Local government in intergovernmental relations:the Northern Cape

SOURCE: Democracy and governance review: Mandela's legacy 1994-1999
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2000
TITLE AUTHOR(S): D.Atkinson
SOURCE EDITOR(S): Y.G.Muthien, M.M.Khosa, B.Magubane
KEYWORDS: GOVERNANCE, LOCAL GOVERNMENT, NORTHERN CAPE PROVINCE
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 2268

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Abstract

The Northern Cape is one of the new provinces created by the 1993 interim Constitution. As such, it began with certain disabilities: the lack of an established provincial administration, the need to consolidate provincial governance in a newly defined area, and an untested revenue base. A further difficulty was the degree of politicisation in the local and provincial government sphere due to the fine balance of power between the African National Congress and the National Party. Furthermore, the Northern Cape is by far the largest province in terms of land area, but the smallest in terms of population. This poses another challenge for local and provincial governance in the province. Simultaneously with the introduction of the new provincial dispensation, local authorities had to weather the storms of the local government transition. Their performances varied from remarkably good to disastrous. In many towns, inexperienced councillors and frustrated town clerks experienced friction, sometimes leading to the resignation of key munici - pal personnel. In some towns, officials with no municipal experience replaced them; in others, their positions remained vacant. In a few towns, municipal management virtually collapsed. The deterioration of the financial position of many local authorities was both a cause and an effect of the deleterious situation. There is therefore a real need for assistance from the provincial and national government, and from other agencies. Such assistance should be forthcoming within the philosophy of co-operative governance, which is encapsulated in the Constitution.