n Journal of Public Administration - The new budgeting approach in South Africa : a critical assessment

Volume 41, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The traditional budgeting system in South Africa has been characterised by almost exclusive expenditure control measures. In the new political and constitutional framework since the transition to democracy in 1994, government has been faced with challenges of reconciling increased public service delivery with fiscal discipline. The introduction of the , 1999 budgetary framework was a response to this backdrop. It is aimed at regulating financial management in the public sector by ensuring efficient and effective management of public resources, in the delivery of public services.

The emergence of fiscal deficits has forced developing countries to examine how budgeting systems can better support their developmental priorities. As a result some of these countries have begun considering budgetary reforms while others are at various implementation phases of output or result based budgeting. The introduction of service delivery information in the Estimates of National Expenditure and the Budget Statements marks an improvement in emphasising economy and effective delivery of service within the performance budgeting framework. The development of the In-Year Monitoring (IYM) system and the Standard Chart of Accounts (SCoA) is yet another initiative towards the transformation of the budgeting system, aimed at modernising accounts and reporting by government in line with the international best practices. The objective of this paper is to offer a critical appraisal of the budget system in South Africa, looking at the way budgeting has evolved to incorporate a new legislation on budget management and to offer suggestions for improvements on future reform agenda.

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