Institutional strengthening in South Africa

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Governance is a term commonly used to refer to how public institutions and private companies conduct their affairs and manage resources. It covers the process of decision-making as well as the processes by which decisions are implemented. ICMM believes that mining companies can enhance the mainstreaming of sustainable development by supporting national polices and government regulations that address the issues of corruption, human rights abuses, bribery, tax evasion and conflict.

When the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) officially came into force in January 2016, the nations of the world committed to mobilise efforts to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. Business has a significant part to play, alongside governments and civil society, in creating pathways for a greener, safer and sustainable future for us all. Metals and minerals are essential to almost all aspects of everyday life; they enable farming, healthcare, communications, construction, transport and energy and water supply. And they will arguably become more important as they help to deliver the infrastructure required for a low-carbon future. This is one of a series of case studies gathered from our members to highlight how companies are working to enhance their contribution to society and help industry to manage potential adverse impacts their activities may have on the realisation of some of the SDGs.

The capacity of local government is a major determiner of a region’s development. When delivery of basic public services is limited communities will suffer – potentially leading to conflict. By partnering with business, vulnerable municipalities can gain access to infrastructure and services, including water, electricity, sanitation and waste management, that they may not otherwise have been able to access.

In 2014 Anglo American launched a partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) to strengthen the capacity of eleven municipalities in South Africa. Working alongside provincial departments of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, the South African Local Government Association and treasury departments in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga, the partnership is aligned with Municipal Capacity Development Programmes and National Development Plan’s.


The institutional strengthening process, managed by DBSA, begins by measuring each municipality’s capacity in a range of areas, including institutional capacity, financial management capacity, governance arrangements, technical experience and engineering capacity. A gap analysis is then undertaken; making possible targeted capacity strengthening implementation plans.

The programme also reviews municipal infrastructure plans, asset management and co-ordination of the sector policies that guide provision of municipal services. And where possible provide technical support to address any shortfalls in the infrastructure necessary for basic service delivery. Interventions that can lead to improvements in revenue-collection systems at the local level and town halls to access available government infrastructure financing.


This partnership is benefitting communities by helping local governments to:

The programme is also supporting traditional leadership structures in the Limpopo and North West provinces. The benefits of the partnership extend beyond capacity building. Improvements in local capacity can attract new inward investment, helping to generate revenues that can be used to maintain basic service delivery in the future.

ICMM members supporting the SDGs