Dictionary: C

Definitions for government terms, listed alphabetically.
Cabinet - The head of the Executive branch of government. It consists of the President, Deputy President and 24 Cabinet Ministers.
Cabinet Minister - The members of parliament that are chosen to be responsible for the various Departments of the Executive, for example the Minister of Education.
Cancer - Abnormal growths caused by atypical and uncontrolled cell division.
Capacity building - A strategy to increase the abilities of government officials and employees.
Cape Metropolitan Area - The collective local authority in the Cape Town area that comprised of 7 local municipalities. It is now the City of Cape Town.
Care Dependency Grant - This grant is available to the parent or foster parent of a child who has a severe mental or physical handicap.
Catchment - Drainage basin or watershed; rain collects in this area and flows into a river or dam.
Census - Official study into the demographics of the country which is usually undertaken every five years.

The 2000 census showed that there are approximately 44.8 million people in SA.

Central government - The National Government.
Centre for e-Innovation (CeI) - The branch of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape responsible for providing advice on e-government and ICT strategy and implementing e-government and ICT projects.
Certificate of Attendance - Official document declaring that someone has attended a course or event.
Certificate of Competence - Official document declaring that someone has particpated in training and has met the required standards to pass the course.
Certified copies - Photocopies that have been official declared to be true copies of the originals by a Commissioner of Oaths.
Cervical cancer - Tumours at the entrance to the womb.
Change management - A process used to manage the way change is implemented in government and business.
Checks and balances - Safeguards that are used to prevent corruption and create a balance of power between the administrative, legislative and judicial arms of government
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Highest-ranking executive in a company or organisation, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organisation.
Child Support Grant - This grant is available to the primary caregiver of any child under the age of 14 years to meets the applicable means test.
Children's Court - A special court that decides cases affecting children.
Cholera - An infectious disease caused by contaminated water that causes severe vomiting, cramps and diarrhoea that is often fatal.
Chronic illness - Disease that lasts for a long time and cannot be cured or prevented from recurring.
Circular - Notice or directive that is distributed to a large number of people.

For example, an education circular might be distributed to everyone working for the Western Cape Education Department.

Circumcisions - Religious or traditional practice of cutting off the foreskin.
City Improvement District - Non-profit organisations that use money from voluntarily increased rates in a particular area in order to improve services in that area.
Civil servant - Someone who works for government, also known as a public servant.
Civil service - The body of people working in the Administrative section of government to provide services to the public. These employees are not elected.
Civil society - The NGO's and other civil institutions that make up the political space between the household and the state. It is outside the formal political arena but becomes politicised in times of crisis or change.
Clause - A statement or single point in a Bill. When the legilsation is passed, these clauses are referred to as sections.
Close Corporation (CC) - Type of business suited to small enteprises. The regulations and administration procedures are simple and flexible.
Co-operative - Communal business venture that is jointly owned by the members and which is run in a democractic, co-operative manner.

For example, a farming co-operative where a group of people jointly farm the land and share the profits.

Co-operative government - Government where various components are required to assist one another.

For example, in South Africa, the three spheres of government (national, provincial and local) work together in a supportive manner.

Cohabitation - Living together in the same home.
Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) - Independent body that deals with various labour issues and helps resolve disputes between employers and employees.
Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) - Institution created by the Constitution to promote and protect gender equality, particularly women's rights.
Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural. Religious and Linguistic Communities - Body created by the Constitution to promote respect for different cultures, religions and languages.
Commission of Enquiry - A government appointed investigation into a particular matter, usually headed by a Judge.

For example, the Jali Commission on prison corruption.

Commissioner - A person who heads up a Commission of Enquiry, or the person who decides cases in the Small Claims Court, or an abbreviation for Commissioner of Oaths.
Commissioner of Child Welfare - This is the person who has been given the authority to make legal decisions about how best to look after children who are in need.
Commissioner of Oaths - A person who can certify that a statement was made by the person who was supposed to have made it made by (affidavit) or a person who can certify that copies have been made from valid originals.

For example, a police officer, a postmaster and a bank manager.

Committee - Group of people that meet to discuss a particular issue or to perform a specific function.

For example, a parliamentary committee consisting of selected MPs will be appointed to consider new legislation before it is tabled in parliament.

Common law - Law that has been passed down through history and which does not exist as an Act of Parliament.

For example, there is no specific Act that says murder is a crime. Murder is a common law offence.

Community health worker - Someone who volunteers to help their community regarding health issues.
Community of property - A way of sharing property in a marriage. All the property, money and possessions belonging to each person when they get married, and everything that accumulates during the marriage, is shared.
Community Policing Forum (CPF) - Group of concerned citizens living and working in a particular area who work with the local police towards creating and maintaining a safe environment in the community.
Community safety forum - Co-ordinating body that organises community safety projects and activites in an area.

Generally involves the various police stations and Community Policing Forums in a particular area.

Community safety projects - Community projects tackling crime in a particular area.
Company - Type of registered business often referred to as a Pty (ltd). Shares in the company are privately owned.
Competitiveness fund - A cost-sharing grant that provides financial support to manufacturing and business-services entrepreneurs in order to encourage competition in South African business.
Conflict of interest - A situation where your private interests are in conflict with your public duties.

For example, where a person sits on a tender committee but also has a share holding in a company that is tendering for a project.

Congress Of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) - Trade union federation that supports the ANC.

For more information visit the COSATU website.

Constituency - Area that an elected politician is responsible for and accountable to.

For example, ward councillors at a local authority level are responsible to the people in that ward and should represent their needs and interests at Council.

Constitution - The highest law in South Africa, this document sets out the fundamental principles governing the country. It contains the Bill of Rights and sets out the structures and powers of the national, provincial and local spheres of government.
Constitutional Court - The highest court in the country. It only deals with cases involving constitutional matters. These include cases where human rights are violated and cases involving the powers and functions of government.
Consumer Protector - Government official responsible for acting on consumer complaints.
Contraception - Means of preventing pregnancy.

Includes contraceptive pilsl, IUDs, contracepetive injections and condoms.

Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) - International agreement on the rights of women.
Conveyancer - Lawyer who specialises in property transfers.
Copyright - Intellectual property rights over original creations. The owner of the copyright can prevent other people from recreating the original work without permission.

For example, the author of a book has rights over it and no-one else can reproduce it for distribution or sale wihtout permission.

Cost-benefit analysis - A comparison of the costs and risks of a project against the profit or benefits that could result from the project.
Councillor - An elected representative at local government level who sits on the municipal or city council.
Court order - A formal demand by a judge ordering someone to do something or to stop doing something.
Credit linked housing subsidy - A housing subsidy that is link to a loan. The beneficiary is required to pay back the loan portion of the subsidy but not the subsidy itself.
Crime Stop - A public awareness project that encourages communities and individuals to participate in reducing crime in South Africa.

It includes a sharecall number where you can report crime anonymously.

Cross-examination - The court procedure when the other party questions you about your statements and your evidence.
Cross-subsidisation - Using extra money from one service or Department to pay the costs of another service of Department.
Cryptography - Internet security that involves encoding data so that it can only be decoded by certain people.
Cultural history - The social history of a group of people, including their traditions, customs and life style.
Culverts - Sewer or drain that passes under a road or embankment.
Curriculum 2005 - The new learning plan for schools that is supposed to be fully implemented by 2005. The curriculum is learner-centred and outcomes-based. It is supposed to develop critical and creative thinking.
Custody of a child - Having a child live with you and being permitted to supervise and look after them.
Customary union - Marriage according to indigenous laws and customs.

For example, a marriage in terms of African customary law or Muslim rites.

cyber crime - Illegal activity using a computer. It includes computer-related extortion, fraud and forgery and unauthorised access to or interference with data.
Cyber inspector - These are officials appointed in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 to monitor and report on unlawful activity on (or relating to) the internet.