Journal of Public Administration - Special issue 1, December 2008
Volumes & issues
Special issue 1, December 2008
Author P.N. MfeneSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 207 –218 (2008)More Less
The policy implementation process encompasses various activities which aim at converting the goals and objectives of various policies into public goods and services for a better life for all the citizens. These activities are carried out by various public service officials who are at different hierarchical levels, with different qualifications, expertise, behaviour, beliefs, norms and values. A concerted effort by all public officials at all levels is required for the South African government to successfully implement its policies so as to have services delivered efficiently and effectively to the community. Botes (1994:24) highlights that supervisors and managers are appointed, not because of their marketing skills or investment abilities, but because of their particular leadership abilities.
Leadership at the lower levels of the hierarchy (where goods and services become visible) is essential to ensure that public officials strive to, not only achieve their own goals and objectives, but also those of the government. Therefore, a specific type of guidance and leadership is needed that will motivate and induce officials to give effect to the provisions of section 195(1)(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 which stipulates that services must be provided to all citizens impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
In this paper a brief literature review of leadership concepts will be done in order to obtain an understanding of the nature and scope of administrative leadership. This will facilitate an investigation into the relationship between administrative leadership and policy implementation, as well as highlighting the importance of administrative leadership during policy implementation. Additionally, the capacity needs and factors influencing administrative leadership during policy implementation will be examined.
From a separated to a unified public service : the search for seamless delivery of public services in South AfricaAuthor T. KhaloSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 214 –225 (2008)More Less
A developmental state like South Africa requires a capable and effective public service to implement its national development plan. In essence, to achieve its developmental goals, South Africa will have to depend upon the commitment, strength and competence of public servants who must convert the stated developmental goals into coherent programmes.
Currently, the South African government is structured into three spheres; the national, provincial and local. Each of the three spheres derives its public service delivery mandate and competence from the Constitution, 1996. Furthermore, in terms of the Constitution the public service is comprised of the national and provincial spheres of government, while the local sphere of government remains distinct and independent from the other two. Therefore, this structure has led to a public service delivery by national and provincial spheres on the one hand and the local sphere on the other. Consequently, the Constitution, 1996 recognises the interdependence of the three spheres and fosters co-operation among them in the quest to deliver public services.
The single public service envisaged in the commonly known Single Public Service Bill currently before Parliament contains a potential for bridging the organisational gaps associated with the current structure of government and is intended for citizens to benefit from a seamless interface with government machinery. Apart from the service delivery opportunities offered by the unification of the administration in the three spheres of government in a Single Public Service, some challenges remain. The notion of a Single Public Service in ensuring seamless public service delivery in South Africa is critically examined in the article. The objectives of the notion are critically explored as well the opportunities and challenges presented by the unification of the administration in the three spheres of government on public service delivery. The article concludes with recommendations for seamless service delivery.
Privatisation and ensuring accountability in the provision of essential services : the case of water in South AfricaSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 219 –230 (2008)More Less
Developing country governments are struggling to meet the basic needs and demands of citizens, and especially so for the rural poor. With tightly constrained budgets, these governments have followed the lead of developed countries that have sought to restructure public service delivery through privatisation, contracting out, public private partnerships and similar reforms. Such reforms in service delivery are generally welcomed when it is believed that private sector partners are better equipped to provide certain services than are governments. With respect to basic and essential services however, a higher degree of uncertainty and apprehension exist, as the focus shifts from simply minimising the costs of delivering services to broadening access to all citizens. Accordingly, the Bill of Rights (section 27(1)(b)) of the 1996 Constitution, stipulates that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water. Affordable and / or subsidised water, then, is not a privilege but a basic right of all citizens. Citizens elect political representatives to serve in office with their sole mandate being to provide for the needs of the citizenry. As governments pass on, some amount of responsibility for service delivery to private businesses, these governments must be able to exercise control in order to account to the people for the work done by private partners.
This paper examines the legislative and policy frameworks as well as the environment within which PPPs take place in South Africa, and the extent to which accountability can be strengthened in this environment. Within the aforementioned backdrop of PPPs and accountability, the constricted focus area of the paper aims to assess the extent to which the provision of clean and safe consumable water in South Africa are sustainable, cost-effective in terms of provision, and affordable to all.
Author L.C. Van JaarsveldtSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 226 –237 (2008)More Less
In the information society the use of technology is becoming increasingly important. This is especially relevant to government institutions in South Africa. In South Africa the public service is the sole supplier or provider of particular products or services that citizens in the country have to utilise. It therefore goes without saying that in order to be able to provide these services the South African public service is in need of educated, trained and professional public servants. Initiatives like for example e-government requires an educated and proficient public work force that can meet the needs and challenges of citizens in a growing information society.
Strengthening human resource capacity building : challenges, strategies and opportunities for prosperityAuthor L.P. MolekaneSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 231 –244 (2008)More Less
In essence public service delivery is the responsibility of public officials. They are the first and real contact the community has with government departments in terms of services delivered. They participate in decision making regarding what, how, when, where and for whom, services are to be provided. When public officials undertake these decisions, a certain degree of understanding, knowledge, training, skills, and access to information is required in order to turn policy objectives into reality. It is commonly the case that the ability of the public service will be questioned by its stakeholders when it fails to deliver on its mandate of better and effective service delivery to the society. The causative factor of this failure will immediately be attributed to human resource capacity within the public service. In the face of failure to provide service delivery and challenges associated with it, it is important for government departments to reconsider their position and stance with regard to building state human resource capacity.
This paper will examine the concept of capacity building and its importance, its role in improving human resources, challenges associated with it, strategic options available towards human capacity building and opportunities that human resources capacity building can bring for the state.
Author K.G. PhagoSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 238 –252 (2008)More Less
In democratic countries such as South Africa, participation of community members in governance matters (in all three spheres) is a right. This is because the government is elected to improve the general wellbeing of the people and, therefore, community participation are required to ensure that the most pressing needs of the people are prioritised. While the government may have an indication of what the needs of the people are, a two-way relationship between community members and the government can serve to clarify instances where there are misunderstandings. Such participation could enhance public confidence in the government.
This article considers the existing modes of community participation since 1994 for provincial and national spheres of government, and since 2000 for the establishment of democratic local government. The question that guides this article is: Who wants to participate in the affairs of government? In attempting to answer this question, factors influencing community participation are considered. Furthermore, in this article a shift is undertaken to focus on the participants in the context of local government. This discussion is followed by the need to enhance community participation in matters pertaining to local government. Enhancing participation in this regard should be understood as a means of accelerating public service delivery. Finally, this article recounts community participation in relation to service delivery.
Author L. MothaeSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 245 –257 (2008)More Less
Better life for all is a moral obligation as well as the collective responsibility of all the public service delivery agencies in all spheres of government. At the heart of these service delivery agencies are public policies that serve as government strategies for addressing the problems and challenges facing society. It is imperative for these policies to be efficiently and effectively implemented if the government is to deliver services that will ensure that the vision mentioned above is attained. This places the duty on public service delivery agencies, at all spheres of government to jointly execute public policies in a manner that will yield the best possible results for the society.
The inability of and deficiency of public organisations in implementing public policies are serious challenges and threats to achieving the vision of government as well as meeting the demands of the citizens. A series of factors ranging from organisational arrangements to procedural requirements constitute the barriers and shortcomings limiting the state's capacity to implement public policies. This paper proposes a collective and integrated approach to implementing public policies. The proposed approach requires synergised efforts and collaboration of state organisations, in all spheres of government, as a means of consolidating state capacity to execute public policies.
Constitutional value and principle of development orientation of public administration in South Africa : a critical perspectiveAuthor M.H. MaserumuleSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 253 –262 (2008)More Less
The meaning of the concept public administration as contemplated in section 195(1) (C) of the Constitution, 1996 is simple to understand. However, an addition of the qualification that public administration must be "development-orientated" complicates such conceptual simplicity. For development is a contested concept, nebulous and value-laden. The constitutional value and principle that public administration must be development-orientated are therefore predisposed to conceptual inexactness in terms of what it really mean in the business of government in South Africa. This constitutional value and principle are considered in this article with the intention to rigorously engage with it and make a contribution to the contemporary discourse about its meaning.
Performance auditing as means to entrench professional ethos in the public sector : a South African local government perspectiveSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 258 –270 (2008)More Less
The transformation of the public service has marked a new wave of performance and public financial management. Government institutions are required to subscribe to statutory performance measures including efficiency, effectiveness, economy (3Es) and professional ethics thus ensuring an outcome-based governance approach to service delivery. Central to this mandate, amongst other things, performance auditing is pivotal for state institutions in general and for municipalities in particular. Performance or value-for-money audit is a process carried out by the management of the institution to assess the systems, or the lack thereof, to ensure that resources have been acquired economically and are utilised efficiently and effectively, and to report thereon to management. If appropriate also to report, to the legislative body concerned. In this regard, the paper first explores the legislative framework regulating the audit processes and ultimately the promotion of efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the management public resources within the municipalities. These include Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act 56 of 2003), Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000), Auditor-General Act, 1995 (Act 12 of 1995) and Public Audit Act, 2004 (Act 25 of 2004). The paper further provides an analysis of municipal audit outcomes for 2006 / 07 financial year. The analysis unravels several issues which require immediate attention in order to make financial management and accountability of municipal official operational. Therefore, the paper concludes by providing pertinent recommendations on how to enhance good performance audit practice as means to enhance professional ethos in the public service in general and within municipalities in particular.
Author A. Van SchalkwykSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 263 –275 (2008)More Less
This article focuses on the progress made with rendering essential basic services to especially previous disadvantaged communities in South Africa, with special reference to metropolitan municipalities. A brief outline is provided of the meaning of the concepts sustainability and metropolitan area/municipalities. Metropolitan municipalities being a combination of some of the previous existing municipalities comprise nearly one third of the population of South Africa and have a unique role to play as the municipalities integrated into metropolitan municipalities differ substantially from each other especially their backgrounds and in many cases also lack infrastructure and finances. The sustainability of services, in particular water, sanitation and electricity will be investigated and recommendations made to ensure that these services are extended to all households.
Author B.C. MubangiziSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 271 –284 (2008)More Less
The objectives of local government in South Africa, as outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and amplified in the White Paper on Local Government, clearly delineate a mandate of local government steeped in a developmental and people centred paradigm. Following the publication of the White Paper on Local Government, supportive legislation have been promulgated to enable the functioning of local government institutions to promote economic, social and political development. The legislation include the core principles, mechanisms and processes that are necessary to enable local government to move progressively towards realising its objectives. Municipalities are expected to operate in an environment of constrained resource endowments and expenditure cutbacks. They are faced with increasing (local and global) pressure to deliver services of high standards designed to attract investment and boost their financial resources - a matter that strains their relationship with the citizenry.
This paper, firstly, examines the policy tensions within which South Africa's local government operates. Secondly, it critically analyses the resource capabilities of municipalities which have a bearing on their mandate. Lastly, the paper argues for a community development approach to effect the operation and relevance of the local government institution for the poor and, in this way, enhance state capacity to make local government work.
Author J.S. WesselsSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 276 –290 (2008)More Less
This article reflects on the implications of unconditional scholarship in public administration for the setting of a research agenda. By doing so, the implications of the concept unconditional scholarship for public administration in a new democracy such as South Africa are considered. The literature on agenda setting for public administration research is consequently reviewed to trace a possible research agenda for public administration. There is no evidence of any common ground regarding an agenda among scholars from the various countries. The review of literature gives no indication of any official restrictions on that freedom on Public Administration scholars. Evidence has been found of a so-called disconnection between scholarship and practice, which seems to have the potential advantage of an arms-length distance between practice and scholarship. This distance is assumed to make it possible for scholars to exercise their critical freedom. However, real scholarly influence on the process of policy agenda setting and policy-making seems to depend on the presence of mutual respect and trust.
The Amakhosi-councillors' interface : the need for multi directional capacity building and accommodationSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 285 –293 (2008)More Less
As a developmental state, South Africa's local government are continuously facing major challenges. KwaZulu-Natal itself experiences severe poverty, incessant HIV / Aids casualties and unemployment. Being the foot-soldiers of democracy, our municipalities carry the brunt of discontent and societal pressures. Hence, elected political office bearers and municipal administrators are mandated to undergo training so as to enhance their municipalities' capacity and delivery record. But where is the recognition of traditional leaders? Where are the incentives to train them alongside municipal officials? South Africa's Constitution, 1996 mandates traditional leaders to ensure that services are delivered to their members in a sustainable way. Their relevance depends to a large extent on how the institution serves its communities customarily, culturally and developmentally. Within the uMhlathuze Municipality, in partnership with various stakeholders, training of the aMakhosi (traditional leaders) is seen as non-negotiable. Yet, the actual interaction between elected political office bearers, local communities and the aMakhosi remain limited and inefficient. Subsequently, service deliveries are affected.
The University of Zululand in partnership with its in-house KZN Institute for Local Government and Traditional Leadership and other corporate entities, embarked on extensive capacity building endeavours. The overarching aims are to capacitate local community leaders as well as to bridge the gap between those elected members, officials and the aMakhosi. This is an ongoing project and serves to test the applicability and relevance of capacity building of the aMakhosi as an important tool for effective service delivery.
Author M. Van HeerdenSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 291 –308 (2008)More Less
The Constitution, 1996, stipulates that all citizens have a right to enjoy a better quality of life ... free from fear and free from crime. To give effect to this right, and as a key partner in the South African criminal justice system, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) plays a critical role in ensuring that perpetrators of crime are investigated, charged and held responsible for their criminal actions. The aim of this article is to explore the inception and authority of the NPA, with special reference to its investigation unit known as the Directorate of Special Operations, or Scorpions, whose existence is now being challenged.
Knowledge about the origin of a municipality's potable water : a prerequisite for consolidation of more effective local governanceSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 294 –307 (2008)More Less
In the history of South Africa, the supply of potable water and basic sanitation services to all its inhabitants has never been higher in the national, provincial and especially the local government sphere agendas than at the end of April 1994. As a result of the change in Government, all the executive public institutions on all three spheres had to revisit and transform their executive authorities, acts, regulations and work procedures in such a manner that equally benefit all citizens of the country. With reference to national water affairs, the National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) was promulgated to provide for reform of the law relating to water resources in South Africa with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) as the key role-player.
The presenters of this paper are of the opinion that a municipality which is fully dependant on the correct identification, development, transport and use of its potable water, can only be successful in bringing about effective, efficient and economical water services management if specific requirements are adhered to.
The paper therefore will firstly identify some important physical environmental aspects to be considered by a typical municipality like the Tlokwe City Council when managing its potable water supply. Secondly, some crucial specialised hydrological, geo-hydrological and engineering knowledge and skills regarding the origin, handling and management of a municipality's potable water will be identified. Lastly, some logical conclusions and recommendations will be presented to cultivate an environment conducive to consolidating local governance and water management knowledge creation at the local government sphere of a developing South Africa.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 308 –323 (2008)More Less
A tone deaf will never be able to appreciate the music of maestros. Only a seasoned jeweller would know that all that glitters is not real? And, only those who can recognise the worth of a diamond can value it, for others it's just a stone! Talent is doing easily what others fine difficult (The Hindu 2004). As South Africa embarks on its journey into the second decade of democracy, major strides have been made on the political, economic, social and legislative spheres. A plethora of legislation and policy directions count as the most progressive in the world. However, many challenges remain. One of these is the shortage of professional and managerial skills and the imbalances at these levels. In any organisation, there is nothing more crucial than fitting the right people in the right position.
Talent management is difficult to define but it is a complex undertaking that operates within the strategic human resource framework. Talent management is increasingly gaining momentum in the public sector. The trend is to move towards the retention of talented and skilled employees who bring significant value to the work place. There has to be a paradigm shift towards a talent mindset with a view to identifying the high and low achievers, reinforcing good performance and addressing bad performance. The new managerial approach is to view talent management as an innovative tool that must be embedded into the work culture and ethos in the public sector.
This paper examines the concept and constructs of talent management as an all embracing tool to retain talented human resources in the public sector. Furthermore, a robust and integrated talent management strategy would be proposed to enhance service excellence.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 324 –338 (2008)More Less
The advent of democracy and the first democratic non-racial local government elections in 1994 and 1995 respectively, brought about a new era of leadership at the local sphere of government. According to the Constitution of 1996 municipalities must be established throughout the country including the rural areas. This resulted in the election of councillors in the area of jurisdiction of traditional leaders.
The inclusion of municipalities in rural areas brought about two kinds of leadership in rural communities, i.e. traditional leaders and municipal councillors. The Constitution does not define the role of traditional leaders in their communities although section 156 defines the powers and functions of elected councillors, which largely overlaps with those exercised by traditional leaders. In essence, what is legislated in the Constitution is the role of councillors in service delivery. Section 152(b) and 153(a) of the Constitution stipulate one of the objects of local government under the leadership of councillors to be to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner and to structure and manage the municipality's administration, budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community. However, Chapter 12 of the Constitution recognises traditional leaders and makes provision for the advisory role at provincial and national sphere of the government but does not specify what role these leaders should play at local the local sphere of government.
The paper examines the role of traditional leadership in service delivery in the local sphere of government. A comparative analysis of traditional leaders' role and those of municipal councillors are then made. The paper also identifies the deficiencies inherent in the Constitution regarding the role of traditional leaders in local service delivery. It concludes with recommendations on complementary leadership in local service delivery.
Author M. SindaneSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 339 –348 (2008)More Less
A universally acceptable administrative culture is perhaps an illusive concept in the administrative sciences. Different countries have different administrative cultures and at times different administrative cultures exist within the same country. The problems of developing a universal administrative culture may also vary, ranging from politics, social and economic factors, exacerbated by unequal levels of development of different countries and political instability, especially in developing countries. However, the development of an acceptable administrative culture within a country is arguably the first wisdom towards inculcating a sense of pride for the public service of any country and as a gateway to capacitating the state.
The development of an administrative culture within a country must complement and be complemented by a sense of accountability and ethics by public managers. Cultured public managers need to cultivate a sense of accountability and ethics that transcends the legality of administrative action to include organisational and professional behaviour as well as morality of administrative action. The search for the best practices in capacitating the state, requires that officials in administration be afforded personal space for personal initiatives and growth to develop personal values that can assist them to develop personal accountability. This paper argues in favour of the development of an acceptable administrative culture and a deep-seated sense of accountability and ethics that fosters pride and ensures efficient and effective high quality customer service that the state strives for.
Capacitating the state through the promotion of sound ethics and professionalism within the teaching professionSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 349 –359 (2008)More Less
This paper acknowledges that, despite increasing expenditure in education in South Africa, there are indications that outputs and outcomes in education are not responding fast enough to increase spending in education within the country. Although parents and learners are also major stakeholders within education, the paper argues that any attempt to improve outputs and outcomes needs the support and commitment of teachers. This, therefore, calls for a need to promote sound ethics and professionalism within the teaching profession.
This paper argues that although professionalism and ethical conduct by teachers have major impacts within the teaching and learning environment there has not yet been any common approach by government and teachers in South Africa. This creates a need for change of attitude from all concerned if the desired results are to be achieved. While some progress has been made to close the gap between the government and teachers on issues of professionalism there are still more to be done. Finally certain recommendations are proposed that involve various stakeholders so that an environment conducive for teachers' professionalism and ethical conduct is created.
Towards engendering developmental local government : an imperative for multi-skilled, conscientised and empowered development workersSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 360 –372 (2008)More Less
The democratisation and decentralisation of local government in post-apartheid South Africa was put in the spotlight due to demands on service delivery, poverty alleviation and the provision of sustainable basic services. Traditionally municipalities were the providers of services but its role has since shifted in that it is now expected to facilitate and implement developmental programmes. In an attempt to address developmental challenges, which are mirrored in the devastating effects of poverty, disease, unemployment, inequalities as well as slow economic growth that does not pave way for the poor to access socio-economic opportunities, a new developmental local government system was conceived to engage communities through exploring sustainable strategies as mechanisms that bring about social and economic development.
In this paper the authors argue that development workers are the link between people and their local municipality / government. In essence, relocating development workers within developmental local government compels them to strike a balance between participatory democracy and decentralised development in partnership with the people. Thus this paper examines the nature and developmental role of development workers as public servants could play. The authors further argue that developmental local government as a precursor for mobilising resources for people-centred development requires a multi-skilled, conscientised and empowered development workers as agents of change.
Challenges and predicaments faced by development workers will be explored by a case study of 30 e-Thekwini community development workers. The authors argue that without the engine of development (development workers) municipalities are unable to reach or benefit the disenfranchised and the marginalised. For development workers to play a catalytic and developmental role, an environment that is conducive and supportive needs to be created within a people centred development framework.