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In South Africa, a metropolitan municipality or Category A municipality is a municipality which executes all the functions of local government for a city or conurbation. This is by contrast to areas which are primarily rural, where the local government is divided into district municipalities and local municipalities.
The Constitution, section 155.1.a, defines "Category A" municipalities. In the Municipal Structures Act it is laid out that this type of local government is to be used for conurbations, "centre[s] of economic activity", areas "for which integrated development planning is desirable", and areas with "strong interdependent social and economic linkages".
The metropolitan municipality is similar to the consolidated city-county in the USA, although a South African metropolitan municipality is created by notice of the provincial government, not by agreement between district and local municipalities.
Metropolitan municipalities were brought about so that cities could be governed as single entities. This had not been possible under the fragmented local government structures of apartheid. A key demand of anti-apartheid civics in the 1980s was for 'one city, one tax base' in order to facilitate distribution of funds to areas of highest need. Local government reform after apartheid produced six Transitional Metropolitan Councils following the 1995/6 local government elections. These were characterized by a two-tier structure.  From 2000, these six Metropolitan Councils were restructured into their final single-tier form. In 2011, Buffalo City (East London) and Mangaung (Bloemfontein) were added to the category of metropolitan municipality.
|Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality||BUF||Eastern Cape||East London||2,750||834,997||303.6|
|City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality||CPT||Western Cape||Cape Town||2,446||4,005,016||1,637.6|
|City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality||JHB||Gauteng||Johannesburg||1,645||4,949,347||3,008.8|
|City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality||TSH||Gauteng||Pretoria||6,298||3,275,152||520.0|
|City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality||EKU||Gauteng||Germiston||1,975||3,379,104||1,710.6|
|eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality||ETH||KwaZulu-Natal||Durban||2,556||3,702,231||1,448.5|
|Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality||MAN||Free State||Bloemfontein||9,886||787,803||79.7|
|Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality||NMA||Eastern Cape||Port Elizabeth||1,957||1,263,051||645.4|