Structure and functions of the South African Government

Government clusters
National Development Plan
Monitoring and evaluation



South Africa is a constitutional democracy with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own spheres, and are defined in the Constitution as "distinctive, interdependent and interrelated".

Legislative authority

Parliament (national)

• National Assembly (350 – 400 members)
• National Council of Provinces (90 delegates)

Provincial Legislature (provincial)

Executive authority

Cabinet (national)

• President
• Deputy President
• Ministers

Provincial executive councils

• Premier
• Members of the Executive Council

Judicial authority

Courts including the:

• Constitutional Court
• Supreme Court of Appeal
• High courts
• Magistrates' courts

The Judicial Service Commission appoints judges.

State institutions supporting democracy

• Public Protector
• Human Rights Commission
• Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities
• Commission for Gender Equality
• Auditor-General of South Africa
• Independent Communications Authority of South Africa

Operating at both national and provincial levels are advisory bodies drawn from South Africa's traditional leaders. It is a stated intention in the Constitution that the country be run on a system of cooperative governance.

Government is committed to the building of a free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and successful South Africa.

Government clusters

Government clusters foster an integrated approach to governance that is aimed at improving government planning, decision-making and service delivery. The main objective is to ensure proper coordination of all government programmes at national and provincial levels.

The main functions of the clusters are to ensure the alignment of government-wide priorities, facilitate and monitor the implementation of priority programmes and to provide a consultative platform on cross-cutting priorities and matters being taken to Cabinet.

The clusters of the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) mirror the ministerial clusters. The FOSAD clusters provide technical support to the ministerial clusters.

The Director-General (DG) in The Presidency is the chairperson of FOSAD. Ministers enter into delivery agreements with the President, having to give progress reports on their departments’ set targets.

The 12 outcomes identified by Government include:

• improved quality of basic education
• a long and healthy life for all South Africans
• all people in South Africa are and feel safe
• decent employment through inclusive economic growth
• a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path
• an efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network
• vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all
• sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life
• a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system
• environmental assets and natural resources that are well protected and continually enhanced
• a better South Africa and contributing to a better and safer Africa and world
• an efficient, effective and development-oriented Public Service and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship.

Economic Sectors, Employment, Infrastructure Development Cluster

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Rural Development and Land Reform (Chair)
  • Science and Technology (Deputy Chair)
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Communications
  • Economic Development
  • Finance
  • Higher Education and Training
  • Labour
  • Mineral Resources
  • Public Enterprises
  • Environmental Affairs
  • Transport
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Public Works
  • Human Settlements
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • Energy
  • Small Business Development
  • Telecommunications and Postal Services
  • Public Works
  • The Presidency: Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Governance and Administration Cluster

The cluster deals with governance issues, including government’s planning framework, and the monitoring and evaluation of government’s performance. It is through this cluster where the government is able to monitor how the interventions resulting from its various policies affect citizens and what further interventions are necessary to enhance policy efficacy.

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Home Affairs (Chair)
  • Public Service and Administration (Deputy Chair)
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • Justice and Constitutional Development
  • Finance
  • The Presidency: Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and Administration
  • Communications.

Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Social Development (Chair)
  • Basic Education (Deputy Chair)
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • The Presidency: Women
  • Human Settlements
  • Labour
  • Public Works
  • Rural Development and Land Reform
  • Social Development
  • Transport
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Arts and Culture
  • Basic Education
  • Health
  • Higher Education and Training
  • Science and Technology.

International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Defence and Military Veterans (Chair)
  • Telecommunications and Postal Services (Chair)
  • International Relations and Cooperation (Deputy Chair)
  • International Relations and Cooperation
  • Finance
  • Trade and Industry
  • Tourism
  • Environmental Affairs
  • State Security.

Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster

  • Justice and Constitutional Development
  • Defence and Military Veterans (Chair)
  • Police (Deputy Chair)
  • Defence and Military Veterans
  • Home Affairs
  • State Security
  • Police
  • Correctional Services.


Government embarked on the 6th National Imbizo Focus Week of the current administration from 17 to 23 April 2017.

President Jacob Zuma had declared 2017 as the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. The year marked the centenary of the late President and national Chairperson of the ANC, an international icon and hero of the South African liberation struggle. In celebrating his legacy, the National Imbizo Focus Week focused on the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030, which underpins the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019.

National Development Plan (NDP) 2030

The NDP is South Africa’s socio-economic policy blueprint that focuses, among other things, on:

  • eliminating poverty by reducing the proportion of households with a monthly income below R419 per person from 39% to zero and the reduction of inequality
  • increasing employment from 13 million in 2010 to 24 million by 2030
  • broadening the country’s ownership of assets by historically disadvantaged groups
  • ensuring that all children have at least two years of pre-school education and that all children can read and write by Grade 3
  • providing affordable access to healthcare
  • ensuring effective public transport.

Monitoring and evaluation

Institutional Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (IPME)

IPME monitors the quality of management practices in government departments through the Management Performance Assessment Tool.

The Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring programme of IPME is responsible for designing and implementing hands-on service delivery monitoring activities with Offices of the Premier and for setting up and supporting the implementation of citizens-based monitoring systems.

The Presidential Hotline is also located in this branch.

Source: South Africa Yearbook 2016/17

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