n Journal of Public Administration - Generic conditions impacting on the development of structures in Southern African Development Community Countries (SADC) and influencing intergovernmental relations

Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The development of government structures and intergovernmental relations is a challenging task. In SADC countries this is an even greater challenge because government structures and intergovernmental relations are often shaped and influenced by traditional and political conditions. Traditional conditions on the one hand encompass the system of traditional authority where chiefs or traditional leaders are afforded a particular level of power and that is mostly of an advisory nature. Political conditions on the other hand refer to the degree that government structures are centralized or democratized.

Government structures in SADC countries are highly centralized. The centralized nature of these government structures is influenced by issues such as civil wars and tribal conflicts. In addition, SADC countries were historically subjected to colonial governments and colonial rule that resulted in their subsequent need to establish strong national governments after independence. Recently there has, however, been a wave toward a process of democratization. There is a greater civil awareness of the right to vote, the need to respect election results, the protection of free discussion and participation and the inclusion of civil society in the management of state affairs. There is also a deeper understanding of the ideals of the division of power between the various levels or tiers of government and the idea of inclusion rather than exclusion of people in government processes. It is within this context that this paper will reflect on the traditional and political conditions in SADC countries that had an impact on the development of government structures and intergovernmental relations.

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