Journal of Public Administration - Volume 40, Issue 4, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 40, Issue 4, 2005
Author C. ThornhillSource: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 371 –372 (2005)More Less
The Journal of Public Administration has reached a rather important milestone with this issue. This issue completes the forty years of publication of the Journal. During the four decades the Journal has witnessed significant changes in the political, economic and social structures in South Africa. The most significant transformation could probably be attributed to the democratisation of South Africa in 1994. This also resulted in the disestablishment of the controlling professional institute (South African Institute of Public Administration) of the Journal and the establishment of the current South African Association for Public Administration and Management. The establishment of the latter Association did not affect the status of the Journal. Thus the Journal remained an accredited journal and could continue to serve as a conduit for the publication of current trends and developments in public administration and management as well as related topics in South Africa and abroad.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 733 –743 (2005)More Less
Africa is only beginning to assess its administrative performance by employing the New Public Management tool, called Monitoring and Evaluation. Monitoring appears to be more widely practised on this Continent than actual evaluation to assess the merit, worth and value of administration, output and outcome of government interventions. This article makes a case for the wider use of well-tested evaluation strategies. Without proper evaluation there is no way of determining whether intended programmes are being implemented effectively or whether side effects have become more dominant. The African Peer Review Mechanism arose out of NEPAD and is a good start, but it does not evaluate the performance of individual government departments and their programmes adequately. Peer review broadly assesses the election process; the absence of corruption; and how well political leaders and their governments are performing in their overall economic, political, social and other spheres. This neighbourly technique is often suspect and has been termed window-dressing in order to effect debt relief or to gain access to more credit facilities from well-meaning developed countries. Of the 21 African countries examined, Zimbabwe appears to be already employing various evaluation activities. Other countries that are following suite, include Morocco, Ghana and South Africa. Most African countries cannot afford not to implement systematic evaluation, as is being carried out by most developed countries. Developing countries appear to fear that exposed failure would strengthen their political opponents. The three waves of evaluation considered, indicate that Africa missed the first wave during the 1960s and 1970s, whilst striving for independence was high on their agenda. During the second wave, from the mid-1970s during the oil crises through to the mid 1980s, the budget process promoted public accountability in countries like Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain, Finland and France. The third wave, from the late 1980s and 1990s, stimulated New Public Management tools like goal setting, implementation and objective evaluation based on private sector practices. The World Bank supports such measures and countries like Ireland, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Colombia and Korea were quick to follow the example set by the first-wave countries. This wave has spread to some developing countries with expanding economies in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In order to stimulate a demand for evaluation in Africa, governments would be well advised to adopt lessons learnt by those countries that have already undergone first, second and third wave evaluations. Policy instruments generally used, include the carrot, stick and sermon approaches. So-called carrots include incentives; sticks consist of regulatory measures like constraints, inhibitions, prohibitions and deterrents; and sermons on the informative measures are used to build and sustain an objective evaluation culture. These policy instruments are not employed in isolation, but they are said to come in vertical, horizontal or chronological packages. It is concluded that the above policy instruments are most effective, when combined with other techniques. An appeal is made to African leaders to display an open willingness to engage in objective evaluation and a desire to promote a demand for evaluation in the public service. This would be in line with President Mbeki's commitment to lead the way in Africa by having the South African public service evaluated continuously.
Democratic participation for service delivery in local government in Zimbabwe : humanising structural configurations and legal provisionsSource: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 744 –760 (2005)More Less
This paper explores democratic participation as a fundamental concept for improving service delivery in rural local government in Zimbabwe. The paper argues that it is vital to show commitment to the democratic process through implementable plans that compel councillors in Zimbabwe's rural district councils (RDCs) to involve communities in the service delivery process. The paper acknowledges that although Zimbabwe has arguably adopted commendable local government policies and has established appropriate structures for democratic participation, the practice does not justify the effort. The article also notes that RDCs tend to minimize or underplay the role of communities in service delivery and this has invariably led to uninformed communities and quasi-compliance. The article further posits that local effort and commitment to 'humanize' these policies and structures through mobilizing the ultimate beneficiaries of RDC action to participate in processes of service delivery has led to strategic policy designs, implementation and evaluation. It is also noted that RDCs should sensitize communities on the fundamental values of democratic participation and ensure that all council deliberations are premised on community input. Finally, it is argued in this article that councillors should be compelled to provide intelligible and timely reports to communities to keep the latter informed of council actions.
Competencies for the senior management service in the South African public service : an evaluative assessmentSource: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 761 –779 (2005)More Less
It is expected of the members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) of the South African public service to manage and lead their respective institutions within the context of an ever changing environment. Since 1994, the public sector has been experiencing major transformation, as is the case with all other sectors, which also entailed structural transformation because of changing policies and priorities. This gives an indication of the specific and dynamic environment in which members of the SMS have to operate, where the emphasis is not only placed on competencies in the management and leadership fields, but also on the field of organisation development. The Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) for the members of the SMS was developed to ensure that SMS members are enabled and capable of meeting the challenges of change. It is therefore important to determine whether the competencies used in the PMDS are in fact developing managers who would be able to lead and change their organisations, rather than merely acting as the administrators of fixed rules and procedures.
The recognition of revenue and the escalating debtors of municipalities in South Africa : political and social dilemmas vs. accounting realitiesSource: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 780 –795 (2005)More Less
The culture of non-payment, and other reasons, have increased the outstanding debts of municipalities and other public institutions for services rendered by them to disturbing levels. This situation is so serious that one of the most important building blocks of the public sector, namely municipalities, can collapse. The accounting and control measures within municipalities with regard to outstanding debts, and in particular to the collection of these debts together with political interference by politicians, often leave much to be desired. If the preceding, as well as principles of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP, GAMAP and GRAP) are taken into account, it is clear that there is more than enough reason for concern that the financial statements of many municipalities in South Africa do not comply with GAAP, and for the purposes of this article, the incorrect recognition and measurement of revenue and debtors. Municipalities, and the public sector as a whole, as well as other influential role players like the Auditor-General, politicians, audit firms involved in public sector audit work and regulating bodies of the auditing profession, the legal profession and prosecuting authorities, will have to consider seriously whether the overstatement of outstanding debtors of municipalities do not constitute window dressing of such serious extent that it can no longer be tolerated.
Author R. RonaldsonSource: Journal of Public Administration 40, pp 796 –808 (2005)More Less
There has not been much research emphasis on the role and strategies public institutions should adopt in conserving the built heritage environment in a South African context of transformation. This article will illustrate by means of examples from an international perspective numerous strategies and policies that could be put in place by public institutions to assist in the current execution of the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (25 of 1999). The Act will be explained briefly, followed by a discussion of a number of dilemmas faced by public institutions in implementing heritage conservation practices in the built environment.