Journal of Public Administration - Special issue 1, December 2008
Volumes & issues
Special issue 1, December 2008
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 373 –384 (2008)More Less
The local government sphere plays a significant developmental role in the provision of public goods and services to the communities of South Africa. The effectiveness of municipalities in this sphere, to deliver on their mandate is largely dependent on their ability to plan and allocate public resources in a developmental and sustainable manner. This paper defines the relationship which exists between a municipality's integrated development plan (the IDP) and the budget process (the budget). It is considered necessary, at the outset, to operationalise the context of a municipality's legislative mandate, vision, the principles and the milieu within which an IDP exists, as well as the policy framework within which a municipality's budget is framed and adopted. In the process, the purpose of local government in South Africa is examined. This discussion sets out the framework within which the mandate of a municipality is framed, the authority, and the requirement to formulate an integrated development plan, what this plan is, and what it serves to give effect to. Thereafter the relationship with the budget is explored from an interpretive perspective.
The talent management approach to human resource management : attracting and retaining the right peopleAuthor H.G. Van DijkSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 385 –395 (2008)More Less
What provides a public organisation with its competitive edge? What makes it evolve into a more productive, better managed and efficiently organised entity? The argument can be made that the organisation's product is its reason for existing, but without the appropriate human resource capacity, the product would not get delivered. This might be too simple an explanation, but authors agree that an organisation's most important resource is its human resource.
Talent is the product of ability (competence, education, training and experience), coupled with motivation (engagement, satisfaction, challenge and wellness) and opportunity. Talent management can be defined as the strategic integrated approach to managing a career from attracting, retaining, developing to transitioning the organisations' human resources. In this paper attention will be given to identifying what attracts talent to the South African Public Service. Developing countries should seek new ways to lay their hands on an ever diverse, but always limited pool of talent. Research has shown that truly talented people tend to gravitate towards the best organisations and in this paper the case will be made for those aspects that characterise best organisations, namely those that instil the talent management mindset at all levels, those who integrate talent management in their recruitment strategies and those who grow their leaders.
The leadership and ethics interface : strengthening human resources and organisational capacity for developmentAuthor E.J. Van RooyenSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 396 –407 (2008)More Less
Leadership and ethics are concepts which are seen as important factors in human resources and organisational capacity in a developmental state. Leadership is necessary within the context of decision making and organisational performance whilst ethics refers to the particular conduct of those within organizations who are responsible for decision making. Recent examples of corruption, and less than exemplary conduct by South African public officials presented the vexed question as to how problems in this regard may be addressed.
This article attempts to lend perspective to the leadership and ethics interface. Aspects relating to the establishment of an ethical framework and anti corruption strategy for government are briefly described and mention is made of the leadership aspects associated with good governance. To exemplify the above, two cases of organisations and measures taken by such organisations within the context of policy and the regulatory framework are cited.
Author L. VermeulenSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 408 –420 (2008)More Less
Due to the fact that skilled, competent staff is in high demand, it is important for strategic managers to give precedence to talent management. This calls for obtaining and retaining top talent and making a talent management strategy a priority. This paper aims to find solutions for strategic managers to successfully obtain talent, internally and externally, and retain their best employees. The value of talent management and succession planning will be investigated. The paper will also focus on how South African public sector managers can borrow from international best practice in this respect.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 629 –630 (2008)More Less
Public administration is never in a stage of homoeostasis. Political and social conditions tend to change continuously. Even climatic changes affect the administrative systems of every country. These conditions require the reconsideration of the administrative system as well as the management practices to obtain and maintain efficient and effective service delivery in all the spheres of government. In South Africa the fabric of society had to be re-engineered with the advent of the democratising of the country in 1994. The changes required could not be completed in a mere 14 years. Re-engineering actually represents a process demanding constant consideration of the major services, but also the smallest detail. Therefore, managers in the public sector should, at no stage feel content that the transformational goals have been achieved. Similarly academics have to keep track of policy changes and more importantly also have to provide advice on international best practice as well as theoretical developments impacting on administrative systems and managerial practices. These research results could serve as valuable sources of information to policy makers and implementers thus improving service delivery as the primary goal of government.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 631 –645 (2008)More Less
This article makes a critical survey of the literature and provides an analysis on the emerging issues that underpin governance imperatives in Africa under the different administrative and paradigmatic settings. The article further provokes an informative debate on the examination of governance dilemmas at nation-state level and corporate level dimensions before analysing the global governance trends spearheaded, especially under the aegis of the global economic multilaterals (GEMs), in the wake of good governance pursuit. It is argued that the governance gaps in the developing world have exacerbated the tentacles of the global governance in the socio-economic and politico-administrative spheres, while the recent partnership schemes between Africa and the G8 promises to ameliorate the state-of-affairs, but with a surge of encumbrances. While the demonstrated benefits in the partnership and debt relief should filter through to the vulnerable grassroots, there is a perception that there is a dire need to make the concept of good governance less overwhelming to poor countries.
Author H. KroukampSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 646 –656 (2008)More Less
Public trust in government is key to achieve stability, peace and development in both developed and developing countries. In recent times, however, trust in government declined and various efforts were undertaken to improve trust in government. Unfortunately these efforts did not emanate in improved performance, a factor leading towards the improvement of trust in governance, by local government in South Africa. Mechanisms such as leadership with emphasis on the characteristics of trusted leaders and the actions these leaders should take to encourage trust, will be discussed in this article. Apart from this, attention will be focused on the conceptualisation of trust in government, a review of local government in South Africa as well as determining local government performance to ascertain whether trust indeed decreased in this sphere of government in South Africa.
Organisational transformation in South African local government : are our municipalities centres of service excellence?Author L.M. Du PlessisSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 657 –666 (2008)More Less
Rapid organisational transformation in South African municipalities has meant fundamental changes in the character of these organisations. What has remained as a constant factor amid these changes is the requirement for municipalities to render services to and promote development within local communities. Furthermore, strides have been made in terms of establishing a framework within which municipalities should exist and operate in order to fulfill their constitutional mandate. Continuous questions about service rendering in South African local government exist. There are persisting views that municipalities are not producing desired results amidst the progressive framework established for South Africa's new local government system. Various reasons for this state of affairs are speculated upon, including a lack of resources, political and managerial inability / incapacity to manage local issues and the nature and context of local problems created by the previous political dispensation, to mention but a few.
This article attempts to investigate some of the main obstacles attached to the new system of local government in South Africa with a specific focus on organisational change in municipalities. It furthermore attempts to propose some solutions to these challenging questions as it is crucial for sustainable service rendering and ultimately the satisfaction of local communities.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 667 –679 (2008)More Less
Local government has been constitutionalised as a sphere of government and this has signified a conceptual shift from serving as administrative service delivery agents to the promotion of developmental goals and principles, namely local democracy, sustainable development, a safe and healthy environment and co-operative government. The White Paper on Local Government mandates municipalities to involve communities in facilitating development. Participation is an integral part of local democracy and it is a legislative requirement for the local community to be drawn into the process through integrated development planning, budgeting, performance management and ward committees. However, there are serious disparities between policy and practice as the success of public participation will not depend on regulation of the system, but through innovative and creative local policies and legislation. A participatory culture should be inculcated and furthermore the appropriate and relevant mechanisms, processes and procedures be developed. eThekwini Municipality has created an environment for active participation through ward committees. However, the active participation of the rural population is still problematic and there are challenges that have to be addressed. Given the fact that the largest percentage of developmental backlogs are in the rural areas, which are inhabited by the disadvantaged communities, it is imperative that that they are actively involved in the process of addressing these backlogs through the formal structures of community participation that have been set up.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 680 –697 (2008)More Less
Public participation is an integral part of local democracy and local governance. Currently, public participation permeates all legislation impacting on local government in South Africa. It enhances individual and group esteem and enables municipal functionaries to understand crucial issues that serve as an impetus for policymaking. The issues are prioritised so that the available resources can be used efficiently and effectively to address community needs. Legislation has been introduced to promote community participation at the local level and the most significant structures in this regard are ward committees. This article reviews the ward governance system as it is currently operational in Buffalo City Municipality in East London and the resultant challenges that have to be addressed. The study has revealed that ward committees have not been effective. This has impacted negatively on service delivery in the City. By and large, residents are not aware of their rights and duties as citizens of the Municipality and community participation in municipal affairs are lacking. Residents have not been educated on when, why and how they should participate which has also impacted negatively on the process. As a result, they do not hold municipal functionaries accountable for their actions or inaction. Furthermore, ward committees are not functioning effectively as members do not receive the required information, capacity building and guidance from the council. Ward councillors are not co-operative and do not seem to have a good working relationship with committee members. Recommendations have been made that would hopefully improve the ward governance system in Buffalo City Municipality specifically and South Africa generally.
Conceptualising local economic development as a community engagement strategy for poverty alleviationAuthor M.H. KanyaneSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 698 –707 (2008)More Less
Local Economic Development (LED) is an international tool, which is also tried and tested in South Africa in the post apartheid democratic government to initiate and accelerate local development for effective service delivery. As an outcome based on local initiatives and driven by local stakeholders, it has a contribution to make in South Africa if it is properly implemented. The broader aim of the LED is to create employment opportunities in the local government sphere, alleviate poverty and redistribute resources and opportunities to the benefit of all community members. However, unemployment and poverty pose a challenge to LED. In most cases, LED fails to yield fruition because municipalities lack LED governing structures. Those that have such structures superimpose and dictate the strategy through top down approaches, and this is problematic. This article address with the way in which LED could be best employed as a community engagement strategy to resolve the challenges posed.
Author S.R. MalefaneSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 708 –724 (2008)More Less
Local government, pre - 1994 in South Africa was characterised by a strong top-down approach. There was little perceived need for gathering information or for directly involving the community in the process of governance. Information about the living conditions or opinions of the majority of the citizens was not required to inform policy directions. The official statistics produced were often of unknown representation and made it difficult to draw broader conclusions from their findings. The findings were often manipulated to reinforce and persuade international onlookers to a particular view of the country rather than to inform or provide feedback about the living conditions of the majority of the country's citizens. The state invested in information as a propaganda tool and as a result, the regime has left no legacy of monitoring the effectiveness of local government.
Municipalities have undergone rigorous change following the democratic elections of 1994 (MAC, 2001: 7; Ntshulana-Bhengu, 2004: 1). Not only has this been expressed by structural changes in the organisation of municipalities, but the roles they have to play have increased over time. Through all the programmes that are implemented in the municipal sphere of government in South Africa, the views of local players on major key performance areas that a municipality delivers on, are important. Municipalities, as open systems, operate in an ever-changing environment, and therefore, need to conduct research in their municipal areas of jurisdiction in order to inform their future strategies. The components incorporated as part of the research in municipal sphere of government need to be of interest to the target group. This would not only assist municipalities in identifying challenges to which they will able to proactively respond to, but will assist in sourcing new facts and opportunities.
Author C. ThornhillSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 725 –735 (2008)More Less
The introduction of the current system of local government and administration has resulted in the transformation of the political and the administrative systems of municipalities. The transformation is most obvious in municipalities making use of the type contemplated in section 7 of the Local Government : Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998). The types inter alia provide for a mayoral executive system for the three categories of municipality. The mayoral system provides for the election of an executive mayor. Duties are assigned to the executive mayor (Section 56) corresponding to a large extent with those of an executive committee system (section 44). However, the main difference is in the relationship between the executive mayor and the administration on the one hand and the executive committee and the administration on the other hand.
The functioning of the executive mayoral system allows the political office bearer to perform particular functions that may be considered to be the responsibility of the municipal manager. The latter is appointed as head of administration and as such is accountable for the proper functioning of the administrative support system. However, the executive mayor may endeavour to follow hands on approach, bringing the two components into conflict with one another. The paper clarifies the relationship required to ensure efficient and effective municipal government and administration, focussed on service delivery and obviating the danger of conflict hampering the achievement of goals.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 736 –748 (2008)More Less
The Constitution of Republic of South Africa, 1996 places an obligation on municipalities to satisfy basic needs and to promote the social and economic development of local communities. For this developmental role to occur, municipalities often act as developers when providing services such as housing, roads and sanitation. These activities may have environmental impacts that need to be managed in such a way that resources are used optimally and not at the expense of both present and future generations. An environmental management system (EMS) is that aspect of a municipal institution's overall management structure and arrangements that addresses the immediate and longterm impact of its activities, products and services on the environment. The EMS can thus be seen as an important tool that can be used by municipalities to obtain the sustainable utilisation of resources for the purposes of programme and project execution in such a way that socio-economic development does take place, but in a way that is not destructive to the environment.
This article pursues the objective of sustainability within the context of how an environmental management system (such as ISO14001) may be utilised as a tool to promote development within municipalities. To demonstrate this, the experiences of the Mangaung Local Municipality in the Free State, are shared to describe the process followed to implement such a system at the local government sphere.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 749 –766 (2008)More Less
The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are an integrated framework of specific targets and commitments to halve global poverty by 2015 as agreed to by all UN member nations and leading development institutions. Global demographic trends demonstrate that ever-increasing urbanisation translates into key development challenges at the local sphere. Therefore it is necessary to disseminate MDG efforts from the national level to sub-national and local levels to ensure the poor are being met at their place of need. This reallocation of developmental authority will require significant capacity building to equip local officials with tried and tested models for strategic planning, implementation, and monitoring.
Developing the ability of executive leadership and elected officials to cope with these urgent problems requires a flexible yet structured approach to knowledge sharing. Best practice sharing amongst peers is a valuable tool in garnering the practical knowledge necessary for such capacity building. However a frequent criticism is that these practices are often prescribed and untested by those who have little experience on the ground and hence do not reflect the realities faced by local governments. To address this concern, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) developed a unique public-private partnership with key cities to establish training centres with a local emphasis (CIFAL centers). Rather than imposing best practices, these centres utilise a flexible mechanism adopted by the UN to identify and extract good practices from amongst the experiences of the training participants through a guided process of sharing, discussion, and negotiation. The participants themselves then formulate and personally commit to action plans for implementation and follow up.
The article proposes an ongoing framework for executive level local government capacity building in South Africa that is easy to administer, of low cost and as effective, if not more so, than traditional capacity building measures.
Forging democracy from below : the challenges and imperatives of crafting community participation and engagementSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 767 –780 (2008)More Less
Infused in the context of the democratic epoch, public or community participation becomes the life blood through which the notion of democracy qualifies to be for people and by the people. The available evidence from the literature, point out that by engaging the citizens in matters of governance, not only that there could be a panacea for looming democratic deficit (Gaventa, 2004; Luckham et al., 2000), but people could also be afforded an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to influence decisions through their active partaking in the democratic elected structures' activities particularly those in the local government sphere.
In this article, the authors argue that the struggle for forging democracy from below requires conscientised, multi-skilled and empowered municipal officials, citizens and communities, if local government is to be transformed to proactively and effectively serve the diverse needs and challenges in partnerships with the people. It is evident from the discussion that municipal officials still feel comfortable performing functions the way they used to do before the democratic dispensation. Such mindsets inhibit constructive dialogue with communities. Hence the dream of ensuring people's governance and people centred development are not realised. The question to be asked is therefore a panacea to community participation and engagement?
Determining an ethical basis for public sector procurement management : the South African local sphere of governmentSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 781 –797 (2008)More Less
One of the noblest functions of government is securing for its citizens their individual and collective well-being. This can be achieved through honouring and safeguarding human dignity and the constructive mediation between individual freedoms and collective action. When government succeeds, this assures the social and ecological integrity of the community. In every profession, there is both the need and call for the people within that profession to conform their behaviour to certain ethical standards. Ethics is the code of conduct these professionals have adopted in order to regulate the practice of their profession. However, ethics also reaches to a level of unstated moral principles and a sense of what is right and wrong. In contemporary South Africa, a need exists for ethical and transparent public sector procurement management in all spheres of government. Evidence of this is found in official documents, court cases and in the popular press. Prescriptions governing ethical behaviour in public sector procurement peculiar to South Africa and the basic normative criteria are, inter alia, aspects reviewed and proposed in this article to strengthen the need for the determination and implementation of an ethical basis to ensure effective and efficient public sector procurement. The initial part of this article will focus on describing and explaining the nature and meaning of public sector ethics and prescriptions governing ethical behaviour in public sector procurement management in South Africa since democracy in 1994. The second part of this article will provide a brief overview of existing general public procurement guidelines as established by the South African Revenue Service, propose basic normative criteria for effective and efficient public sector procurement on the South African local sphere of government followed by a conclusive summary.
Making restitution work : the challenge of building sustainable governance and institutional structures in public administrationSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 798 –819 (2008)More Less
Canada and New Zealand are recognised as leaders in implementing restitution programmes. Both countries saw fundamental changes in government policy shaped by the 1973 Calder decision and the Treaty of Waitangi Act, 1975. These changes in policy-making commenced from views that contested indigenous land claims and resources towards a two-way communication in which negotiations between communities became the key to success. The evolving agreements moved governments towards the stance that the settlement of claims are not so much a cost as it is a vehicle for addressing indigenous socio-economic circumstances. Negotiated agreements set out to reflect the emergence of an economic development policy objective that emphasised traditional rights.
The article highlights issues and trends that shape options for public administration in the development of governance structures that must be taken into consideration during the planning and design of restitution programmes in rural, peri-urban and urban areas. Creating sustainable post-settlement support for restitution is a major task as outcomes in the local sphere are interwoven with rights to land and resources that co-exist with the traditional and broader communal management systems. Public administrators are thus faced with major challenges in matching the needs of local government with that of rural development. At the core of restitution lie communication, entrepreneurship and business development, each a critical element in finding sustainable pathways to meet the needs of communities and improve the quality of their lives.
For this reason the article explores development objectives and the processes involved in attaining social advancement.
Training as an essential tool for successful local government transformation : developing the culture of learning in municipalitiesAuthor L. MothaeSource: Journal of Public Administration 43, pp 820 –830 (2008)More Less
There have been major social, political and economic changes in South Africa that required organisational change and transformation. The government has put in place mechanisms to transform the public sector organisations in order for them to be capable of addressing the needs of the citizens. Municipalities are no exception in this matter. Being the closest service delivery agencies to the people, municipalities are therefore required to position themselves and conduct their business in a way that will enhance the lives of all South Africans. As clearly stated in the White Paper on Local Government (1998) transformation is not a choice but an obligation placed on each municipality to fulfill its constitutional mandate and play a role in the development of the nation. This transformation implies the change in organisational structures, strategies, processes, systems and the people in municipalities. At the heart of these transformation processes are the municipal officials who play a pivotal and leading role in ensuring successful transformation. It is, therefore, required of these officials to be capable, willing and ready to effectively and proactively respond to and manage the changing circumstances in the municipal environment. Public sector transformation and change, however, is a complicated process that requires a knowledgeable, skillful and dedicated workforce to put concepts and policies into practice. In this regard training is regarded as the essential tool for transformation.The view held in this article is that continuous training is necessary for encouraging and fostering continuous learning required for successful transformation in the local sphere of government. This follows that all municipalities should be learning organisations and create an environment that will facilitate and enable officials to learn and ultimately enhance their productivity.