The Department of Urban Government was established in 1991 as part of the Ministry of Housing and Township Development. The whole concept for the Ministry was developed at the National Urbanisation Conference held in Piggs Peak in 1991, where the need for a systematic approach for handling issues that accompany rapid urbanisation was identified. The department was therefore established to handle the challenging issues of urbanisation and local government.


Through continuous institutional capacity building and enactment of legislation and policy to ensure that all Urban Authorities comply with good governance practices in their provision of quality services to urban citizens and stakeholders.

Department’s Main Responsibilities

The Department of Urban Government is assigned the responsibility for administrative oversight on the operations and functioning of all urban local governments including controlled areas. Currently, there are 12 gazetted urban local authorities and 4 declared controlled areas. While controlled areas are a product of the Building Act, 1968, urban areas are proclaimed under the Urban Government Act, 1969, which recognizes only three levels of local government, viz, Town Boards, Town Councils and Municipal Councils.

The departmental responsibilities entail, inter alia, taking a lead role in the development of policies and strategies to enhance effective governance and service provision by urban local authorities in addition to the provision of timely professional and technical advice and support towards implementation of local authority strategic plans including monitoring and evaluation of their respective performances.

Further, the department also ensures that local authorities have adequate institutional and physical capacities to perform their roles and responsibilities effectively and that good central-local relations are maintained. The department also seeks to develop strong municipal structures that will ensure sustained contributions towards the achievement of Government objectives as enshrined in the National Development Strategy including the realization of national poverty eradication as articulated in the Yingcamu [PRSAP].

The Department executes its mandate through two major sections, namely the Local Government Section and the Engineering Section. Within the Engineering Section, there is a Mobile Maintenance Unit whose main focus is to assist the smaller (town boards and town councils) with infrastructure maintenance as well as undertaking of small capital projects.

Functions and Structure of the Department

The department has two operational sections, namely, Local Government and Engineering.


Policies & Legislations used by the Department
Urban Policy of 1996
Urban Government Act of 1969
Rating Act of 1995
Building and Housing Act of 1969
Environmental Management Act of 2002
Burial of Dead Bodies Act of 1970
Public Health Act of 1969
Urban Area Regulations

Directorate: Mr. Tito Simelane
Postal Address: P.O. Box 1832
Physical Address: Income Tax Building
Mhlambanyatsi Road
Third Floor
Telephone: +268 2404 1742 +268 404 6043

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