The South African Legislative Sector exists in the context of the pursuit of a national vision of a people-centred, non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous South Africa that functions as a partner to nations on the continent and in the world to achieve only that which is in the best interest of humanity and the environment. The general thrust of the dialogue is therefore informed by this vision.
Partnership between the SA Legislative Sector and European Union
The South African Legislative Sector and the European Union have a partnership in the form of the Legislative Sector Policy Support Programme (LSPSP) which is based on a Sector Policy and Strategy owned and led by the South African Legislative Sector.
The sector approach recognises the potential benefits of a sector partnership in which cross cutting issues can be adequately coordinated in an improved, effective and efficient manner as long as there is mutual trust and shared accountability.
The Seven Assessment Report - which assessed the eligibility of the sector - recognised that the South African Legislative Sector is in its embryonic stage and is unique due to the autonomous nature of each of the legislatures even though the legislatures share the same objectives. Therefore, the Legislative Sector's institutional development will be a process that will take time and resources to realise its benefits.
In light of the partnership, EU donor funding has been approved in terms of the Legislative Sector Policy Support Programme (LSPSP) to assist with implementation of the SA Legislative Sector mandate over a period of 7 years (2009-2016).
The relationship between the South African Legislative Sector (SALS) and European Union (EU) commenced in 1997 with EU support of the Parliamentary Support Programme (PSP) implemented from 1996-2003. The Legislatures Support Programme (LSP) was implemented from 2004-2009 as a logical progression of the PSP. The PSP and LSP were classical project approaches which did not allow scope for meaningful policy dialogue between the SALS and European Union.
The nature of the dialogue changed when the 1 Trade Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) came into effect in May 2004. The TDCA established preferential trade agreements between the EU and SA and as a result SA became a main trading and investment partner of the EU. South Africa became the EU's largest trading partner in Africa and is the key partner in Africa. Although a member of the African Carribean Pacific group of countries, South Africa has emerged as a main strategic partner.
The EU approach to SA development assistance has since changed from centralised cooperation to decentralised cooperation as key element of EU assistance. This is in line with the principles of the 2 Paris Declaration, 3 Accra Agenda for Action and 4 the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) The development of the CSP was executive driven (Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs) and there was no consultation with the SALS in the process.
The relationship between the EU and SALS has matured to a more balanced strategic partnership in which they both emerged as equal and mutually accountable partners. The engagement within the sector dialogue process is meaningful as both partners are mutually accountable.
It was within this balanced, mutually accountable partnership and environment that SALS and the EU Delegation designed the Legislative Sector Policy Support Programme (LSPSP). The programme follows a programme based and sector wide approach. The sector approach articulates the common interest of the SALS and the EU. The LSPSP provided an opportunity to entrench cooperation and collaboration of the National Parliament and Provincial Legislatures in SA whilst upholding the principles espoused by the Accra Agenda for Action.
Objectives of the LSPSP agreement between the EU and SALS
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) entrenches the separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the state. The Legislative Sector Policy Support Programme (LSPSP) will support the Legislative Sector in the implementation of its Sector Policy as envisaged in the Strategic Framework.
The overall objective of the donor programme is to support the government's efforts to strengthen participatory democracy. The South African Legislative Sector (SALS) aims to enhance participatory democracy and to serve the citizens of South Africa in accordance with the Constitution, legislation and mandates of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs).
1. TDCA between the European Community and its Member States and the Republic of South Africa, Council Decision 2004/441/EC of 26 April 2004
2. The Paris Declaration, an international agreement to which the international community representatives adhered and committed their countries and organisations to continue to increase efforts in harmonisation, alignment and managing aid to ensure effectiveness.
3. The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) a broad based process drawn up in 2008 to build on the commitments agreed in the Paris Declaration. Developing countries, civil society groups (including grass roots groups) played a more active role in the preparations and the agenda.
4. Country Strategy Paper was drawn up jointly by South Africa, the European Commission and EU member state to set the overall direction and priorities for action.
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