Mayors may lose powers in overhaul

2010-01-20 00:00

PRETORIA — The government wants to scrap the executive mayor system as part of an attempt to overhaul local go­vernment in South Africa.

According to the turnaround strategy devised for local government by the Co-operative Gover­nance Department, scrapping the post of executive mayors is one of the 36 amendments to the law on the agenda to improve municipal governance and structures. The cabinet accepted the proposal on December 2.

Professor Dirk Kotzé, political science lecturer at Unisa, said yesterday that less power for mayors could create room for the establishment of a professional bureaucracy.

Paralysing power struggles between mayors and municipal managers are a common occurrence. An alternative is for executive powers to be divided among officials with a ceremonial mayor. Another possibility is an executive committee with collective responsibility, for which the position of chair is rotated annually.

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