We are often approached by our clients to provide legal advice on a very pertinent yet very complex legal aspect of local government, that is whether a political party has the authority or power to remove its member as a municipal councillor.
In order to understand this question fully, it is necessary to have an understanding of the various types of councillors that exist within a municipal council.
The various types of councillors
There are essentially three types of councillors:
(1) Proportional Representation councillors
Proportional Representation councillors (“PR councillors”) are members of a political party and are elected onto the municipal council because of their position on the party list. The party list is basically a list that each political party contesting the election submits to the Independent Electoral Commission (the IEC) listing their candidates for the proportional representation seats within the municipal council with the most preferred candidate being first on the list. PR councillors are not elected directly by members of the public, they are chosen by the party.
(2) Ward councillors (nominated by a political party)