South Africa: SA Law Reform to Look Into Social Departments' Mandates

The SA law reform commission has instituted an investigation into the mandates of the national and provincial departments of social development.

In a statement, the Commission on Wednesday said the investigation was subsequent to a request by the national Department of Social Development.

"The investigation [will look] into the mechanisms through which national and provincial governments departments involved in the welfare services sector manage their interdependence and cooperation," reads the statement.

The Commission said this stems from incongruence between the department and its provincial counterparts about how social development mandates should be implemented. Added to this, there was a lack of statutory mechanism empowering the Minister of Social Development or the Department to ensure that decisions relating to this policy area are uniformly carried through.

"Central to this inquiry therefore is the meaning of constitutional provisions regulating intergovernmental relations between the department and provincial departments responsible for welfare services; and most importantly, the efficacy of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 13 of 2005 intended to promote synergy between national and provincial governments," said the Commission.

The investigation, they added, will seek to determine if whether the regulation is deficient in any way and if it is, how that deficiency should be addressed.

As is customary, the Commission has resolved to elicit inputs from interested parties in respect of issues raised in this inquiry.

To that end, the Commission has published an issue paper setting out these issues, the exposition of the law and international best practices to serve as basis for deliberations.

Interested parties are requested to submit written submissions, representations and/or comments to the commission and mark them for the attention of Fanyana Mdumbe by 30 July 2021.

Submissions should be sent to: The Secretary, South African Law Reform Commission, Private Bag X668, Pretoria, 0001. Tel: 012 622 6353. Email:

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