International expert discusses governmental system in South Africa 

Birzeit University’s Department of Public Administration and the master’s program in Government and Local Governance held a symposium via Zoom exploring the intersectionality between Palestine’s and South Africa’s experience in local governance under colonialism. 

Gerhard Dekker, international expert in governments, gave a comprehensive understanding of governance in South Africa, highlighting the transformations of local government structures that were in place pre- and post-apartheid South Africa, and the democratization of the country in 1994. 

Dekker pointed out that the transformation of the South Africa government, which was prompted by democratic dispensation, had positively affected the governance structures there. The Local Government Transition Act of 1993 is one example, said Deker. 

This act defines the transition and transformation of local government and sets the framework of transforming the system of local governance. 

Within the framework of the country’s democratization process, Dekker said that the new South African government established a white paper declaring its commitment to working with citizens and local communities to create a sustainable human settlement and provide people a decent quality of life. 

The framework of the white paper was a major step in developing a local government, which included local communities and interest groups in the planning process, Dekker explained. 

Dekker stressed on the fact that the financial independence of South African municipalities was the cornerstone in improving the decentralized government.