Make an appeal or formal complaint

In addition to petitions, marches, protests and meetings there are other legal ways of enforcing your rights. You have a right to make a formal appeal against any decision taken by the council or its officials, to go to court or approach one of the watchdog institutions established by the Constitution, such as the Human Rights Commission or the Public Protector.

S. 62 of the Municipal Systems Act sets out the appeal process. You can:

  • appeal to the municipal manager if a problem you have reported is not resolved
  • make a complaint to the municipal manager if government officials do not follow the code of conduct
  • appeal to the municipal council if your municipal manager makes a decision you do not agree with or fails to get back to you
  • make a complaint to the provincial government minister responsible for local government (known as the MEC for local government) if your municipal council is failing to ensure that its staff are following by-laws, policies, or legislation or failing to award or monitor tenders properly
  • make a complaint to to COGTA (the national department responsible for local government) if your provincial government does not respond adequately.

How to appeal

  • Write a letter with the details of your complaint – don’t forget to include the dates and names of the people you spoke with as well as what you discussed, and any documents or letters
  • Deliver your letter to the municipal manager within 21 days of the date you were notified of the decision. Make sure you get an acknowledgment in writing!
  • Once you have lodged an appeal the government must appoint people or a committee to look at the appeal. This must take place within six weeks. After that you have a right to a decision within a reasonable period. If you disagree with the decision of the appeal body you can apply to a court for a review of the decision.