Developmental Local Government

A case study of South Africa

By Jaap De Visser

This book concerns the role of the state in achieving development. In many developing countries conventional wisdom concluded that development is best achieved through a centralised development strategy. The failure of this centralised development strategy has brought about the emergence of decentralisation to local government as one of the means to turn the tide of underdevelopment. This book presents decentralisation not only as a manifestation of 'good governance', but also as an indispensable tool towards development. The central question, however, is the following: how should the transitional state convert this into constitutional and legal arrangements? The author proposes a model for capturing the developmental role of local government in institutional arrangements. The new design for local government, put forward in South Africa's 1997 Constitution, is based on the notion that local government should be the epicentre of development. This has prompted the author to use this South African concept as well as the first experiences with the implementation of the new local government dispensation as a case study.The importance of the book thus lies in the fact that it produces an institutional model for developmental local government that is not only based on development and decentralisation theories but is also tested in practice. It is hoped that those with an interest in the role of the state in development will find the arguments and conclusions useful. The book also provides a comprehensive overview of the South African design for local government, which is of interest to lawyers, policy makers and other parties involved in the implementation of the South African decentralisation strategy. Jaap de Visser teaches public law at the Law Faculty of Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Until the end of 2002, he worked as a researcher for the Community Law Centre (University of the Western Cape), specialising in local government law.


334 pages

Publication Date: 1/1/2005
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789050954259