Urban Governance Paper Series: Volume 1

The South African Cities Network’s Well-Governed Cities programme considers how South African cities are governed, and whether the political and institutional context is stable, open and dynamic enough to accommodate varied societal objectives and interests. Government is the vehicle through which these interests are pursued, while governance refers more broadly to the multiplicity of arrangements among elected leaders, societal actors and service providers that make up the system.


Urban governance is about the various ways in which power is exercised by the multiple stakeholders and actors in the urban space. It encompasses several dimensions of government, from principles such as integrity and transparency, to activities including governing, management systems, and the exercise of leadership, power and policy levers.


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, 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.