A Comparative Overview of Elements of Political Economy of Urban Governance in the Global South: The cases of eThekwini Municipality (South Africa) and Cochin Municipality (India)


Author(s): Bhoola Sheetal, Chetty Dasarath, Moolakkattu John, Ngcobo Nolwazi & Chathukulam Jos

With rapid urbanization and migration to cities, particularly in developing nations, the focus and emphasis on city governance, politics, institutional capacity, and sustainability issues have become paramount in critical analyses and policy discussions. This paper examines the functional complexities of two large Municipalities in two port cities located in South Africa and India, specifically eThekwini (the city of Durban in the province of KwaZulu-Natal) and Cochin (in the state of Kerala). Following a brief overview of the characteristics of the two Municipalities, the paper delves into the system of governance, level of autonomy, participatory structures in place, the extent to which they can respond to the service delivery demands of the public in an inclusive manner, and approaches to addressing climate change concerns. The paper is contextualised with reference to the theoretical concept of the Right to the City