South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
, a metropolitan municipality or Category A municipality is a
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. The term ''municipality'' may also mean the ...
which executes all the functions of local government for a
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a pe ...
conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolises, cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban or industrially developed area. In most case ...
. This is by contrast to areas which are primarily rural, where the local government is divided into district municipalities and local municipalities. The
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When these principl ...
, section 155.1.a, defines "Category A" municipalities. In the Municipal Structures Act it is laid out that this type of local government is to be used for conurbations, "centre of economic activity", areas "for which integrated development planning is desirable", and areas with "strong interdependent social and economic linkages". The metropolitan municipality is similar to the
consolidated city-county Consolidated may refer to: *Consolidated (band) **''¡Consolidated!'', a 1989 extended play *Consolidated Aircraft (later Convair), an aircraft manufacturer *Consolidated city-county *Consolidated Communications *Consolidated school district *Conso ...
in the US, although a South African metropolitan municipality is created by notice of the
provincial Provincial may refer to: Government & Administration * Provincial capitals, an administrative sub-national capital of a country * Provincial city (disambiguation) * Provincial minister (disambiguation) * Provincial Secretary, a position in Canadi ...
government, not by agreement between district and local municipalities.


Metropolitan municipalities were brought about during reforms of the 1990s so that cities could be governed as single entities. For example, eThekwini (including Durban) is today a single municipality formed from what were more than 40 separate jurisdictions before 1994. This reform process was a response to the way in which apartheid policy had broken up municipal governance. For example, Soweto had, until 1973, been administered by the Johannesburg City Council, but after 1973 was run by an Administration Board separate from the city council. This arrangement deprived Soweto of vital subsidies that it had been receiving from Johannesburg. A key demand of anti-apartheid civics in the 1980s was for 'one city, one tax base' in order to facilitate the equitable distribution of funds within what was a functionally integrated urban space. Local government reform after apartheid produced six Transitional Metropolitan Councils following the 1995/6 local government elections. These were characterized by a two-tier structure. From 2000, these six Metropolitan Councils were restructured into their final single-tier form. In 2011, Buffalo City (including East London) and Mangaung (including Bloemfontein) were added to the category of metropolitan municipality.

List of metropolitan municipalities

See also

* Urban planning in Africa


Other sources

* Government Communication & Information Services (2005
Categories of municipalities
* Parliament of South Africa, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (1996
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Chapter 7: Local Government
* Parliament of South Africa, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (1998
Local Government: Municipal Structures Act
Act 117 of 1998.
South African Local Government Association
{{Administrative divisions of South Africa Metropolitan Municipalities of South Africa,