Whither provinces: Does provincial government matter to local government and participatory local democracy?

On 15 March 2012, Isandla Institute and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will host a Roundtable dialogue titled Whither provinces: Does provincial government matter to local government and participatory local democracy?.

In the recent past, there have been a number of discussions about the future of South Africa's provincial governments. These have largely emanated from within the structures of the African National Congress (ANC) and that of its Alliance partners. These discussions have centred on various issues but largely raise political, economic, and structural and administration (efficiency) questions. Currently, there is also an ongoing discussion in the public discourse about the crisis in some provincial departments pronounced even more by the National Treasury's recent use of Section 100 of the Constitution to intervene in a number of provinces: Limpopo, Gauteng and Free State provinces (albeit in different formats). However, less is said about the impact of these on local government and governance

The Roundtable will deliberate on the following broad issues/questions, amongst others:

  • The role provincial government plays in the current governance system and the arguments provided to retain/merge/scrap the current system
  • The nature of problems with provincial government as a system and/or specific provincial administrations
  • From the perspective of local government and local democracy, what are the benefits/drawbacks if provincial government in South Africa is retained, merged or scrapped?
  • What are the implications for the powers and functions of local government and for overall municipal functioning? (What does it mean for the two-tier system of local government?)
  • What are the likely implications for regional political structures and how could this affect the functioning of municipalities and local political structures?

Further details will follow.

Mar 15, 2012

Cape Town

Isandla Institute
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