This section presents nine case studies of city projects that demonstrate how cities have used cooperative governance and all-of-society approaches. They show that local government has had mixed results working with all spheres of government and sectors of society (including civil society and the private sector). Some of the case studies demonstrate how whole-of-government and all-of-society approaches can lead to positive change, while others highlight the barriers within the governance system that hinder their uptake.
City of Johannesburg
A whole-of-government approach to community healthcare
This story highlights how community action and pressure held the government accountable, brought two spheres of government together and how the support of an implementing agent can accelerate delivery.
Health is a concurrent function, which means that the mandates of the provincial government and local government intersect to deliver services that meet the needs of communities. Since 1992 the community of Ebony Park/ Kaalfontein called for their five-room local clinic to be upgraded to a Community HealthCare Centre (CHC) as the existing clinic was inadequate for their needs. The City of Johannesburg responded by upgrading the facility to an Ideal Clinic, which was within its mandate, instead of a Community HealthCare Centre (CHC), which the community wanted but which fell within the provincial government’s mandate. This was rejected by the community.
The Gauteng Provincial Government and the City then joined forces to deliver a CHC. They were supported by the Johannesburg Development Agency as an implementing partner.
City of Tshwane
A ‘network governance’ approach to community substance use
Rampant drug abuse and drug-related treatment admissions were of concern to the City of Tshwane. This led the City to find a practical, accessible, affordable and evidence-based response. The outcome was the successful Community Orientated Substance Use Programme (COSUP), which provides substance-use health and care services to local communities in the greater Tshwane area.
Launched in 2015, the programme is designed and implemented through a core partnership between the City of Tshwane, the University of Pretoria and local communities, and operates through a network of co-created partnerships with a broad spectrum of actors. Rolled out successfully, COSUP’s strength and versatility were highlighted when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the programme was extended for another three years.
The success of the programme is based on, among others, its network governance model where partners are clear on their roles and responsibilities, its evidence-based approach, and the use of existing structures in communities.
City of Ekurhuleni
A committee-based governance model for informal settlement reblocking
A growing housing backlog was being experienced in the City of Ekurhuleni which resulted in the mushrooming of informal settlements. This scenario led to the launch of the City’s Reblocking Programme in 2015. Through a multi-layered approach, the Programme decongests informal settlements through the rearrangement of dwellings and the installation of basic infrastructures to create a safe, serviceable and habitable environment.
Using a committee-based governance model, the programme successfully engages communities with a focus on co-creation, co-ownership and community empowerment. Collaboration is galvanised around shared goals and partnerships.
This story illustrates the benefits of such a model for the management of informal settlements, and how it has evolved from an interim short-term solution to a longer-term systemic solution for solving the challenges arising from urban informality.
eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality
A multi-stakeholder response to homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, pressure mounted on local governments to come up with rapid decisions and interventions to alleviate the socio-economic consequences that emerged. Among other challenges, homelessness reached a fever pitch.
In response, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality established a Joint Operations Centre and Covid-19 War Room, as well as a Multidisciplinary Task Team (MDTT). A City Budget Form was also established which successfully brought together multiple stakeholders working across different government spheres and sectors. Furthermore, the Deputy Mayor activated the existing Task Team on Homelessness to bring together city officials from different departments, as well as NGOs and universities. As a result, the eThekwini and its staff and partners contributed to improving the health and wellbeing of the city’s homeless.
eThekwini’s response shows how quickly alliances and cooperation can materialise in times of crisis, the value of collaboration and political leadership, and the importance of learning and building on lessons learned and gains made.
City of Cape Town
An all-of-society approach to the COVID-19 food crisis
The national hard lockdown which commenced in March 2020 had an immediate and severe impact on the livelihoods of poor communities. Informal and formal businesses stopped trading. At the same time, the national food relief system was shut down and many related relief channels were suspended or reduced. As a result, the demand for food spiked, exacerbating the existing food insecurity problem in the Western Cape. In response, actors across provincial and local government, civil society, individuals and the private sector in the Cape Town city-region joined forces to mobilise their resources
First on the scene was civil society. Community Action Networks (CANs) sprang up organically, while Cape Town Together (CTT) was formed to connect the CANs and individuals in the Cape Town metropole. Food relief efforts were further enabled through the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) which brought together the CANs and the Premier of the Western Cape. The Food Relief Forum (FRF) was established thereafter as a government-led mechanism to coordinate resources and mobilise actors. By mid-May 2020 the Forum was providing meals and distributing food parcels to those in need, in partnership with the Solidarity Fund.
While Covid-19 exposed the flaws in South Africa’s food system, this response illustrates how a cooperative governance network model works in practice based on an all-of-society approach to collaboration. It further shows that actors, including the government, need to work towards their strengths, organise around a shared vision and common purpose, develop innovative practices, work with intermediaries, and embrace informality.
Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality
Improving ease of doing business through e-MAMS
This story explores the importance of effective planning application processes to improve the ease of doing business in cities as well as communication and cooperation between the public and municipalities. In Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM), delays in processing land development applications were problematic and were exacerbated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this, the NMBM introduced an Electronic Municipal Application Management System (e-MAMS).
e-MAMS replaced the traditional paper-based system. It provides a platform that enables the integration of city planning systems and the automation/digitisation of submissions, workflows and decision-making, with a step-by-step process that highlights fields to be completed, reducing the number of incomplete applications and associated delays. It also offers a document management system and can be integrated into performance management systems.
Private business and civil society participated in and responded positively to the e-MAMS pilot project, as it responded to their concerns. Going forward, the NMBM acknowledges that e-MAMS users need to be engaged during the implementation process so that the municipality can better understand their needs and build a trust-based interface between the local authority and stakeholders.
Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality
An all-of-society approach to unlocking the economic potential of the Port of East London
The Port of East London represents a major economic node and is a strategic asset to the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM). The materialisation of the various projects and investments that have been proposed for the port requires collaboration between a wide range of public and private stakeholders.
While all stakeholders involved in the Port of East London agree on its importance, they struggled to align their different views and objectives around a shared vision. Recent steps taken by BCMM and other stakeholders toward the development of this shared vision include:
- A visit by Transnet Board to the Port of East London
- The establishment of the Port Consultative Committee (PCC)
- An intergovernmental memorandum of understanding and technical task team
This story demonstrates what can be achieved when various stakeholders act together in pursuit of a common vision. It highlights the importance of platforms for cooperation, local leadership, effective multi-level governance and good relationships between different sectors of society.
Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
Cooperative governance for accelerating spatial and economic development
In 2001, three urban areas (Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu) were merged to form Mangaung, and the area has long served as an essential regional services function. Yet, like so many other South African metros, Mangaung suffers from inefficiencies and inequalities that are a result of segregated colonial and apartheid planning.
Three projects have been identified to address these issues by revitalising the local economy; increasing densities; improving transport; creating an industrial base; and linking economic development, residential development and heritage, with a focus on the eastern part of the city. These are the airport node development, the Waaihoek precinct and the Naval Hill redevelopment.
All projects have significant catalytic potential, but progress on implementation could be accelerated through more effective cooperative governance with various partners. This story, therefore, highlights, among others, the need for good intergovernmental relations, public-private partnerships and community participation.
Msunduzi Local Municipality
A turnaround approach to overcoming poor internal controls
Like many local authorities in South Africa, Msunduzi Local Municipality is plagued by a number of governance concerns including its struggle to achieve clean audits and deliver on its mandate. The municipality was placed under administration in 2010 and then again in 2019 which has, together with the COVID-19 pandemic, made more apparent the broader governance issue of poor internal controls, aggravated by a loss of skills, poor leadership and unfilled vacancies.
The municipality’s leadership has made a concerted effort to turn around the challenges of poor internal controls by acknowledging and comprehensively addressing their causes and outcomes.
Msunduzi’s turnaround strategy is based on four pillars:
- Finance and Governance
- Service Delivery Model and Performance Management
- Organisational Reconfiguration and Capacity Building
- Combating Fraud, Corruption and Misconduct
Alongside the adoption of this strategy, the leadership has taken urgent steps to fill senior management positions and has recognised that an important control measure to address is the lack of consequence management, which permeates all levels of the municipality.
This story further highlights how governance concerns are interrelated and that to turn governance around, strong leadership, a clearly defined political-administrative interface and strong oversight, among others, are needed.