Amalgamation of South Africa’s rural municipalities: is it a good idea?

Mkhululi Ncube
Jabulile Monnakgotla


The majority of South African municipalities facing the challenges of unemployment, poverty and weak infrastructure are in rural areas. To fulfil their mandate, they depend significantly on financial transfers.  This is something that the government is focused on minimising as evidenced by the recent Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs proposal of amalgamating many municipalities to make them self-reliant and functional.  This paper asks the question: ‘will amalgamations of rural municipalities correct for financial viability and functionality’? Using case studies of amalgamated municipalities, the paper observes that amalgamations will not make all rural municipalities self-sufficient and functional.

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