Since 1996, the AWEPA South African Provincial Legislatures (SAPL) Programme has operated in a broader South African political context, whereby constitutional power is shared between three spheres of government (national, provincial and local government), which are expected to function based on the principle of cooperative governance. In this framework, service delivery is located with the provincial state level – and the provinces share concurrent powers with the national sphere to formulate and implement policies related to education, health, housing and social welfare, among others. The Provincial Legislatures have also had the additional responsibility to oversee the performance of the provincial departments and facilitate public participation in governance processes. As the first decade of post-apartheid South Africa was mainly dedicated to policy formulation, the second decade is mainly devoted to the proper implementation of policies through oversight and public participation. It is in the context of this second decade that the SAPL Programme has become even more relevant, now focusing on the promotion of service delivery and poverty reduction. As a response to the call for the Provincial Legislatures to exercise more vigorous and effective oversight, the AWEPA-SAPL Programme has contributed to the capacity building of the Provincial Legislatures, as well as to those involved in public participation and law-making.
To enhance the performance of the South African Provincial Legislatures in their oversight, legislation roles, as well as to better facilitate public participation.
The Programme has been particularly effective in advancing the capacity of members in fiscal oversight, by facilitating and developing Provincial Speakers Forums and Municipal Public Account Committee Chairpersons Forums, and other relevant workshop interventions. Furthermore, the programme has allowed the sharing of best practices regarding ethics and accountability to eradicate corruption and foster transparency. Some of the examples of the impacts generated by the AWEPA SAPL
- assisting in the development of and formulating a strategic plan for the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Speakers Forum;
- establishment of Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) Chairpersons Forum in the Northern Cape Province;
- improved transparency and fiscal oversight capability through training for the Limpopo Provincial Legislature Speakers Forum;
- enhanced capacity of the Limpopo Legislature to adhere to legislative rules and procedures in order further strengthen and bring about the inherent democratic values contained in the rules and procedures.