features & functions
- national
features & functions
- provincial
features & functions
- local
local government across the GCR
future change
working together
intergovernmental relations
political engagement
where are we going?
civic engagement
interactions with government
interactions with leaders
satisfaction with government
features & functions - national

Today, national government arrangements have been transformed. The 'bantustans' have been integrated into the territory of democratic post-apartheid South Africa, and a new architecture of national government departments and agencies, focused on development for all South Africans, has been built.

key features   competencies


National government is broadly responsible for policy, the setting of objectives for the country as a whole, co-ordination and regulation.



Functional areas of exclusive national competence are not explicitly defined in the Constitution, but can be inferred:

  However, a number of departments are also responsible for direct delivery, where neither provincial nor local government play a role. For example:    Intelligence services, national defence, macro-economic policy and stability, elections administration, maintenance of the population register and related services, mineral affairs, tertiary education, international and national airports, etc.
The South African Revenue Service collects tax (income tax, tax on companies and Value Added Tax) on behalf of all of government, and distributes this between the spheres on a formula basis.   

Functional areas of shared national and provincial competence, as defined in Schedule 4A of the Constitution:

Education at all levels, excluding tertiary education, housing, health services, environment, disaster management, agriculture, public transport, welfare services, tourism, trade, etc.

Home Affairs maintains the population register and has frontline offices throughout the country to issue identity documents, passports, etc.  
  In addition there are various agencies and state-owned entities that are overseen directly by national government, but play a key role in providing services. These include, for example:    
Water Boards, established by the National Department of Water Affairs, that purify raw water and distribute it in bulk to municipalities.    
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has a vertically integrated command structure reporting directly to the national Minister of Police. There are police stations across Gauteng, but provincial government only plays a loose co-ordination / interface role.    
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) provides metropolitan rail services to hundreds of thousands of rail commuters in the GCR every day. It is overseen by the national Department of Transport.