Government in South Africa is in three spheres – National government, Provincial Government, and Local government. The three are independent but also interdependent, and meant to work together for the benefits of the whole country. Additionally, they have constitutionally spelt out roles and responsibilities that they must adhere to.
The role of Provincial Government in South Africa is vast, as it has the power to make provincial laws and to adopt a constitution for its province when necessary. Despite that the country has a national Parliament which possesses general authority as far as the whole affairs of the country is concerned, the South African Constitution still permits each province in the country to own its own legislature. Provincial legislature is made up of between 30 and 80 members.
Role Of Provincial Government In South Africa
For clarity purposes, we should first explain that each South African province is permitted by the Constitution to operate its own legislature. The provincial legislatures are made up of between 30 and 80 members, elected in terms of proportional representation.
Also, there is the executive council in each province in South Africa. This is made up of a premier (who is appointed by the President of South Africa) as well as several MECs. Just like it is available in the national Cabinet, even at this level too, decisions are arrived at by consensus.
Basically, the role of the provincial legislature majorly revolves around making provincial laws. The Constitution permits that if two thirds of its members should arrive at a consensus, they can adopt a constitution for the province. However, since the national level is supreme in the country, then whatever will be done at the provincial level has to correspond with the national Constitution.
Provinces in South Africa have legislative and executive powers over:
B. Casinos, racing, gambling and wagering
C. Cultural affairs
D. Education at all levels (except for university and university of technology education)
F. Health services
G. Human settlements
H. Language policy
I. Nature conservation
J. Police services
K. Provincial public media
L. Public transport
M. Regional planning and development
N. Road traffic regulation
P. Trade and industrial promotion
Q. Traditional authorities
R. Urban and rural development
S. Vehicle licensing
T. Welfare services
With this, each province don’t really need to wait for the National government on certain things. They can be as proactive as they can be, and ensure the progress of their province as much as they possess the administrative capacity to effect appropriate responsibilities.
Additionally, Provinces in South Africa have exclusive oversight over areas like:
B. Ambulance services
C. Liquor licences
D. Museums (aside the national museums)
E. Provincial planning
F. Provincial cultural matters
G. Provincial recreational activities
H. Provincial roads and traffic.
This is important for several good reasons. We should first take note of the fact that, while the national government has overall authority, the provincial government is closer to each province in the country, and they are more sensitive to the needs of each province than what is available at national level. Therefore, a very responsible and effective provincial government can effect great changes in their jurisdiction, and determine the extent of the progress the province will record.
Provinces In South Africa
There are nine provinces in South Africa as things stand now. These provinces are of different sizes, with the smallest being Gauteng (which is ironically populous and greatly urbanised). Aside what is available at the National sphere of government, each province in South Africa also has its own Legislature, Premier and Executive Council.
We should also note that the country has three capitals, so as to get government presence around different regions. One is Cape Town, in the province of Western Cape (this is where Parliament is located, thus making Cape Town the legislative capital of South Africa). Secondly is Bloemfontein, in Free State (this is where the Supreme Court of Appeal is located, making Bloemfontein the country’s judicial capital). The third is Pretoria, in the province of Gauteng (South Africa’s the administrative capital).
Here are the nine South African provinces:
1. Eastern Cape
2. Free State
7. Northern Cape
8. North West
9. Western Cape
Eastern Cape has a population that runs into 6 734 001, with Bhisho being its capital. While the prominent language spoken here Xhosa (82.7% of the people speaks Xhosa), other popular languages widely used here are Afrikaans and English.
The capital of Free State is Bloemfontein, and prominent languages you will find here includes Sesotho, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa. There are some 2 928 903 people residing in this province.
Gauteng, whose capital is Johannesburg, is the smallest of the nine provinces. However, it is also the most populated, as there are some 15 488 137 living here. Hence, there are several languages being used in Gauteng – including isiZulu, English, Afrikaans and Sesotho.
KwaZulu-Natal is another big South African province, with a population that is up to 11 531 628. Its capital is Pietermaritzburg, and majority of the folks living in the province speaks isiZulu. On the other hand, Limpopo is filled with around 5 852 553 people. Its capital is Polokwane. Prominent languages being used here includes Sepedi, Xitsonga, and Tshivenda
Mpumalanga has a population that is around 4 679 786. Its capital is Nelspruit, and popular languages widely spoken here includes iSwati, isiZulu, Xitsonga and isiNdebele. On the other hand, Northern Cape is the largest in the country, but has a population that is only around 1 292 786. Its capital is Kimberley, and Afrikaans is the most used language here.
North West is home to some 4 108 816 people. Its capital is Mahikeng, and Setswana is the major language spoken here. Finally, Western Cape, whose capital is Cape Town, has a population that is around 7 005 741.
These are the provinces in South Africa, and each has its own provincial government meant to play constitutional roles to ensure necessary growth and development.
The role of Provincial Government in South Africa revolves around the province of its operations. For instance, the provincial government in Western Cape can’t influence that of Gauteng.