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Special Issue: A window into local government

“This ambitious issue of Transformation seeks to open a window into local government, and offer new understandings about what a municipality is, and how it works. Many of these articles showcase exceptional research which was done in two municipalities in Limpopo Province. These municipalities demonstrate the precarious nature in the making of the South African democratic state. State formation from below is extremely fragile and contested which is a reflection of what is happening at national level. Mogalakwena Local Municipality is home to the biggest platinum mine in the world. It is owned by a Canadian company, but some of its shareholders are connected to the governing party. Contestation over ownership, interpretations of the law, access to resources, among other things, are crystallised in this space, and the municipality forms one arena of contestation. The other municipality, Lephalale Local Municipality, hosts Eskom’s coal power megaproject, Medupi, and its feeder coal mines. Here, the question of continuity and rupture with past modes of governance is brought into sharp relief. These municipalities, and the Limpopo Province more generally, illustrate how local and provincial politics are shaped by and embedded in national politics.”

– Mosa Phadi and Peter Vale, Inside the municipality: locating debates on local government