The hills are alive

What can be learned from the direct democracy of the Swiss

The topic of public finance can be quite complicated if it is not underpinned by necessary preconditions. One such is a strong viable political system that creates its own checks and balances to ensure sustainability and also to extend the democratic dividend to the entire population.

As a test case, it is necessary to have a closer look at a tiny but strong country like Switzerland to see how its very complex system of politics and governance arrangements help to keep the country as a going concern. This article doesn’t deal with Swiss crookedness in the international arena but looks at the inner working of the state with the hope that a country like South Africa can learn a thing or two from this experience.

If one wants a truly federative state in the world it is in the Alps, Switzerland. The Alpine nation was separated into 25 cantons (provinces or states) in 1833 until the people of Jura claimed independence from the large canton of Berne in 1978.

The formation of the canton of Jura in the western parts was more like Uthukela District (comprising towns such as Bergville, Estcourt and Ladysmith) demanding to break away from KZN to create South Africa’s tenth province.

The country’s fault lines follow language and religion. Switzerland has four main languages: French, German, Italian and Romansch. Historically, Protestantism and Catholicism traditionally defined the borders of cantons.

Switzerland also has 2 880 municipalities but this number is slowly declining due to amalgamation, especially in the cantons such as Fribourg and Tessin. Municipalities vary in size in terms of inhabitants. For example, the biggest municipality of Zurich had 409 241 inhabitants in 2017, and the smallest Corripo municipality (Tessin), had population of 65 inhabitants.

Read the complete article here ~ https://shadebe.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/what-can-be-learned-from-the-direct-democracy-of-the-swiss/ 

By Siyabonga P Hadebe

[Pic: typical Swiss something … Sound of Music poster]

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Uownit-SA is an online publication focused on collecting and publishing valuable and informed opinions from all the people of South Africa, published on the 15th of every month. Send us your views to contributions@uownit-sa.co.za.

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