n Journal of Public Administration - Local government administrators : purveyors of social equity in the South African public administration?




Social equity espouses two central values of "fairness" and "different equalities" of outcomes in public service delivery and policy implementation. As a democratic developmental state with its own unique character and history, South Africa's public administration is bound by these exigencies. Nevertheless, poor performance and questionable management of scare resources in local government in South Africa raises serious questions about what service delivery 'ethos' is best suited for South Africa. The aim of this article is to examine the role of local government administrators as purveyors of social equity priorities in service delivery at the local government sphere in South Africa. The article approaches this by establishing a critical connection between the foundations of social equity in public administration and its manifestation in South African governance and policy frameworks. The article then examines the contradictions of social equity in the South African socio-economic policy landscape. Finally, using recent service delivery trends in local government in South Africa and the new Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTS) as benchmarks for assessment, the article goes further to argue that despite the political and economic contradictions in South Africa's social equity policy pursuits, there is equally an unparalleled opportunity for public administrators to push social equity through innovation and discretionary leadership at the delivery level.


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