Local government decentralised reforms in South Africa : a comparative perspective

Barle, Daniel George (2000-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: All the countries in the world at one or another stage undergo reform or transformation primarily for political reasons and/or to adapt to the challenges and demands placed on the national governments by their electorate or populace. The type of reforms, that is, centralised or decentralised which are implemented in turn is dependent on the political conditions that prevail in a country as well as its system of government. Any reforms which take place, whether in a developed or developing country, will have an impact on its political system as well as governmental structures which in turn will influence the intergovernmental relations in that country. Thus, any reforms implemented in a country with a centralised system of government will result in the weakening of the position of the national government in terms of power and functions. Conversely, reforms introduced in a country with a decentralised system of government will invariably strengthen the national government and weaken the lower levels of government in terms of legislation and executive power and functions. For the purpose of this dissertation, the following criteria have been identified for comparison in respect of the decentralised reforms which have been implemented in the selected developed and developing countries, namely: • political system; • local political structure; • local functions; and • local finance. The decentralised reforms which have taken place in the selected countries since the 1960's were evaluated individually in respect of the aforementioned criteria, whereupon a comparative evaluation was made between South Africa and the developing countries, namely, Botswana and Nigeria, as well as between South Africa and the selected developed countries, namely, Britain and the United States of America. The foregoing evaluations infer alia revealed that decentralisation was implemented in the selected countries in various degrees or forms, namely, deconcentration, delegation, devolution and privatisation, the latter form by way of contracting out and/or by local authorities playing an enabling or facilitating role in respect of the provision of facilities and services. Flowing from the evaluations, an integrated approach was followed to formulate an effective system of local government for South Africa with regard to the four criteria identified for the study, bearing in mind infer alia that South Africa is an advanced developing country, which in turn has an impact on the extent of the decentralised reforms which can practically be implemented. The macro organisational decentralised reform proposals regarding the political system in South Africa entail: • the separation of the legislative and the executive; • the granting of greater guaranteed autonomy to the provincial and local governments; and • the provision of local charters and listing of municipalities in the Constitution of 1996. Turning to the local political structure, a decentralised two tier structure is proposed for metropolitan areas, a three tier structure for non-metropolitan areas, that is, the districts as well as the establishment of land boards in tribal areas and the appointment of commissioners in the districts to facilitate development planning and to eo-ordinate the activities of the provincial and local government agencies. With regard to the third criteria identified for the study, various functions are proposed to either be devolved or delegated to the local sphere of government, the functions to be executed by the different tiers of local government within the context of the decentralisation, functions which should be eontracted out by local government and in respect of which functions private-public partnerships should be established with relevant bodies or organisations. Finally, additional sources of revenue are proposed for municipalities in both the metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas, the increase in the rate of certain levies and taxes, the transfer of certain taxes between the tiers of local government, the introduction of a hybrid system of local government finance and for an integrated plan to be developed for the management of public finance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: AI die lande in die wêreld ondergaan op een of ander tydstip hervorming en transformasie hoofsaaklik vir politieke redes en/of om aan te pas by die vereistes en uitdagings wat op nationale regerings deur die bevolking of kiesers geplaas word. Die soort hervorming, dit wel sê, sentralisasie of desentralisasie wat geïmplementeer word, is op sy beurt afhanklik van die politieke toestande wat in 'n land heers, asook die land se stelsel van regering. Enige hervormings wat plaasvind, hetsy in 'n ontwikkelde of ontwikkelende land, sal 'n impak hê op sy politieke stelsel asook owerheidstrukture wat weer op sy beurt 'n invloed sal hê op die interowerheidsverhoudinge in daardie land. Derhalwe, enige hervorming wat in 'n land met 'n gesentraliseerde stelsel van regering geïmplementeer word, sal die posisie van die nasionale regering verswak in terme van magte en funksies. Daarenteen, sal enige hervormings wat in 'n land met 'n gedesentraliseerde stelsel van regering geïmplementeer word, die posisie van die nasionale regering in terme van wetgewende en uitvoerende magte en funksies, versterk en dié van die laer vlakke van regering verswak. Vir die doel van hierdie verhandeling, is die volgende kriteria geïdentifiseer vir vergelyking met betrekking tot die desentralisering hervormings wat geïmplementeer is in die geïdentifiseerde ontwikkelde en ontwikkelende lande, naamlik: • politieke stelsel; • plaaslike politieke struktuur; • plaaslike funksies; en • plaaslike finansies. Die desentralisering hervormings wat in die geïdentifiseerde lande sedert die 1960's plaasgevind het, is individueel ge-evalueer met betrekking tot bogenoemde kriteria, waarna 'n vergelykende evaluasie tussen Suid-Afrika en die geïdentifiseerde ontwikkelende lande, naamlik, Botswana en Nigerië, asook tussen Suid-Afrika en die geïdentifiseerde ontwikkelde lande, naamlik, Brittanje en die Verenigde State van Amerika, gemaak is. Die voorafgaande evaluasies het onder andere aan die lig gebring dat desentralisasie in die geïdentifiseerde lande in verskeie grade of vorms geïmplementeer was, naamlik, dekonsentrasie, delegasie, devolusie en privatisering, die laasgenoemde vorm deur middel van uitkontraktering en/of deur plaaslike owerhede wat 'n ondersteunende of fasiliterende rol speel met betrekking tot die voorsiening van geriewe en dienste. Voortspruitend uit die evaluasies, is 'n geïntegreerde benadering gevolg om 'n effektiewe stelsel van plaaslike regering vir Suid-Afrika te formuleer met verwysing na die vier kriteria wat vir die studie geïdentifiseer is, met inagneming inter alia van die feit dat Suid-Afrika 'n gevorderde ontwikkelende land is, wat op sy beurt 'n impak het op die omvang van die gedesentraliseerde hervorming wat prakties geïmplementeer kan word. Die makro-organisatoriese gedesentraliseerde hervormingsvoorstelle betreffende die politiese stelsel in Suid-Afrika behels: • die skeiding tussen die regsprekende en die uitvoerende magte; • die toekenning van groter gewaarborgde outonomie aan die provinsiale en plaaslike regerings; en • die voorsiening van selfbeskikkingshandveste en notering van munisipaliteite in die Grondwet van 1996. Met verwysing na die plaaslike politieke struktuur, word 'n gedesentraliseerde twee-vlak struktuur vir metropolitaanse gebiede voorgestel, en 'n drie-vlak struktuur vir nie metropolitaanse gebiede, dit wil sê vir distrikte sowel as die vestiging van landelike rade in stamgebiede en die aanstelling van kommissarisse in distrikte om ontwikkelingsbeplanning te fasiliteer en om die aktiwiteite van die provinsiale en plaaslike regeringsagentskappe te koordineer. Met verwysing na die derde kriteria wat vir die studie geïdentifiseer is, word verskeie funksies voorgestel wat op die plaaslike sfeer van regering afgewentel of gedelegeer kan word, funksies wat deur die verskillende vlakke van plaaslike regering binne die konteks van desentralisasie uitgevoer kan word, funksies wat deur die plaaslike regering uitgekontrakteer kan word en met verwysing na funksies waar privaat-publieke vennootskappe met betrokke liggame en organisasies gestig behoort te word. Ter afsluiting word addisionele bronne van inkomste vir munisipaliteite voorgestel in beide metropolitaanse en nie-metropolitaanse gebiede, die verhoging van die skaal van bepaalde heffings en belastings, die oordra van bepaalde belastings tussen die vlakke van plaaslike regering, die instelling van 'n gemengde stelsel van munisipale finansies en 'n geïntegreerde plan wat vir die bestuur van openbare finansies ontwikkel kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51820
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