What is the Role of Municipal Councillors in Public Spending?

In this video we explain what the role of local government councillors is in respect of public spending.

Municipal finance is mostly regulated by the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act of 2003 (the MFMA). The MFMA’s point of departure is that the Municipal Manager of the municipality is its Accounting Officer and takes overall responsibility for the management of the municipality’s finances. Councillors play a guiding and oversight role. 

The Mayor and the Councillor responsible for finance are the two individual councillors that are most directly involved in the creation of the municipality’s annual budget. That budget is passed by the full council. It also controls all spending by the municipality.

Councillors subsequently exercise oversight over the implementation of the budget by scrutinising the quarterly budget implementation reports that the Mayor must submit to council.

 Councillors are also involved in steering spending priorities within the budget by participating in the annual review of the Integrated Development Plan, the municipality’s principal strategic plan with which the budget must align. However, councillors are not involved in the day-to-day operational spending of the municipality. 

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