South African Government

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Structure and functions of the South African Government

Introduction
Government clusters
National Development Plan
Monitoring and evaluation
Government priorities

 

 

Introduction

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.

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.

Legislative authority

Parliament (national)

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

Executive authority

Cabinet (national)

• President
• Deputy President
• Ministers

Legislative authority (provincial)

Provincial Legislature

Executive authority (provincial)

Executive council

• 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
• Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC)

Government clusters

Government clusters are groupings of government departments with cross-cutting programmes. They 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.

Economic Sectors, Investment, Employment and Infrastructure Development

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Mineral Resources and Energy (Chair)
  • Tourism (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
  • Communications and Digital Technologies
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • Employment and Labour
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
  • Finance
  • Higher Education, Science and Innovation
  • Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
  • International Relations and Cooperation
  • Police
  • Public Enterprises
  • Public Works and Infrastructure
  • Small Business Development
  • State Security
  • The Presidency
  • Trade, Industry and Competition
  • Transport
  • Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (in The Presidency)

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
  • Minister of Tourism

Governance, State Capacity and Institutional Development

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Chair)
  • Public Service and Administration (Chair)
  • Finance
  • Home Affairs
  • Justice and Correctional Services
  • Public Enterprises
  • The Presidency
  • Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (in The Presidency)

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Minister of CoGTA
  • Minister of Public Service and Administration

Social Protection, Community and Human Development

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Health (Chair)
  • Basic Education (Chair)
  • Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
  • Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
  • Employment and Labour
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
  • Higher Education, Science and Innovation
  • Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation
  • Justice and Correctional Services
  • Public Works and Infrastructure
  • Small Business Development
  • Social Development
  • Sport, Arts and Culture
  • The Presidency
  • Transport
  • Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (in The Presidency)

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Minister of Health
  • Minister of Basic Education

International Cooperation, Trade and Security

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Sport, Arts and Culture (Chair)
  • Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (Chair)
  • Communications and Digital Technologies
  • Defence and Military Veterans
  • Finance
  • International Relations and Cooperation
  • Justice and Correctional Services
  • Mineral Resources and Energy
  • State Security
  • The Presidency
  • Tourism
  • Trade, Industry and Competition

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture
  • Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Justice, Crime Prevention and Security

The departments in this cluster are:

  • Defence and Military Veterans (Chair)
  • Police (Chair)
  • Finance
  • Home Affairs
  • International Relations and Cooperation
  • Justice and Correctional Services
  • Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (The Presidency)
  • Social Development
  • State Security
  • Small Business Development
  • Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (in The Presidency)

Co-Chairpersons:

  • Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
  • Minister of Police

National Development Plan (NDP) 

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)

This function 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 programme has also been successful in elevating monitoring and evaluation to strategic levels in certain sector departments, several of which have developed their own iterations of the programme. One of the key focuses of the programme is on monitoring the implementation of the National Youth Policy. The Presidential Hotline is also located in this branch.

The programme assesses the following:

  • Transport: driver’s licence testing centres.
  • Education: schools.
  • Health: hospitals, clinics, community health centres.
  • Home Affairs.
  • Local Government: municipal customer care centres.
  • The National Youth Development Agency.
  • The South African Police Service: police stations.
  • South African Social Security

Government priorities

The NDP sets out a long-term vision for the country and is the programme through which South Africa aims to advance radical economic transformation through development planning. Government’s 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework outlines the priorities to be implemented in the Sixth Administration and the interventions required across South Africa’s national development pillars.

The seven priorities are:

  • Economic transformation and job creation;
  • Education, skills and health;
  • Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services;
  • Spatial integration, human settlements and local government;
  • Social cohesion and safe communities;
  • A capable, ethical and developmental state; and
  • A better Africa and World.

Transforming South Africa into a developmental state requires building critical and necessary capabilities to foster an environment, which mobilises government and non-government contributions to realise changes in the socio-economic structure and the culture of society.

Over the medium term, government will prioritise engagement between the leadership of the executive, legislature and judiciary on strengthening governance and accountability. During this period, government further commits to manage the political administrative interface more effectively, reduce the levels of fraud and corruption in the private and public sectors, and rationalise the Public Service Governance System.

Source: South Africa Yearbook 2020/21

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