Assessing the constitutionality of section 56A of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Amendment Act, 2011 (Act 7 of 2011)
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In the South African local government context, municipalities are operationally governed through two arms: the political arm and the administrative arm. Both arms work simultaneously in ensuring that the municipality ‘move[s] progressively towards the social and economic upliftment of communities and the provision of basic services. Even though these arms work together, there has to be a separation of powers and adherence to the rule of law. Each arm must operate within its functions and do so without any favour or prejudice. Municipal managers head the administrative arm of the municipality. They are appointed by the political structure, known as the municipal council, of each municipality. Their role includes accountability and responsibility for, inter alia: the formation and development of an economical, effective, efficient and accountable administration; the management of municipal administration in accordance with the law; the appointment of staff and managing the communications between the municipality administration and its political structures. In consultation with the municipal manager, the municipal council appoints managers directly accountable to the municipal managers. The managers are referred to as section 56 managers (managers). Municipal managers and section 56 managers are the glue that holds the administrative side of municipalities together and are custodians of municipal finances.