorial changes, development in local government and new forms of service delivery have seriously overburdened local government in the short term and have detracted from service delivery. These unitary metros have, however, been operating for less than four years and must be given time to prove themselves before an informed evaluation can be made.”

This article analyses the evolution of metropolitan government in South Africa. During the past ten years South Africa has progressed from having no metropolitan government, to a two-tier metropolitan system and now to a single-tier metropolitan system. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) prefers single-tier metropolitan authorities as a means to, inter alia, promote redistribution of resources and services, promote strategic land-use planning and facilitate economic and social development.

A single-tier system was accordingly introduced in 2000. The major thrust of this article is an examination of the process that led to the introduction of six metropolitan governments, and the theoretical debates that underpinned this decision. It also analyses new types of executive systems, forms of public participation, development and service delivery. Finally, it provides a preliminary analysis of the performance of the new metropolitan governments.

Published in Public Administration and Development | R. Cameron | 2005,,