The legal duty of municipalities to enhance inclusive urbanisation in South Africa: a cultural diversity perspective
Mkhwananzi, N. N. D.
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he United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was founded on the realisation that societies cannot thrive on a sustainable basis without the respect and protection of cultural diversity. This appreciation led the international community to adopt several binding and non-binding instruments to assist countries across the world with protecting and promoting diverse cultures. Although early instruments in this field only implicitly recognised a role for local authorities in their implementation, the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals expressly provides a role for cities in actively protecting and promoting the tolerance and respect for different cultures in Goal 11. Promoting and protecting cultural diversity is very important in the South African context mindful of its broad racial, ethnic and religious composition. This need is further heightened by increasing international and provincial migrations to the country's major cities. Given this reality and the legally entrenched powers and developmental mandate of local authorities, South African cities (municipalities in general) grapple on with the challenge of effectively managing cultural issues in their jurisdictions on a daily basis. This study investigates how municipalities in South Africa can utilise their legislative and executive powers to promote inclusive urbanisation from a cultural diversity perspective. Notwithstanding the fact that cultural matters are enumerated as a national and provincial function in part A of Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa1 1996 (the Constitution), municipalities have an implicit role in protecting and promoting cultural diversity. Such a role is legally grounded in the culture-related rights-based duties of municipalities emanating from the Bill of Rights, the constitutional objects of local government, and provision made in national legislation and policies. The study focuses on two metropolitan municipalities (the cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane) to analyse how their executive and legislative powers have been utilised to give effect to their legal duty to promote and manage cultural diversity within their jurisdictions. The study found that both municipalities do not have overarching by-laws or policies that seek to promote and protect cultural diversity from a holistic point of view. Based on lessons distilled from international and African regional instruments, this study argues that municipalities in South Africa should design and implement local legislation and policies which protect and promote cultural diversity to realise inclusive urbanisation.
- Law