The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs met with the Committee on Public Administration and Local Government of the Parliament of the Republic of Mozambique.
The Chairperson stated that it was a friendly meeting of colleagues to share their experiences on work they were doing in the system of governance in Mozambique and South Africa. The Chairperson emphasised that South Africa was still a young democracy and learnt from experiences of other countries all around the world. The Constitution of South Africa in 1996, allowed for proper systems and conditions of governance to be established. Emphasis was made that democracy in South Africa was a work in progress
One of the things that the constitution was very clear of was the independence and interdependence between the three spheres of government, Local, Provincial and National.
One of the challenges that the country the country grappled with was the consequence management and the lack of holding people accountable for their actions or lack thereof
The Mozambique Ambassador stated that the delegation had come to South Africa to learn about how governmental systems work at different levels such as how the Premier was elected, mayor, etc; and they would like to be helped with material regarding legislation and finance
The similarity in the structure of South Africa and Mozambique was mentioned. Emphasis was made that traditional leaders were very important to South Africa and communities and therefore even formed part of the Constitution of South Africa in Chapter 11, in order to preserve the heritage and culture of South Africa and were a vital factor in the prosperity and growth of South Africa.
It was noted that there were no solid answers to be given as both countries were different and had faced different circumstances and scenarios and what could be done for one may not be totally implementable for the other.
Meeting with Mozambique delegation
The Chairperson welcomed the Committee and the visiting delegation from the Mozambican Parliament.
The Chairperson stated it was that it was a very friendly meeting of colleagues to share their experiences on work they were doing in the system of governance in Mozambique and the system of governance in South Africa. The Chairperson stated that the Mozambique delegation would be free to engage with the Portfolio Committee and express their views on issues.
The Chairperson highlighted that South Africa was still a young democracy and from time to time it learned from the experiences of other states; and it did not have all the answers.
The Chairperson emphasised that the democracy of South Africa was a work in progress and would take a long time to perfect it. The National sphere, provincial sphere and local sphere were all independent but were effectively a bounded entity of the state. Their powers and functions were nationally characterised in terms of the devolution of power. The constitution was adopted in 1996 which allowed for proper conditions for governance.
Mr K Mileham (DA) stated that one of the things that the constitution was very clear of was the three spheres of government: local, provincial and national, which were independent but interdependent spheres of government. The implementation of various legislation was the key functioning factor, in creating an efficient governmental system in all spheres. One of the challenges South Africa faced, was to hold people accountable to for their actions and to deal with that, an independent body was created in the Constitution. This body looked at every entity of government to evaluate performance in accordance with the legislation. One of the problems that the Auditor-General had constantly found was the lack of consequence management and the inability to hold people accountable for their actions or lack thereof. He explained that the responsibility of Parliament included making sure that the national sphere of government was doing its job, the provincial legislatures were doing their job in holding the provincial departments accountable and overseeing the Municipal Government to make sure they were spending money properly and delivering services for the people. He concluded that Parliament needed to be vigorous in making sure that people were doing their jobs and where they did not, consequences needed to be implemented.
The Mozambique Ambassador stated that Mozambique was an old country in democracy, but their democracy was divided into two phases. The country became independent in 1975. From 1975-1990, there was only one party leading the country and in 1990 the Constitution of Mozambique was reviewed to allow for other political parties to participate. In 1994 the first general elections were held and in 1995 the first Multi-Party National Assembly was established. In 2019, it will be the 8th National Assembly. There are three different powers – The President of the Republic, the National Assembly and the Judiciary. Since 2010 the Provincial Assemblies were established to monitor the provincial power.
From 2019, the government of each province would be elected, and this was due to the changes made in the Constitution of Mozambique. The delegation had come to South Africa to learn regarding the issue of how governmental systems work at different levels such as how the Premier was elected, mayor, etc. The Mozambique delegation asked for guidance regarding legislative and financial matters relating to ‘Governing of a country’; as it was something which South Africa had experience with and therefore they sought advice from South Africa. It was all in line with the evolution of Mozambique. In those aspects the democracy of Mozambique was still behind and therefore they sought help when it came to their Provincial Government.
Elections will be held this year in Mozambique and not next year: the country will use a different model and they wished to learn from South Africa. Regarding the Municipal elections, the one who would govern, was the first one on the list of the political parties which won the elections. This was the model which would be implemented and was already part of the Constitution of Mozambique. They were going to elections but wanted to know the limits of local, provincial and national Spheres. They wanted to know what the powers of the provincial leaders were.
The Chairperson thanked the delegation for the questions and stated that the inter-relationship between all spheres of government was not yet truly perfected. The problem of finances was a big problem for everyone. When consensus was taken, and numbers were calculated, the amounts initially thought of the populations in areas and the actual amounts were always different and whilst the aim was to improve all areas of South Africa, outside urban areas – in doing so, the urban areas would suffer as finances were allocated to improve infrastructure outside of it and vice versa scenarios.
Mr J Dube (ANC) stated that the manner in which South Africa and Mozambique were structured was similar. He emphasised that traditional leaders were very important to South Africa and communities and therefore even formed part of the Constitution of South Africa in Chapter 11, in order to preserve the heritage and culture of South Africa. Traditional leaders were given a platform through their bodies and were represented at the provincial, nationally and even at the district level. They were very useful and important in terms of the country going forward. Mozambique was coming from a difficult past and he wanted to check if they thought about having a reconciliation process, as was done in South Africa post-1994. This would not only help to heal but also to build the economy as to allow people who recently left Mozambique, to return home as there were many skilled and professional people from Mozambique who left. He also stated that a consideration be given to amend the Constitution as to allow a Multi-Party democratic Parliament, to govern together.
The Chairperson stated to Honourable Dube that during lunchtime more engagement on the issue could take place as the delegation and the Portfolio Committee were to have lunch together. There were no solid answers to be given as both countries were different and had faced different circumstances and scenarios and what could be done for one may not be totally implementable for the other. He stated that model scenarios could be established but South Africa made the best of what it could. However, engagement on the issue could be taken further to investigate the scenarios and issues faced by Mozambique and compare to that of South Africa to discover possible solutions.
The Chairperson stated that discussion could continue at Lunch, as the Portfolio Committee and the delegation were having lunch together.
The Chairperson thanked everyone for their attendance and stated that everyone would be directed to where lunch would be served.
The meeting was adjourned.
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