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n Journal of Public Administration - An evaluation of the efficacy of the Eastern Cape provincial legislature : the case of the portfolio committees
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 section 114(2) 'a provincial legislature must provide for mechanisms to ensure that all provincial executive organs of state in the province are accountable to it; and to maintain oversight of the exercise of provincial executive authority in the province including the implementation of legislation...' To fulfil this constitutional obligation a provincial legislature appoints members to constitute Parliamentary Standing Committees which perform oversight functions over the activities of public institutions. The purpose of this article is to determine or ascertain the effectiveness of Portfolio Committees in ensuring that departments carry out on their mandate of delivering a better life for all through efficient, effective rendering of services by enhancing service delivery in the Province of the Eastern Cape.
The first part of the article examines the role of Portfolio Committees in exercising their constitutional and legislative mandate in relation to oversight, particularly in determining whether departmental priorities are carried out and in holding MEC's accountable through their role and ability to interrogate budgets and annual reports. The article also highlights the role played by the Portfolio Committees in dealing with the National Council of Provinces section 76 bills and some of the problems associated with the public hearings involving these bills. It further highlights some adverse reports on the Eastern Cape Provincial administration.
The last part of the article explores the relationship between Portfolio Committees and government officials; a relationship that on occasion is fraught with and characterised by tension and conflict. Furthermore, it attempts to provide ways to ameliorate this relationship.
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