A new system of municipal government and administration has been introduced in 2000. This required new geographical, political, administrative and managerial arrangements to render municipal services within the total area of South Africa. Not only were newly elected councillors faced with extensive challenges, officials were also required to render a wider variety of services on the local sphere of government than ever before in South Africa’s existence. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 demands that local government must provide democratic and accountable government for local communities; ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner; promote social and economic development; promote a safe and healthy environment; and encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government. The Constitution also assigns the municipalities with
a developmental duty. These conditions clearly indicate that democratic principles
must be adhered to which inter alia require the participation by communities in the
With the development of the concept of governance a new dimension was added in the area of the operation of the public sector. Governance requires co-operation among the governmental bodies, the administrative/managerial sectors and society in providing services public services. In the case of municipal
government and administration governance implies that provision has to be made
for the involvement of civil society in rendering services directly affecting them.
The challenge facing the municipal council, its executive departments as well as its public-private-partnerships require accommodating civil society without
compromising efficiency and effectiveness. The paper addresses the complex
relationship required to acknowledge the democratic ideals of consulting and even
utilising civil society, thus accommodating the concept of governance, but still
adhering to the administrative requirements for efficiency and effectiveness.