Local government is one of three spheres of government in South Africa. Local government (it is also called municipal government) is made up of elected councillors, the council administration and the people who live in the municipality, which includes residents, CBOs and businesses. 

It is important to know who the role-players are in your local municipality. A downloadable form is included for you to record the details of useful people in your municipality. Some municipalities publish a list of municipal government names and phone numbers, as well as their standing orders and rules that tell you how a municipal council is run. Make sure that you have a copy of these documents. 

download the form 


Local government is one of three spheres of government in South Africa. The other two spheres are provincial and national government.


Local government, or municipal government as it is also known, is made up of three groups:

  • elected councillors who form a municipal council
  • an administration made up of officials appointed by a municipal council
  • the people who live in the municipality, including residents, groups, community based organisations (CBOs) and businesses (s.2(b) of the Municipal System Act).

A municipality is more than a geographic area or the government officials who work there: it also includes the people who actually live there!

South Africa is divided into more than 280 separate municipalities. Wherever you live, you are part of a local government. There are two types of local government:

  • Metropolitan municipalities – eight high-density, large urban areas namely Buffalo City (East London), City of Cape Town, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (East Rand), City of eThekwini (Durban), City of Johannesburg, Mangaung Municipality (Bloemfontein), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth), and City of Tshwane (Pretoria).
  • Non-Metropolitan – made up of district and local municipalities such as Govan Mbeki Local Municipality (Gert Sibande District Municipality) and Sol Plaatjie Local Municipality (Frances Baard District Municipality).