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About Government

Frequently asked questions

What is government?

Government' is about ruling: ruling the country (national government), ruling the province (provincial government) or ruling cities and towns (local government).

What's the three-tier system?

In a constitutional democracy such as South Africa, people are elected to hold office in local, provincial or national governments. This three-tier system is laid out in the Constitution, and each level has different roles and responsibilities.

What does national government do?

National government - the tertiary or top tier - makes laws and sets policies for the entire country. The Department of Home Affairs is an example of a National government department. It is responsible for the issuing of Identity Documents for all South Africans. You can't get an ID document from your City Council, can you?

Why are there both national and provincial departments?

The secondary or middle tier is provincial government. Each of South Africa's nine provinces has a group of elected representatives who fill certain portfolios and are concerned with everything that happens on a provincial scale.

This explains why, for example, Gauteng has a provincial traffic department different to that of Limpopo or KwaZulu-Natal. Or why there's a Gauteng MEC of Housing different to the national Minister of Housing.

And at local level?

The bottom, primary tier is that of local government. Need plans for building extensions to your house approved, to report that your street lights are not working or a broken water pipe? Local government takes care of local service delivery. Think water, lights and waste removal ... That's what you pay rates for!

How does government actually work?

Governments have both a political arm, made up of elected officials, and an administrative arm, made up of administrators.

Elected officials are responsible for making national, provincial or local policies - the laws that govern us. Administrators are career officials who have to implement these policies.

As an example, a national Minister of Transport could propose in Parliament that no heavy duty trucks should be allowed drive on South Africa's roads over weekends. Parliament would debate it and put it to a vote. If the vote was in favour of the idea, it would be promulgated and become national law. Career officials in the Department of Transport would then have the job of making it work practically.

None of this could happen without the involvement of every South African of voting age. Government - local, provincial and national - is made up of elected officials. Every citizen has the right to vote in a local, provincial or national election. And if you're not happy with the way things are working, take it up with your local, provincial or even nationally elected representative.

 

Mandate of the Gauteng Provincial Government

The Premier is the executive authority of the province, an authority that is sometimes exercised together with members of the executive council. The Premier has the power to appoint members of the executive council and assign their functions.

The Premier, working with the executive council, exercises executive power by:

  • implementing provincial legislation in the province
  • implementing national legislation
  • administering national legislation in the province, if assigned by parliament
  • developing and implementing provincial policy
  • coordinating the functions of the provincial administration and its departments
  • performing any other function assigned to the provincial executive in terms of the constitution or law

Mission

To support the Premier and Executive Council in implementing Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) policies as well as their statutory and political responsibilities effectively and efficiently.

Vision

To be an innovative, responsive and vibrant nerve centre for people-centred governance.

Values

  • Integrity - honesty, accountability, trust and respect
  • Batho Pele - caring, empathy, respect, recognition, value, reward, compassion and consultation
  • Teamwork - partnership, cooperation and consultation
  • Professionalism - capable, communication, skills development and transparency
  • Social equality - no discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture or language
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