Local government is at the core of service delivery as it is the sphere of government
closest to the people. The local sphere of government is tasked with the obligation of
providing basic services to citizens in a sustainable manner. Within the context of a
developmental state, developmental local government calls for new knowledge, skills
and competencies from those in leadership positions in municipalities to promote
service delivery. Developmental local government requires political leadership
which creates opportunities to account to the community over and above regular
elections. In this regard therefore the role of councillors as political leaders in local
government is of signifi cance as councillors are elected to provide political direction
and leadership in municipalities.
This article focuses on the development of leadership capacity in local government
in South Africa. With an emphasis on the knowledge, skills and competencies that
councillors as the providers of political direction and leadership require. The article
asserts the continuous development and improvement of leadership capacity in local
government in order to enable councillors to meet local governance challenges in
the 21st century and to promote the objectives of a developmental local government.