Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Bill 

President Thabo Mbeki: 'All spheres of govt must work together' 

Empangeni, South Africa 

05 November 2004 14:44 

The three levels of government should work together to ensure better coordination in the formulation and implementation of policies, President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday. 

Speaking in Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal at a sitting of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mbeki said it is important for the three spheres of government to work together in an integrated way. 

"This past Wednesday, on the 3rd of November, Cabinet approved the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Bill whose objective is, among others, to make all spheres of government to work together," Mbeki said. 

"This is very important because the three spheres of government ... have to work together in an integrated way. 

"This Bill is important because we know that in the past there were instances when the different spheres of government were not sufficiently coordinating their programmes." 

He said the NCOP has a duty to ensure that the different levels of government collaborate "as they should" so that reconstruction and development happens faster. 

At a recent presidential imbizo in Mpumalanga, many people complained about a lack of clean water, electricity, housing, roads and poor service from councillors. 

Mbeki said although much has been accomplished in the past 10 years, many challenges remain. 

"Part of these challenges is that many of our municipalities, which are central to the implementation of government policies, still do not have the necessary capacity, even where resources are available, to implement government programmes and ensure that there is sustainable delivery of basic services." 

The president said strong, effective municipalities are necessary to deliver basic services. 

"As we know, there are serious delivery backlogs which have denied millions of our people the possibility of a better life. 

"We are aware of municipalities with large communities that have no access to clean water, sanitation and electricity." 
To ensure change in these municipalities, partnerships with all sectors of society have to be formed. 

Mbeki said a support project for local government structures was launched this week under the leadership of Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi. 

At provincial level, project-management units and more support structures will be established to "ensure that provinces collaborate with municipalities to bring about better capacity and improved levels of service delivery". 

Mbeki called on the NCOP to join this "people's contract" and to help in whatever way necessary to "add capacity to local government structures". 

"This is important because these interventions are part of government's broader programme of creating work and fighting poverty. 
"It is a critical part of our reconstruction and development programme, through which we seek to achieve a people's centred development." 


3 November 2004 

At its meeting today, Cabinet in principle approved the process towards the restructuring of medical assistance for all public service employees, which would culminate in the setting up of a Restricted Membership Medical Scheme. This scheme is aimed at ensuring equity in terms of coverage and access to basic benefits, and efficiency in respect of costs and delivery. Cabinet decided that, in the immediate, while other work is continuing, an application should be lodged for the registration of the Scheme in terms of the Medical Schemes Act, with effect from 1 January 2005 

Cabinet was briefed on a programme of action leading up to the holding of local government elections in 2005/06. The programme entails, among other steps, determination of the number of councillors, determination and publication of boundaries of municipalities and public hearings on these and voter registration. A National Task Team will be set up to oversee and monitor these preparations; and it will include Ministers of Home Affairs and Provincial and Local Government as well as the Chairpersons of the IEC and the Municipal Demarcation Board. 

The meeting reviewed and welcomed steps that had been taken by government to deal with matters pertaining to the heritage and status of Khoi-San communities in our country. It agreed that further work was required in respect of according these communities first nation status; promoting heritage, language and education; attending to historical land claims and agricultural assistance; and addressing difficulties that undermine social cohesion within these communities. 

The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament: 

* Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill, which outlines the functions of the three spheres of government and procedures and structures in their relationship; 

* Co-operatives Bill, which defines policy on development of co-operatives; 

* Nursing Bill, which aims to improve regulation of the nursing profession to better serve the public and in this regard redefine the mandate of the Nursing Council; 
* Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill, which seeks to improve equity, fairness and transparency in the operations of the fund; and 

* Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, which regularises acts of registration and liability as it applies to certain members of body corporates. 

The meeting decided to release the following Bills for public comment: 

* Auditing Profession Bill which provides for registration and regulation of auditors and the setting up of an Independent Regulatory Board; 
* Co-operatives Banks Bill which provides a framework for the Co-operative banks industry; and 
* Dedicated Banks Bill which aims at the setting up of banks providing specific services to consumers to whom such services have hitherto not been available. 

The meeting also approved an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Policy which defines a framework to ensure that traditional knowledge of South Africa's indigenous people is accorded its rightful place alongside other knowledge systems. The policy cuts across cultural, health, educational, commercial and scientific domains. To support this initiative, an Advisory Committee, national office and Fund will be set up; and intellectual property legislation will be reviewed. 

Cabinet was briefed on progress thus far in the Taxi Recapitalisation Project, and it agreed with the principles pertaining to a revised approach in this regard. Announcements on this matter will be made during the course of this week. 

Cabinet approved the appointment of a Deputy Director-General for African Multilateral Affairs in the Department of Foreign Affairs. It also noted the appointment by the President of the following senior officers in the SANDF: 

* Rear Admiral M Mudimu as Chief of the SA Navy in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from March 2005; 
* Major General C Gagiano as Chief of the SA Air Force in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from March 2005; and 
* Major General SZ Binda as Chief of Joint Support in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from November 2004. 
The President and Cabinet wish to express their gratitude to the retiring Chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force for their loyal and dedicated service to the country. 

Cabinet noted the interaction between the South African government and the main political parties in Zimbabwe, in an effort to contribute to the normalisation of the situation in that country, and the holding of free and fair elections. The meeting welcomed the appreciation on the part of these role-players of the contribution to this end being made by SA, together with other SADC countries. 

Cabinet expressed the hope and confidence that matters pertaining to structures and processes relating to the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe would be resolved as soon as possible, in line with the SADC Guidelines on the conduct of elections. Government remains firmly convinced that these and other issues are best handled by Zimbabweans themselves, and that our role in SADC is to lend a hand. In this regard, our own conduct as government and civil society in SA should be informed by the desire to promote, rather than undermine, the attainment of these objectives. 

The meeting noted the expressions of stronger commitment to build partnerships which have been articulated in all recent engagements in the Presidential Working Groups with various sectors of society. These include the recent Working Group meeting with religious leaders, as well as the meeting yesterday with the Jewish Board of Deputies. 

With regard to the latter, Cabinet noted and welcomed the assessment of the Board that the Jewish community in SA had never in its history felt as safe, appreciated, at home and unthreatened in our diverse society. Government, working with all sectors of society, will continue to strengthen unity among all South Africans, including through the ongoing struggle against racism, gender discrimination, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. 

3 November 2004 

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS) 

Address delivered by Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the National Council of Provinces workshop
Villa Via Hotel, Cape Town 
5 JULY 2004 


Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Joyce Kgoali,
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, 
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, MJ Mahlangu and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, 
Provincial Speakers and Deputy Speakers,
Chief Whip of the National Assembly, Mbulelo Goniwe, 
National and Provincial Whips, 
Chairperson and Members of SALGA, 
Colleagues and comrades, 

I am pleased that we are able to meet to discuss a matter of such critical importance, the effective coordination between the National Council of Provinces, provincial legislatures and structures of local governance. 

Let me begin by congratulating the NCOP for launching NCOP Vision 2019 last week, which provides a clear guide regarding the direction the Council believes would enable it to best serve the citizens of this country. 

Comrades, this workshop takes place at an opportune moment, given that we are focusing even more on accelerating and improving service delivery throughout the country in this second decade of freedom. It is therefore of utmost importance that our structures of governance align themselves and be ready to meet such objectives. 

Chairperson, fortunately we have clear guidelines regarding the task at hand today, because our Constitution eloquently outlines the relationship between the spheres of government. 

Chapter 3 of the Constitution binds all spheres of government to a culture of cooperation, mutual assistance, support, consultation and co-ordination for the good of the country. 

The proposed Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill further provides the possibility for the state to function more as an integrated, coherent and cohesive unit. On the legislative side, the NCOP is tasked with the responsibility of bringing together all spheres of government, as mandated by the Constitution. The NCOP is therefore unique as it is where the three spheres of government meet. 

According to our Constitution the three spheres are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. 

The relationship of regulation and oversight of government defines how the three spheres are interrelated. Provinces and municipalities exercise their distinctive powers within set regulatory and oversight framework. 

Provinces exercise their powers and perform their functions within the regulatory frameworks set by national government. The national sphere retains the responsibility for monitoring compliance with those frameworks, and if needs be, to intervene when constitutional or statutory obligations are not fulfilled. 

On the local government front, the completion of the restructuring process has also prepared this sphere for more active participation in enhancing the cooperation of the three spheres. 

After a long phased transition that began in 1993, a new system of local government came into being in December 2000, and 843 local authorities were restructured into 284 democratically elected municipalities throughout the country. 

The tasks of municipalities require, amongst other things, that they directly include communities within processes of municipal governance, utilise resources for socio-economic development within their municipal area, and extend service delivery to redress the legacy of inequality by meeting basic needs. 

Local Government is positioned as a key site for service delivery and is a catalyst for local economic development in the next decade. Therefore, this should put a lot of pressure to bear on the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), to improve on the manner in which municipalities have been conducting their business. 

During the massive door to door campaign conducted during the elections, the majority of households complained about poor municipal service delivery which included inferior water and electricity service provision and poor customer care which included inaccurate billing systems. 

We can do all we can to make municipalities successful financially, but if we do not get the basic customer care or Batho Pele issues right, ordinary citizens will continue to say the local government sphere is failing them. 

We must acknowledge that some members of SALGA are already looking at resolving these challenges. The NCOP is best suited to perform an oversight role in this regard, to ensure that municipalities indeed meet the expectations of residents. 

Provinces should also be on hand to assist in improving these services, thereby providing the seamless efficient service provision from spheres of government simultaneously, with Parliament, especially the NCOP, being the eyes and ears of the public. 

Chairperson, let me emphasise that the NCOP can be described as the institutionalisation of the principles of co-operative governance at national legislative level, since it brings the national, provincial and local government spheres into a single structure. 

It therefore provides a mechanism for improving interaction and co-operation between governmental spheres, and to ensuring the responsiveness of national government to provincial and local government matters. 

In this regard, the NCOP also plays a very critical oversight role, in terms of executive action. 

This includes oversight role related to intergovernmental relations and co-operative governance at national executive level in the following areas: 

* The intervention by the national executive in a province or by the provincial executive in a municipality, in terms of section 100(1) (b) and 139(1)(b) of the Constitution;

* Disputes concerning the administrative capacity of provinces in terms of section 125. Tied to this is the broader oversight role of the NCOP in ensuring that national government carries out its obligations to build capacity in provinces and that provinces carry out obligations to build capacity at local government level;

* General oversight of the executive on provincial matters, in terms of the role and function of the NCOP, and accountability of Cabinet in terms of section 92. 

As the custodian of intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance, the NCOP needs to critically review the current oversight role that it is playing, against the interest of ensuring that the state is providing an effective, integrated and sustainable development to poor, underdeveloped and marginalised communities. 

Although intergovernmental relations are primarily an executive function, legislatures have an important intergovernmental role to play. Legislatures are responsible for the formal adoption of laws that confer powers on the executive and administration, and thus for overseeing their implementation. 

In this sense, legislatures play a critical role in promoting intergovernmental cooperation. The expanded role of legislative committees in overseeing performance of administrations provides considerable scope for voluntary cooperation between legislative committees, with many potential benefits for improving the quality of governance and oversight. 

The NCOP also plays a key role in processing Section 76 legislation, but we need to ask ourselves whether the provincial legislatures are given enough room to participate in this process effectively, and how can we improve their participation. 

We also need to ensure that representatives from various provinces take full advantage of the NCOP process to ensure that our legislation is informed by people's realities on the ground. 

Chairperson, we are raising these issues and challenges so that the NCOP, Provinces and structures of local governance should realise the important tasks that the constitution requires them to perform. 

We are also discussing these matters to make sure that the NCOP effectively fulfils its role of being the custodian of inter-governmental relations and co-operative governance. 

We can then be able to cement the relations between the executive and parliament, for the objective of improving the service we all provide to the people of this country. 

I thank you. 

Issued by: The Presidency
5 June 2004