Parties to the Council


The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) is an organization mandated by the new South African Constitution to assist in the wholesale transformation of local government in South Africa from the pre-1994 regime to the new dispensation under the country’s first democratically elected government.

The Constitution envisages an important role for organized local government in the new South Africa, with a unique focus on developmental service delivery. As such, SALGA plays a core role in a variety of areas related to local government transformation and as a national representative of the local government sector and its employees.

The new SALGA strategy responds to the challenges facing organised local government, addresses past weaknesses and drives forward the process of consolidating the transformation process of local government.

Web Address:


The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) was formed in 1987. SAMWU represents 148 819 members in local government. Apart from its regular functions as a trade union, SAMWU is critically concerned with issues relating to the transformation of Local Government, community participation and governance. SAMWU’s major campaign is to fight the privatisation of municipal services on all fronts. SAMWU is affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions and Public Services International (PSI).

Web Address:


IMATU is a registered trade union representing 84 512 municipal and allied employees.
IMATU provides an outstanding service to its members and protects their rights and interest, through committed and motivated office bearers, shop stewards and professionally qualified staff.
IMATU is not affiliated nor supports any political party and as such we do not take instructions from any political parties. Our members are the only parties we care about and from whom we take instructions.

Web Address:


The Council has to annually also submit the party representivity to the Department of Labour. The Department of Labor conducted an audit of the council records on the 10 July 2017. A certificate issued by the department of Labour concludes that the parties, under the registered scope, of the Council are represented as follows:

  • The trade union parties (IMATU and SAMWU) to the Council represent 233 331 (or 91.4%) of the employees concerned.
  • The employer organization (SALGA) to the Council represents 257 employers who employ 255 100 (or 98.8%) of the employees in the industry.

Clause 5.1 of the Constitution requires the employer parties to submit annual returns to the General Secretary (by 15 February each year) reflecting the total number of employees at each member municipality or workplace as at 31 December of the previous year. The return must also give a breakdown of the employee membership of the trade unions that are parties to the Council, as well as dual membership of such trade unions, as reflected by stop order deductions.

The only registered employer organization, SALGA, represents 257 municipalities in the sector. On a monthly basis each municipality has to submit a return to the Council for the bargaining council levies indicating the number of employees. These figures are based on such returns.

The Council does not accept any liability for any inaccuracies caused by incorrect returns by the respective municipalities.

A detailed breakdown of employees per municipality per province can be found here.


A small percentage of employees and/or employers are non-parties to the Council.

The Labour Relations Act stipulates that non-registered trade unions are not permitted to represent employees at conciliation and arbitration in the council. A list of de-registered trade unions or non-registered trade unions is available from the Department of Labour.

The trade unions and SALGA have been unable to conclude a long outstanding disagreement, since 2004, on whether Municipal owned entities fall under the scope of the Council. A recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision , basically ruled , that the Council has no jurisdiction over municipal entities until such time the demarcation dispute in the CCMA is resolved.