The South African Law Reform Commission (Commission) has included in its program a review into regulatory, compliance and reporting obligations imposed on local government through legislation – Project 146. An issue paper relating to this inquiry – Issue Paper 37 – has now been published for general information and comments.
The supervision of local government by the other spheres of government through, among other things, legislation, is a constitutional imperative – intended to ensure that the values of accountability and transparency are not rendered meaningless. However, it appears that municipalities are buckling under the rigours of legislation intended to structure the
institutions and processes of local government. This inquiry therefore seeks to establish the nature and extent of this problem and address it by identifying burdensome regulatory, compliance and reporting obligations placed on local government by national legislation;

garnering evidence of the impacts of these obligations; and by exploring ways to remove or reduce these obligations.

As not all regulation is bad, it is necessary to describe those
legislative obligations that we seek information on and examples of. The Commission wants to seek out those obligations that impose unnecessary or excessive costs on local government because they are duplicative, unclear, complex, overly prescriptive, create unintended or unexpected workload, impose onerous requirements or cause unnecessary delays. The distinguishing feature of these obligations therefore is that the costs of
complying with them often outweigh any benefits achieved by such compliance. It is these statutory obligations that are the focus of this review.
It is hoped that the outcome of this review will free up to the maximum extent possible local government resources to enable it to focus on delivering services to communities whilst maintaining accountability and good governance as required by the Constitution.
To this end, the Commission is calling on interested parties to make submissions about:

 onerous regulatory, compliance and reporting obligations as defined above;
 how, in practice, these obligations affect municipalities;
 any proposals on how to streamline o remove these obligations;
 what impact, if any, streamlining or removing these obligations would have for municipalities, other organs of state and communities.