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South Africa 

Key facts

POPULATION: 50,586,757
AREA: 1,221,037 sq km
CAPITAL: Pretoria
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTION TO GDP4: 7%
CURRENCY: rand (ZAR)
HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT: President Jacob Zuma
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: democratic republic
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: bicameral
STATE STRUCTURE: unitary
LANGUAGES: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: 2009, turnout: 77%; next: 2014
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: 2011, turnout: 58%; next: 2016
 

Summary

South Africa is a democratic republic with three spheres of government: national, provincial and local. Local government is enshrined within the constitution, which also outlines the various functions of and resource distributions between the spheres of government. Additionally there are numerous Acts governing various aspects of local government activity. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is responsible for supporting provinces and local government in fulfilling their constitutional and legal obligations. There are three types of municipality: eight urban metropolitan municipalities; and two kinds of double-tier rural authorities, namely 46 first-tier district municipalities and 226 second-tier local municipalities. Government grants, followed by service charges, are the largest source of operating revenue for local authorities, whose responsibilities range from public health and utility provision to transportation and waste management. Partnerships are encouraged and promoted between municipalities and

traditional councils.

Download full profile of South Africa (  137K PDF) 

Related links

Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme in South Africa

See also

Additional information since publication

18th May 2011 - Municipal elections. Results can be viewed from the Independant Election Commission www.elections.org.za/content/Pages/LGE_NPE_Reports/reports.aspx?lEEtypeID=3&id=1427&name=Elections

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