n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Does the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005 confirm or suppress national dominance? : aantekeninge

Volume 2006, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



I am on record that within the South African constitutional structure as it functions at present the national government dominates the provinces to such a degree that the latter have become little more than delivery agents for national government (Malherbe "Centralisation of power in education: have provinces become national agents?" 2006 237). I advanced several reasons for this development, including centralising tendencies in the ruling party, an incorrect interpretation of the relevant constitutional provisions, the national and provincial dominance of the ruling party, coupled with the political ambitions of provincial politicians, and the inability of several provinces to perform satisfactorily, playing in other words into the hands of the national government. I specifically also mentioned the fact that existing formal and informal intergovernmental structures as utilised at present tend to favour national domination. They are used simply for obtaining the consent of the provinces for national policies and constitute nothing more than "a one-way traffic system channelling policy initiatives from the national government through to the provinces". This tendency is inconsistent with the objectives of the constitution to constitute viable and effective government in all spheres and with the principle of co-operative government requiring governments to respect one another and co-operate in mutual trust and good faith (s 41(1)()).

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