Local Government Empowerment and Collaborative Approaches in the Electricity Sector: A Constitutional Analysis





Local government, electricity, multilevel government, Decentralization, Municipalities


This article explores the constitutional provisions and legislative aspects governing the role of local governments in generating and distributing electricity in South Africa. It encompasses the constitutional framework, which grants municipalities specific powers and responsibilities, highlighting the significance of these "original powers" derived directly from the Constitution. The article emphasises the need for intergovernmental cooperation at national, provincial, and local government levels to effectively address the complexities of electricity provision, taking into account related services such as water, sanitation, and environmental rights. The article further assesses recent amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006, which grant municipalities greater involvement in electricity generation and procurement from independent power producers. While these amendments are seen as positive, the article highlights the need for financial resources and technical capacity building to empower municipalities to undertake these new responsibilities effectively. Ultimately, it emphasises the critical role of local governments in ensuring a sustainable and reliable supply of electricity for their communities while calling for comprehensive support from higher government levels to realise this goal.


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Author Biography

Mnotho Ngcobo, North-West University

Lecturer, Faculty of Law, North-West University




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Case law

City of Cape Town v Robertson 2005 2 SA 323 (CC)

City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality v Blue Moonlight Properties 39 Ltd 2012 2 SA 104 (CC)

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v Resilient Properties (Pty) Ltd; Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism; Thaba Chweu Local Municipality v Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism 2021 3 SA 47 (SCA)

Joseph v City of Johannesburg 2010 3 BCLR 212 (CC)

Le Sueur v Ethekwini Municipality (9714/11) [2013] ZAKZPHC 6 (30 January 2013)

Mkontwana v Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality 2005 1 SA 530 (CC)


Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006

Electricity Safety Act, 1945 (New South Wales)

Housing Act 107 of 1997

Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003

Local Government: Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998

Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000

Internet sources

Auditor-General South Africa 2022 Consolidated General Report on Local Government Audit Outcomes MFMA 2020-21 https://www.agsa.co.za/

Portals/0/Reports/MFMA/2020-21/MFMA%20GR%202020-21%20General%20Report%20interactive.pdf?ver=2022-06-15-090741-193%20 accessed 17 February 2024

Creamer T 2020 Electricity Regulations Amended to Allow Municipalities to Develop or Buy Power https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/

article/electricity-regulations-amended-to-allow-municipalities-to-develop-or-buy-power-2020-10-16 accessed 14 September 2023

Community Law Centre 2007 Developmental Local Government: Determining Appropriate Functions and Powers https://dullahomarinstitute.org.za/multilevel-govt/publications/de-visser-and-may-determining-appropriate-powers.pdf accessed 17 February 2024

Covary T 2021 Same Old Funding Model Can't Keep South African Cities Going or Serve Residents https://theconversation.com/same-old-funding-model-cant-keep-south-african-cities-going-or-serve-residents-165182 accessed 14 September 2023

Ensor L 2021 Auditor-General Appalled by the State of Municipal Finances https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-06-30-auditor-general-appalled-by-the-state-of-municipal-finances/ accessed 14 September 2023

Merriam Webster Dictionary date unknown Reticulate https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reticulate accessed 17 February 2024


Electricity Regulations on New Generation Capacity, issued in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006, Government Notice No. 1093 Published in Government Gazette 43810 of 16 October 2020

Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act 2003 Municipal Public-Private Partnership Regulations, Government Notice No. 309 Published in Government Gazette 27431 of 01 April 2005



How to Cite

Ngcobo, M. (2024). Local Government Empowerment and Collaborative Approaches in the Electricity Sector: A Constitutional Analysis. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 27, (Published on 7 May 2024) pp 1–25. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2024/v27i0a16855




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