The state of local government law enforcement

Although South Africa’s municipalities have a safety mandate, they face capacity constraints and other challenges in preventing crime.

13 SEP 2022  

This preliminary report was prepared for the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). SALGA was established in line with Section 163 of the South African Constitution. In terms of its mandate, which includes developing common approaches to issues facing municipalities in South Africa, SALGA has taken various steps to support them in understanding and addressing issues of safety and law enforcement.


About this report

The constitutional mandate of local government in South Africa includes promoting ‘a safe environment.’ This report focuses on the law enforcement powers, capacities and challenges of local government. They may employ different types of law enforcement personnel including law enforcement officers, traffic officers or (in specific municipalities) municipal police. Local government law enforcement personnel exercise powers under various laws and have responsibilities in relation to the policing of by-laws and traffic regulations, and the protection of municipal assets and infrastructure. They may also play a role in crime prevention. The report explores critical issues that local governments must address in order to strengthen their responses to safety challenges.

Image: © Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD)

This report is funded by the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the South African Local Government Association. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the European Union, the Open Society Foundations and the governments of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Professional Policing


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