Municipalities of South Africa

In South Africa, Municipalities are geographical areas that the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) defines.

The provincial Minister of Local Government establishes municipalities which are then governed through municipal councils.

Categories of municipalities

The constitution and the Municipal Structures Act of 1998 created three categories of municipalities namely; district, local, and metropolitan.

Metropolitan municipalities or metros exist in the 8 largest cities. Areas that fall outside the metros are divided into local municipalities.

District municipalities comprise several local municipalities that fall into one district.

Apart from district municipalities, all the other municipalities are further divided into wards.

Metropolitan municipalities

Metropolitan municipalities, also known as Category A municipalities, govern large densely urbanised areas that encompass multiple centers with close economic linkages, for example; metropolises.

Metropolitan municipalities are single authorities responsible for all local government functions within their regions.

Currently, there are eight metropolitan municipalities in South Africa and they are listed below;

  1. Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality
  2. City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality
  3. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
  4. City of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality
  5. City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality
  6. Mangaung Municipality Metropolitan Municipality
  7. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality
  8. City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality

District municipalities

Outside the metropolitan areas, the rest of the country is governed jointly by district and local municipalities.

Each district (or Category C) municipality is divided into several local municipalities.

District municipalities, also known as Category C municipalities, are responsible for extensive matters like public transport, integrated planning, massive supply of electricity and water, and infrastructure development.

There are 44 district municipalities in South Africa.

Local municipalities

Local municipalities, also known as Category B municipalities, are responsible for all the other municipal functions not assigned to the district, especially local service delivery.

There are 205 local municipalities in South Africa.