• Well-Governed Cities

Well Governed Cities

Well-governed cities are efficient, manage their finances prudently and are accountable to their citizens. City management frameworks guide the city in tackling the developmental challenges. Strong leadership and institutions enable well-governed cities to outperform other cities.

As a result, citizens in well-governed cities enjoy safe and high quality living. They actively participate in democratic local government electoral process and decisions about local development.

SACN's Well-Governed Cities programme monitors how South African cities are governed and whether the political and institutional context is stable, open and dynamic enough to accommodate varied objectives and interests. It focuses on institutional strength and capacity, financial management and administrative efficiency, and socio-political issues.

latest publications

  • The aim of the Urban Governance Paper Series is to explore different issues that affect the ability of cities to deliver on their mandate, ranging from institutional strength and capacity, to financial management and administrative efficiency, and people, to power and politics. The first volume of the series contains papers covering four broad governance themes: positive rights and service delivery; accountability, democracy and participation; administration, finance and governance; and private sector and innovation.

    The 1998 Local Government White Paper places developmental local government at the centre of efforts by the life of South Africans. However, 25 years into democracy and despite clearly defined authority, bureacratic legitimacy and fiscal independence, the perception of citizens is that cities have failed to mobilise stakeholders to achieve developmental local government.

    The first volume of urban governance papers is an attempt to analyse, diagnose and suggest solutions to this state of affairs in what is a critical sphere of government, and to stimulate thinking on the topic.

  • State of City Finances 2018: Under the theme of citizens and cities are in financial crisis. The problem is systemic, but an alternative trajectory is possible.
  • People's Guide 2018: Supplementary guide to the SOCF.
  • State of City Finances 2015: Under the theme of Basics + Innovation, the report calls upon cities to address gaps and inefficiencies in the current system, while keeping a close eye on the complexity of their future role. It considers the need to rethink how cities are financed and funded, so that they are able to drive important agendas, such as green growth, the provision of sustainable human settlements and improved mobility through affordable and integrated public transport.
  • Migration, Mobility and Urban Vulnerabilities – Implications for Urban Governance in South Africa 2014. This research report explores the challenges and opportunities associated with migration and mobility into and within South African cities, and the implications for urban governance. It identifies and analyses the links between these challenges/vulnerabilities and the current forms of urban instability.
  • State of City Finance 2013: Under the theme towards sustainable municipal finances
  • Youth Policy Field and Institutional Analyses at Municipal Level in South Africa. This report analyses the existing structures (institutions, actors and networks) pertaining to youth development at municipal level in South Africa, examines the political and legal framework conditions and relevant ongoing processes in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality and Buffalo City, and puts forward a number of recommendations based on the analysis.
  • State of City Finance 2011:  Under the theme the financial state of city governments
  • Well Governed Cities Report for 2009. This is the first edition of the Well-governed Cities Annual Report. It is a collection of articles and analysis on issues of governance in South African cities, designed to provoke dialogue and discussion, and inspire cities towards good governance.