Decentralisation is a process that has been commissioned by the Head of State and entrenched in the country's constitution as the basis of the country's system of government. According to section 218 (2), "The primary objective of the Tinkhundla-based system of government is to bring government closer to the people so that the people at sub-national or local community level progressively take control of their own affairs and govern themselves".

Based on the principle of subsidiarity, decentralisation allows Central Government to have a subsidiary function while allowing services and functions that can best be delivered at local level to be perfomed at those lower levels. Most importantly, Decentralisation is a global agenda which has been effectively used as a political power sharing and people empowerment tool to enhance the participation of all the people in a country in both political and socio-economic development processes and activities.

The Decentralisation function within the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development is part of the mandate of the Ministry. The purpose of the programme is to facilitate local governance, local development and the decentralisation of government services from the national government to sub-national levels. The process involves identifying the key services that are currently provided at national levels which should be decentralised. Dcentralisation promotes transparency and increases public accountability; voice and participation in the development of public policies and monitoring of the quality of public services. The overall goal is to attain sustainable local governance and development, high levels of efficiency, high quality of life as well as equity and effectiveness in the delivery of public services.

Overall, decentralisation provides for the establishment of a comprehensive system of local government towards local governance through:

  • Local elections of a local government representing the interest of the local people,
  • Local administrative institutional set up for administrative purposes and policy/programmes implementation and
  • Local citizens participatory arrangements for accountabilty and transprency in local affairs.

Benefits of Decentralisation 

  • If effectively implemented, decentralisation strengthens national and local democracy while promoting good governance in the process,
  • Brings government closer to the people to allow the people to govern their own affairs in line with their development priorities,
  • Increases local government power, authority, resources and skills resulting to effective resource targeting and good development results. This further allows local government to make development choices, act on them effectively and accountably,
  • Increases local goverment authorities to raise their own revenue thereby expanding their resource base and availing more resources for development.

Functions of Decentralization 

The specific functions of the department involve facilitating and coordination the decentralisation through:

  • Development of policy, legislative and regulatory framework,
  • Promotion and guidance on local socio-eceonomic development processes,
  • Facilitating development of ministerial decentralization plans and programmes, 
  • Coordinating sector ministries to promote effective and equitable public service delivery at local level,
  • Building capacity of the Tinkhundla systems and staff towards good local governance and administration, 
  • Promotion of local public accountability and transparency,
  • Promotion of public participation in public policy development and implementation
  • Promotion of equitable and effecient public resource allocation at the local level
  • On going Decentralisation Programmes
  • Regional and Tinkhundla Development Mapping (Tinkhundla Development Status Index)
  • Service Centres Programme
  • Capacity building for LGs
  • Swaziland Local Government Project (SLGP)
  • Studies on public services delivered
  • Establish and Strengthen coordination frameworks

Decentralised Services Provided at Service Centres

A fully operational services centre provides about six services on average as listed in the following:

  • Birth Marriages and Death Certificates
  • Immigration Services
  • Health Inspection Services 
  • Pin/National Identity Cards
  • Commissioner of Oaths 
  • Revenue Services
  • Social Welfare

Decentralisation Supportive Environment

The effectiveness of the Decentralisation Programme depends largely on the supportive legislative, financial and institutional environment. The followinfg is a list of some of the instruments and arrangements to allow for the programme to run.

  • A Decentralisation Policy is in place since 2006
  • The Constitution provides for Decentralization in full
  • The country already has regions and Tinkhundla as institutions for decentralisation
  • There are elected Councils in all the 59 Tinkhundla Centres to form a local government
  • A number of government services are already being provided in all the regions and other service centres.

 Director of Decentralisation:

 Tel:   2404 6309
 Cell: 7606 3925

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