The Speaker is sometimes referred to as the chairperson of the Municipal Council. The Speaker is elected by a majority of Council members and is responsible for convening Municipal Council meetings, co-ordinating the meeting agenda, enforcing the Code of Conduct, regulating debates and discussions, and conducting meetings of council. The Mayor or Speaker is also responsible for ensuring that Council documents are made public under Section 1 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
The Speaker is the Chairperson of the Municipal Council and presides over meetings. He or she is responsible for managing community participation in Local Government, particularly through the Ward Forums, by ensuring they function effectively. They:
- Presides at meetings of the Council.
- Performs the duties and exercises the powers delegated to the Speaker in terms of Section 32 must ensure that the Council meets at least quarterly.
- Must maintain order during meetings.
- Must ensure compliance in the Council and Council committees with the Code of Conduct set out in Schedule 5, and must ensure that Council meetings are conducted in accordance with the rules and orders of the Council.
Election of Speakers of Municipal Councils (Chapter 3 of the Local Government Municipal Structures Act 1998):
- Each Municipal Council must have a Chairperson who will be called the Speaker.
- At its first sitting after its election or when necessary to fill a vacancy, a Municipal Council must elect its speaker from among the Councillors.
- The Municipal Manager of the municipality or if the Municipal Manager is not available, a person designated by the MEC for local government in the Province, presides over the election of a Speaker.
- The procedure set out in Schedule 3 applies to the election of a Speaker.
- A Councillor may not hold office as Speaker and Mayor or Executive Mayor at the same time, but in a Municipality of a type mentioned in section 9(e) or (f) or 10(c) the Speaker must be called the Mayor.
Term of office:
- The Speaker of a Municipal Council is elected for a term ending, subject to Section 39, when the next Council is declared elected.
Vacation of office:
The Speaker of a Municipal Council vacates office during a term if that person:
- resigns as Speaker;
- is removed from office; or
- ceases to be a Councilor.