Co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations in South Africa : a case study of the Eastern Cape.
The ending of apartheid and the transformation process in South Africa, the transition to democracy brought with them fundamental changes to the form and function of the State. In particular, they bring a restructuring of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations. The responsibilities, functions and powers of the three spheres of government (national, provincial and local) were changed and streamlined as stated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 108 of 1996. The system of intergovernmental relations delineated in the Constitution differs significantly from that of the previous dispensation, particularly in its ambitions to advance democracy and to improve service delivery to all South Africans. Of particular significance is the respect in the fact that instead of the inherently conflicting intergovernmental relations that characterises most modern states, the Constitution actively promotes co-operation between different levels of government. The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, 13 of 2005 was promulgated on 15 August 2005. The Act provides for an institutional framework for the three spheres of government to facilitate coherent government, effective provision of services, monitoring the implementation of policy and legislation, and realisation of developmental goals of government as a whole. All spheres of government must provide effective, efficient, transparent, accountable and coherent government in order to ensure the progressive realisation of constitutional rights. One of the most pervasive challenges facing the country as a developmental state is the need for government to redress poverty, underdevelopment, marginalisation of people and communities and other legacies of apartheid and discrimination. This challenge can only be addressed through a concerted effort by government in all spheres to work together and integrate as far as possible their actions in the provision of service, alleviation of poverty and development of the communities. Co-operation and integration of actions in government depends on a stable and effective system of intergovernmental relations, one in which each of the spheres respect the relative autonomy of the other whilst appreciating the interrelatedness and interdependence of the three spheres. The study elaborated on the research as well as the research problem. In so doing, it further looked at the historical overview of the transition to a democratic South Africa which brought a significant change in the reconfiguration of the state. The studies further deals with a critique of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations in the Eastern Cape and discuss the perspective on service delivery. In order to critically evaluate the notion of co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations in South Africa with specific reference to Eastern Cape, the study recommended that intergovernmental planning and budgeting, management of change, support and capacity building, communication and stakeholder engagement and institutional arrangement interventions be embarked upon.
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