The South African Constitution of 1996 is the foundation of our entire
legal system and has proved itself to be truly resilient, inspirational and
principled. It may have been crafted from compromise, but that was the
reality of the political, historic, cultural and economic landscape on
which forge this remarkable legislative bulwark was hammered out.
One of the prime characteristics of the South African Constitution is the
decentralisation of powers and functions from the national level to
provincial and municipal levels.
In August 2010, Kenya adopted its new Constitution, which came fully
into effect in March 2013. It also adopted a system of decentralisation,
referred to as devolution, and established 47 counties.
The Kenyan Constitution largely copied the structure, approach and
principles of provincial and local government from South Africa. This
book is the first to provide an in-depth comparative assessment of the
Kenyan and South African systems of devolution. It contains fascinating
and insightful South African and Kenyan chapters by a team of experts.
They deal with the reasons for devolution, the levels, numbers, size and
character of devolution units, their demarcation, political structures,
powers and functions, finances, metropolitan governance,
intergovernmental relations, marginalised groups and transitional
This comprehensive overview at an evolving stage for both Kenya and
South Africa will be of considerable value to many African and other
countries contemplating or in a stage of devolution seeking to curb the
abuse of centralised power and to promote political stability and
development in a democratic state. It is also a timely review for all South
African legislators, lawyers, administrators and those who interact with
the three tiers of government, of the success or otherwise of devolution
over the past 20 years in the light of its aims and application.
Publishers Juta are to commended for producing this unique work under
the guiding hands of the co-editors, Professor Nico Steytler BA LLB
LLM PhD who is the South African Research Chair in Multilevel
Government, Law and Policy at the Dullah Omar Institute of
Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights at the University of
the Western Cape, and Yash Pal Ghai, who has degrees, including a
Doctorate of Civil Law, from Oxford and Harvard Universities, and is a
Director of the Katiba Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.