This study examines the importance of a central agency such as The Presidency in the administration of intergovernmental relations (IGR) in South Africa. Further to this broad objective, is the need to develop a definitional framework for IGR, particularly within the context of the unitary-federal system. The study contends that the mechanism for an IGR system in emerging democracies should be obligatory and driven through constitutional provisions and arrangements. The historical-political evolution of the South African Constitution has demonstrated the importance of a central agency in regulating IGR mechanisms. This study was able to trace historical precedents ranging from the British Imperial Council era, through to the Apartheid era, the President’s Council and The Presidency of the current democratic government of South Africa. In order to provide clarity on the importance of a high profile office within an IGR co-ordination infrastructure, the study utilised the authority relationship models, which strategically present a new paradigmatic shift in theoretical constructs. These models identified and explored the viabilities in the procurement of significant relationships between and amongst spheres of government. In clarifying the emerging cooperative governance paradigm, a terminological compromise for federalism in South Africa was posted. The study also provides a distinguished hierarchy-defining route between spheres and tiers of government as an important notation for consideration. Since models are abstractions of reality, the study establishes that the political coherency of IGR constructs could be considered as a direct function of a normative environmental infrastructure. The study examines factors influencing IGR. Principal to these is the party political system and the character of the Head of State. The study argues that the degree to which the ruling political coalition/party is centralised impacts directly on the ability of sub-national governments to interrelate. The study found that IGR reform should be based on the following conditionalities that involve IGR as a human activity, which should accommodate varied socialisation values. The study further attempts to promote the notion that IGR, as a political activity, should be flexible enough to accommodate constituency-serving tendencies, which are reminiscent of new and emerging political environments. Furthermore, as a technocratic activity, IGR should accommodate the reality of it being a terrain of contestation between elected and appointed officials. At the same time, it could act as a relational barometer that could be functional in nature and allow everyone in government to be an IGR practitioner. Whilst the study has left unanswered questions, it has laid the basis upon which emerging democratic dispensations should approach IGR. More specifically, the IGR definition presented in this study, has called for a disengagement process with the federal/unitary view of IGR. This study exemplifies the need for continuous debate in Public Administration as it provides a critical knowledge base for society to expand future intellectual discussions on IGR reforms in new and emerging democracies.