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National Assembly Budget Vote Debate on the occassion of the Presidency Vote 1 by Nono Maloyi ANC (MP) NA House Whip and Whip of the Study Group on Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries

22 May 2018

STRENGHTHENING THE INTEGRATED APPROACH TO COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE

Honourable Members,

It is important to give legislative context to the challenges facing the effective implementation of Cooperative Governance across the three spheres of government.

The intention of this is to recognize the work of the Presidency and offer some practical solutions towards strengthening an integrated approach to cooperative governance in this debate.

Chapter 3 of the Constitution explicitly makes provision for Cooperative Governance. Section 40(1) describes our Country as having three spheres of Government.  These spheres remain distinctive, inter-dependent and interrelated and they must conduct their activities within the parameters of their mandate. 

Honourable Speaker,

Two scholars, Steytler and De Visser in their writings, explain distinctiveness as the autonomy that spheres have in respect of their powers and functions, whereas interrelatedness explains the relationship between three spheres of government and interdependence explains the dependence of the spheres on one another. I think it is important to note this fundamental relationships as we debate the subject in question.

Honourable Members,

These relationships between the three Spheres of Government remains the glue that binds them together, the oil that smoothes their functions and the thread that ties them together to effect service delivery in a more integrated approach to our communities.

Section 41(g) of the Constitution gives guarantee that when the spheres of government  exercise their powers and functions, they must do so  in a manner that does not encroach on the geographical, functional or institutional integrity of Government in another sphere.

Furthermore, Section 41(h) demands that their powers must be exercised within the context of the Principles of Cooperative Governance and intergovernmental relations which seeks to foster friendly relations, assisting and supporting one another, informing another, consulting one another on matters of mutual interest and must avoid legal proceedings against each other.

It is important to note that the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, provides for all three spheres and all organs of state to facilitate and align priorities, objectives and strategies to co-ordinate the implementation of policy and legislation. 

Having said that Honourable Members,

Section 154(1) of our Constitution imposes responsibilities on National and Provincial Government to ensure support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and perform their functions.

Honourable Speaker,

We must acknowledge some of the challenges that Cooperative Governance continues to face. The Presidency’s Ten Year Review in 2004 observed that, in practice, there was little alignment between policy planning and implementation in the three Spheres of Government.

The integration of planning and implementation across the three spheres remained a major challenge with poor monitoring of the implementation of policy, legislation and realisation of national priorities.

Hence there was an urgent need for the Government led by African National Congress to establish the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation located in the Presidency.

Honourable Speaker,

One of the main contributing factors to public protests and instability is poor co-operation, implementation and co-ordination between the various spheres of government. There is a direct relationship between the poor service delivery, public protests and poor cooperative governance.  

We can advance our argument that, cooperative governance faces certain challenges and stumbling blocks. It is not a case of structures and processes being problematic, but the problem lies within the implementation of principles and working operational relations between good governance and intergovernmental relationships.

There are competitive forces and dysfunctional styles of work across the spheres which impede cooperation between the spheres and cause unnecessary tension. The result is fragmentation, duplication, inefficient implementation, ineffectiveness and a lack of accountability. This also results in a negative influence on service delivery as is the case in various municipalities across the country.

It is crucial Honourable Speaker,

That the powers and functions of the different spheres must be interpreted correctly. If not, cooperation will be impaired.

The different spheres of government are not truly equal, since the Constitution provides for extensive overriding and overseeing. In other words, spheres overstep their boundaries in terms of powers and functions. Tension and confusion over the roles of various spheres exist.
 
Intergovernmental relations are hampered because of unpredictable and incoherent processes in executing key national development priorities. It must be clearly stated that the problem concerning service delivery can be attributed in a large part to poor inter-governmental relations which are managed on an ad-hoc basis. Services are not integrated or coordinated through the three spheres of government.

Hence there is a dire need to understand the intergovernmental relations with a clear distribution of functions between the various spheres.

In response to all these challenges and as part of strengthening an integrated approach towards cooperative governance; the glorious movement of the people, the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, in its 54th National Conference in December 2018 has resolved that:

The Presidency is the strategic centre of governance. The strategic centre must be the central driver of the developmental state; Cooperate Governance must be enacted to deal with issues relating to the efficiency of national government support to local government and provinces; harmonization of powers and functions of local government and provinces;

The Presidential Commission to review the powers, functions and number of provinces must be urgently established.

The Office of the President has translated these resolutions into its strategic goals in the Annual Performance Plan (APP) of 2018/19. The Office of the President and Deputy President must be supported to lead integrated planning and policy coherence in government, towards contribution to the realization of vision 2030, the National Development Plan.

Furthermore, the President will visit every national department to engage with the senior leadership to ensure that the work of government is effectively aligned.

Most fundamental, the Office of the President will effectively manage the interface with stakeholders through Presidential working groups to give effect to the commitment outlined in the State of the Nation Address of 2018. This is the provision of leadership at its best! We will keep a close eye on this plan as part of our oversight role.

We also recognize the continued work of the President`s Coordinating Council (PCC) in strengthening intergovernmental relations. This is the structure which facilitates the President`s meeting with Premiers and the South African Local Government Association representing Mayors. In the main the objective of these meetings is to discuss various programmes aimed at improving service delivery at the local government level where our people are.

Honourable Speaker,

Conscious of the work that has been done and which still needs to be done; and in recognizing the vision of the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS in these matters; I need also, to give some practical solutions towards strengthening the integrated approach towards Cooperative Governance. We must attend to the improvement of Cooperative Governance, and in the light of this the following core recommendations are advanced;

One of the first issues which must receive attention is the review of all Inter-Governmental structures. Along with this, policies and legislation in local government must be reviewed in order to improve implementation. The Intergovernmental Forum must be strengthened.

In order to bring about coordination and cooperation, good communication and discussions between the three spheres of government are critical. At the centre of this, is the establishment of trust between the spheres, which to date has been a major challenge.

Monitoring, evaluation, oversight and support systems must be established to promote accountability. The relationship between local, provincial and central government must be shaped so as to give enough policy space to provincial and local government.

Secondly, capacity building and coordination must be enhanced. There must be a review of the process to build capacity in coordinated planning, budgeting and the use of implementation protocols in every sphere of government.

In order to address capacity building, attention must be given to skills. The skills development programme will contribute to an improvement in service delivery. The right balance between coordination, performance and accountability may be the key to better intergovernmental­ relations and to improving the capacity of government to deliver on its key priorities.

Thirdly, it is essential that attention is given to good communication between the ward committee and the community. Performance management agreements for councillors should be implemented and councillors should be responsive and accountable to communities.

The programmes must be put in place in order to measure the efficiency and implementation of service delivery.

Honourable Speaker,

To succeed in implementing these above practical solutions, we need to embrace the following four pillars:

  • Teaming: Successfully working together to achieve common purpose;
  • Accountable Empowerment: Successfully empowering people while at the same time holding them accountable for the delegated power;
  • Strategic Leadership: Successfully articulating the direction/purpose and setting the organization up for this;
  • Democracy: Successfully sustaining a culture in which people choose meaningful ways to participate both for the individual and common good.

In conclusion,

Within the spirit of Cooperative Governance, no matter what the role, the expectation is that everyone is responsible for working together effectively; to be accountable and be able to empower others; be focused on purpose, and participate in ensuring a healthy democracy. This how we can work towards strengthening the integrated approach to cooperative governance.

I thank you.

     
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