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Support Programme to Decentralisation and Local Development Policies in South Africa - A Network of Tuscan and South African Local Governments

Partner(s), UE:

Italy, Regional Government of Tuscany

Partner(s), developing country:

South African partners:

national (the COGTA);

provincial (Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces);

local(four municipalities within the aforesaid provinces):

Province of Gauteng

o Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

o Metsweding District Municipality (now Tswhane)

Province of Eastern Cape

o Buffalo City Local Metropolitan Municipality

o O.R. Tambo District Municipality



NETSAFRICA is a network of Italian and South African local governments promoting a real partnership work, favouring exchange of know-how, expertise and institutional strengthening based as much as possible on a “practitioner-to-practitioner” approach.

Established in the framework of a three-year decentralised cooperation. Programme (2008-2011) funded by the Government of Italy and the Regional Government of Tuscany, NETSAFRICA aims at consolidating the role of South African local governments on the path towards democratization and peace by supporting them in the fight against poverty and improving access to basic services.

Specific objectives

To enhance the capacity of the COGTA in the framework of the national policies and strategies of local government, with a focus on issues of public participation and empowerment

To enhance the capacity of Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces and of at least 4 local, district or metropolitan municipalities within the same provinces in the formulation of policies and implementation of initiatives to fight poverty and ensure access to basic services, within the context of the National Framework for Local Economic Development (Strategy 1 and 4)

Period of reference:

Three years 22 october 2008-22 october 2011. Extended until 31 july 2012


Total resources (€):

4.000.000,00 euros, 3.800.000,00 euro as contribution in cash and 200.000 euros as contribution in kind. Contribution by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2.800.000,00 euros in cash, contribution by the Regional Government of Tuscany 1.000.000,00 euros in cash and 200.000,00 euros in kind.

Number of beneficiaries:

Target groups are national, provincial and local government


Post-apartheid South Africa was officially ushered in by the first democratic elections held in the country from 26 to 29 April 1994, which permitted the convening of the first democratically elected Parliament on 5 May 1994, followed by the appointment of the new President of the Republic (Nelson Mandela) and the transitional Government of National Unity on 10 May 1994.

Since the new South Africa came into being, the Government has piloted an ambitious plan to reconstruct and develop the country and redress the imbalances of the past. Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has enjoyed macro-economic stability, significant GDP growth and an increase in the spending on social services, thus ensuring access to basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation, housing, social grants, healthcare and education on a scale unprecedented in this country. And yet high levels of poverty and great social and economic disparities continue to exist: socio-economic standards vary significantly between different population groups and between urban and rural communities.

Mandatory result:

The Programme thematic areas has been defined progressively through a process of mutual knowledge and matching between interests, requirements and expertise of the Programme partners in the framework of the following two macro-areas.

support to decentralization

to be made available by means of focused assistance to the CGTA in the framework of the Policy Review Process on the system of provincial and local government, with a focus on issues of public participation and community empowerment;

support to local development

to be made available by means of focused assistance to targeted municipalities and provinces of South Africa in the context of the National Framework for Local Economic Development, with a focus on:

o Strategy 4: introducing sustainable developmental community investment programming; and

o Strategy 1: improving municipal good governance and service delivery.

Within the framework of the aforesaid Strategy 1 and Strategy 4, expected macro-sectors of cooperation are:

i) Services delivery;

ii) rural enhancement;

iii) private sector development and job creation including support to SMEs and co-operatives


The programme is composed by progressive implementation phases:

1. PHASE Knowledge and sharing amongst Programme partners.This phase entailed the carrying out of working sessions amongst Programme partners (and with community organizations and local stakeholders) to assess and prioritize local needs and define specific areas of Programme intervention. 2. PHASE Partnership work

This phase of the Programme corresponds to the consolidation of the partnership and the launch of the work on the ground and focus on the provision of technical assistance and the implementation of priority initiatives at local level. Part of the support entails a follow-up to the assistance already provided to COGTA during the first years of the programme.

3. PHASE Coordination and capitalization of the experience: This “phase” embodies all actions related to the coordination and capitalization of the experience gained through the Programme. It shall focus on the implementation of the Programme governance arrangements, dissemination activities, organization of exchanges of experience, support to the establishment of self-sustainable partnerships amongst Programme partners including the outcomes of mid-term and final external evaluations of the Programme.

Contacts for additional information

Website/Phone number/Email address/Postal address/Contact person


Flavia Donati

Regione Toscana

Piazza Unità d’Italia 1

50100 Firenze


Tel.+39 055 4382903


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