Key Points:

  • South Africa’s cities and towns account for 80 percent of the country’s GDP. If government policies for inclusive economic and social development are to be successful, they have to succeed in the cities above all.
  • The white paper, however, fails to resolve the tension between strong local government as an engine for growth and the reality of a sector in crisis.
  • The document hovers between a development wish list and an acknowledgment that something has to be deferred for sustained future benefits.
  • By not coming to grips with the crisis in local government, it fails to extract lessons for policy development.
  • It draws no lessons from international experience or other research. Its conclusions are not explained or justified; few facts are reported; the implications of national economic policy for local government are not established; and there is a lack of clarity on critical terms.

Press release: Local government’s second chance jeopardised

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