Inter-governmental Relations (IGR)

What is inter-governmental relations?

Intergovernmental relations encompass all the complex and interdependent relations among various spheres of government. Intergovernmental relations also refer to the fiscal and administrative processes through which spheres of government share revenues and other resources. Intergovernmental relations are therefore a set of formal and informal processes as well as institutional arrangements and structures for bilateral and multilateral co-operation within and among the three spheres of government. It is important to note that the success of intergovernmental relations is a function of the level of participation by the key role-players in the system, and that the extent of participation, whether of a competitive or co-operative nature, finally determines the ontological state of the system of intergovernmental relations.

Legislative framework

Chapter 3 of the Constitution envisages the South African government which is modelled on cooperative government using the intergovernmental relations system to accomplish the outcomes of coherent government characterised by  integrated, coordinated planning, effective provision of  services, monitoring the implementation of policy and legislation, and achieving the realization of national priorities.

Section 40 describes the government as constituted of 3 spheres i.e. national, provincial and local, and further describes these spheres as distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. The spheres are distinctive in that each sphere performs functions and duties which are jurisdictionally based though the services are for the people of South Africa as a whole. They are interdependent in that each sphere depends on the capability and functioning of the other to best perform some of their concurrent functions while they also perform exclusive functions. The spheres are interrelated in that the government should function in a unitary manner for the whole of the people of the Republic of South Africa. Each sphere is expected to cooperate with another sphere in mutual trust and good faith for the good of the country.

Section 41 provides for the following principles of cooperative government:

  • Preservation of peace, national unity and the indivisibility of the Republic
  • Securing the well-being of the people of the Republic
  • Providing effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the Republic as a whole
  • Loyalty to the Constitution, the Republic and its people
  • Respect to the Constitutional status, institutions, powers and functions of government in other spheres
  • Not assuming power or function except those conferred on them in terms of the Constitution
  • Exercising their powers and performing their functions in a manner that does not encroach on the geographical, functional or institutional integrity of government in another sphere, and
  • Cooperate with one another in mutual trust and good faith by
  • Fostering friendly relations
  • Assisting and supporting one another
  • Informing one another of, and consulting one another on, matters of common interest
  • Coordinating their actions and legislation with one another
  • Adhering to agreed procedures, and
  • Avoiding legal proceedings against one another.

Section 154 of the Constitution, further states that the Provincial and National Governments, by legislation and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of the municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions.

A comprehensive law (Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act) was enacted in 2005 for the purpose of regulating intergovernmental relations generally in reply to section 41(2) of the Constitution. The Act is a broadly enabling Act, which elucidates the principles of intergovernmental relations and cooperative government. The Act provides the basic architecture of intergovernmental structures, procedures and processes for the settlement of intergovernmental disputes. The Act broadly provides a framework to allow for flexibility to meet the challenges of cooperative government. While articulating the key principles of cooperative government and intergovernmental relations, the Act provides an institutional spine to the system by regulating intergovernmental forums, as well as concrete steps for the conduct of intergovernmental relations and a framework for settling intergovernmental disputes.

How is IGR structured in the province?

The following IGR structures have been established in the province.

Name of Structure

Sphere of Government


Establishment / Functionality

Premier’s Coordinating Forum Provincial IGR Structure The Structure is co-chaired by the Premier and the Provincial Chairperson of SALGA-FS. Its main members are MEC responsible for local government, SALGA, District Municipalities, Office of the Premier, and any other institution Premier might decide to invite Established during 2005. Holding regular meetings.
Technical Premier’s Coordinating Forum Provincial Technical IGR Support Structure for the Premier’s Coordinating Forum It is co-chaired by the Director General and the Provincial Executive Officer of SALGA-FS. Its main members are the same as in the political structure Established in 2006 and functional
MECLOGA Provincial Local Government Sector Forum It is co-chaired by MEC responsible for local government and Provincial Chairperson of SALGA-FS (it discusses sector specific matters informed by Section 154 of the Constitution). Its main members is MEC responsible for local government, district municipalities and any other institution the chairpersons might decide to invite Established in 2005. Holding meetings regularly.

Name of Structure

Sphere of Government


Establishment / Functionality

TECHNICAL MECLOGA Provincial Technical IGR Support Structure It is co-chaired by HOD for Department responsible for Local Government and the Provincial Executive Officer of SALGA-FS. It is the replica of its political structure Established in 2005. Functional
District Coordinating Forums District Forums established in all the Four District They are chaired by the District Mayors. Their main members are the local mayors and any other stakeholders the district chairperson might decide to invite Established in all districts in 2006. Holds regular meetings.
Technical District Coordinating Forums District Forums They are chaired by the District Municipal Managers. Their main members are local municipal managers and any other stakeholder the chairperson might decide to involve. Established in all districts in 2006. Holds regular meetings.

Non-statutory IGR Structures (based on the IGRFA)

Provincial IGR Structures

  • Provincial Speakers Forum
  • Provincial Planning Forum
  • Provincial LED Forum
  • Provincial 5 YLGSA MRE Forum
  • Provincial Communication/Communicators Forum
  • Provincial CDW Task Team
  • Provincial Public Participation Forum
  • Provincial Joints Committee
  • Forum for Heads of Departments (Chaired by DG)
  • Cluster System based on 4 priority areas of FSGDS

Municipal IGR Structures

  • District 5 YEAR LGSA-MRE Forums
  • District IDP & District LED Forums
  • District Interdepartmental CDW Forums
  • District Public Participation Forums
  • Speakers Forums
  • Municipal Managers Forums
  • Forum of Chief Financial Officers
  • Corporate Services Forum
  • Communication/Communicators Forum
  • Health and Safety Forum.