Journal of Public Administration - Volume 50, Issue 4, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 50, Issue 4, 2015
Author Kedibone PhagoSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 712 –714 (2015)More Less
The nature and functioning of governments in the 21st century has evolved to consider additional measures that offer increased responsiveness towards citizens in the provisioning of service delivery. The daily functioning and implementation of programmes requires that public officials, especially at senior management levels, need not only guard against the wastage of diminishing public resources, but maintain efficient and effective public services. This matter of diminishing public resources has also been clear during the current global economic challenges, which have their roots in the 2008 global economic crisis. This is where, for example, the South African Treasury has responded by introducing austerity measures that sought to curtail spending on non-essentials for all government departments at national and provincial spheres. Maintaining and ensuring adherence to these austerity measures requires strong internal controls within these public institutions. Some of these internal controls include audit committees, chief financial officers, and other relevant structures that seek to monitor and evaluate compliance to policies and legislations. Some of the key legislative provisions include the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 and Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003.
Comparisons of the worldwide governance indicators as a tool for measuring governance quality with the Mo Ibrahim Index of African GovernanceAuthor Maurice O. DassahSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 715 –726 (2015)More Less
A nexus between good governance and development exists. However, there is no universal consensus on what constitutes good governance, since its attributes are by no means universally agreed on, because cultural norms and values differ around the world. This has implications for how good governance might be measured and implies that methodologies or tools for measuring governance quality, that are based on Western values, might be inappropriate for measuring African governance. In the Post-Washington Consensus era, with its emphasis on good governance as the foundation of development, measuring governance quality, an inexact science by any standards, is of high interest globally among different stakeholders for different purposes. Alongside the marked interest in good governance is a high demand for methods of measurement, resulting in a proliferation of methodologies and tools. Two main categories of governance indicators exist: facts-based indicators are based on objective facts, can be replicated and are transparent, while composite perceptions-based indicators rely on perceptions of governance quality obtained from experts, business leaders and, sometimes, ordinary people. This article has three foci. First, it examines reasons for heightened interest in measuring governance quality and highlights the merits and demerits of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGIs). Secondly, the article outlines criteria of the WGIs. Thirdly, as a counterpoint to this Western-biased instrument, the article discusses the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance and compares it to the WGIs
Source: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 727 –742 (2015)More Less
Education is one of the priority areas of the state. The Department of Education is mandated by the South African Constitution to provide quality education to all learners. As such, huge amounts of money have been spent on education, but the question is, are these public funds spent for a good cause or not; if yes, what impact have they made and if no, why not? The study was carried out following mixed research methods. The primary data was collected from the key informants using questionnaires, interviews and documentary surveys, including observation. The study undertaken expresses, in no uncertain terms, governance concerns arguing that the Department of Basic Education is not committed to educating the learners by executing their school roles properly within the rule of law. Arguably, governance and incapacities continue to present themselves as two of the main challenges of the Department of Basic Education and this must be remedied.
Author Maria KanjereSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 743 –755 (2015)More Less
Government performance in South Africa is perceived to be on the decline. This has been confirmed by the latest polls on public perceptions with regard to the performance of government in handling key policy areas. The government is said to be under-performing in the areas of developing and implementing effective policies in education, the economy, with specific focus on job creation, and the public service with special reference to corruption, health, land reform and crime. Many policies have been developed over the years starting with the Reconstruction and Development Programmes, which were aimed at redressing the past imbalances and improving the socio-economic status of the majority of South Africans. However, not much has been achieved. Therefore, this article envisages highlighting the challenges faced by the government in developing and implementing policies and strategies, and to present the considered view on guidelines for policy enhancement. A desktop analysis is adopted to present arguments and to develop guidelines unique to the South African context. However, other countries with characteristics similar to those of South Africa may benefit from the findings. One of the major findings in this article is that policies developed in the country are generally not easily digestible by the operational staff that are supposed to implement them. Furthermore, few follow-ups are made in assessing the effectiveness of policies. Instead, more policies are developed to remedy problematic situations. This article, therefore, argues that form and fibre should be part and parcel of every policy that is developed and that the government should engage in reflective practice rather than overlook its past faults.
Author Ntsikelelo BreakfastSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 756 –774 (2015)More Less
This article assesses the evolution of the macro-economic policies of government in South Africa, covering the period of 1994 to 2014. The aim of this article is to examine how these policies, namely the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy, the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan (NDP), have impacted individual and national development. The article employs a qualitative approach precisely because it is descriptive in nature. The article argues that privatisation of services/state assets through the GEAR policy benefited those who were associated with the ruling party. There is little scholarship available in the discipline of Public Administration and other related disciplines of social sciences on how the ruling class is using strong networks (associated political, social and capital resources) in their effort for personal accumulation, while the majority is bearing the brunt of poverty, inequality and unemployment, among other things. Thus, this article attempts to fill in the knowledge-gap with reference to the political economy in South Africa. In conclusion, the macro-economic policies that are being applied through neo-liberal strategies are not in the interests of the majority in South Africa. We, therefore, recommend that a pro-state model of development is needed alongside the involvement of the business sector to promote sustainable development in South Africa.
The practical implementations of the policy frameworks that guide the planning and design of human settlements in the South African developmental stateAuthor Themba M. LukheleSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 775 –787 (2015)More Less
Twenty years into democracy, the South African government has demonstrated that it is a developmental state, with its policy frameworks that emphasise improving the quality of people's lives. In this process, the government has formulated various policy frameworks to enforce its developmental objectives. Thus, through the Department of Human Settlements, the government seeks to satisfy its developmental objectives by accelerating the delivery of human settlements and by using housing as a poverty alleviation and job creation strategy. Central to this strategic objective is the adoption of the human-centred and nature-centred approaches to settlement development and planning. The human-centred approach emphasises that the developmental needs and activities of people living in settlements must be catered for and, in particular, the residents must be offered more opportunities to achieve their maximum potential through their own efforts. While, on the other hand, the nature-centred approach calls for sensitive human actions towards ecological systems. To this extent, the developmental government has developed some planning and design guidelines to help designers and developers to achieve sustainable and environmentally efficient settlements. This article reviews some of these guiding policy frameworks in order to understand their practical implications in improving the quality of people's lives. The article concludes that the guidelines provided in the policy frameworks are crucial measures for improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of the people in the human settlements.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 788 –800 (2015)More Less
South Africa is facing a backlog with regard to housing provision in both rural and urban areas, even though, over the last two decades, the housing programme has produced large numbers of housing units, which have changed the country's landscape. This article is an ongoing effort to make sense of the continued increase in social protests around service delivery and access to free houses. It focuses on the role and importance of private sector players in housing development under the neo-liberal rationality of rule, and seeks to interrogate how the growing privatisation of the public sector is causing serious problems for administrative accountability. The article further develops an interpretation of how the implementation of the New Public Management (NPM) approach, evident in housing development, contributes to problems of unethical governance and despotism. It is argued that the analytical perspective of institutional assemblage is a useful way of understanding the role of private sector players and un(ethical) governance in housing development. This perspective illuminates two paradoxes that characterise governance arrangements of housing development: while we have a clear rule of law for traditional administration, we have information asymmetries that make it hard to enforce that law; and while we have a rule of law for much administration, problems in enforcing it undermine accountability. The article draws on two main sources. First, it draws on official discourses on governance and housing development, complemented by secondary literature on housing policy and local governance. Second, interviews with informants (housing beneficiaries, state administration and private sector representatives) in housing development were conducted in KwaZulu-Natal. The issue of understanding how to build effective new layers of accountability, supported by an effective rule of law, is discussed.
Author Mongana L. TauSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 801 –823 (2015)More Less
Over the past 20 years, South Africa has made important strides in building its intergovernmental fiscal relations, such as general budget and financial management reforms, budget preparation and budget implementation. The current legislative provisions and court decisions referred to in the article confirm the distinctiveness, interdependence, and interrelatedness of the various spheres of government and are also an indication that the national-provincial-local government nexus chain is still holding. There are, however, incidents that reflect some challenges within the system, some of them structural. The incidents of boundary disputes that led to violent protests might be an indication that there are weaknesses/challenges in the government-civil society interface. Incidents of interventions and litigations among the various spheres of government might be an indication that the level of mutual trust and good faith within various spheres of government needs some improvement. It is, however, submitted that the National Council of Provinces, as an oversight body mandated to safeguard the interest of provinces, can play an important role in promoting the government-civil society interface as well as intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 824 –840 (2015)More Less
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 brought the unique element of cooperative government, which underpins intergovernmental relations. The principles of cooperative government and intergovernmental relations recognise the interdependence of the three spheres of government in South Africa, which are distinctive and interrelated, and place a duty on these spheres of government to respect each other's powers, functions and institutions and to inform each other of new policies or items of concern. Cooperative governance is a rather unique governance model that embodies the best ideals of the new democracy in South Africa. The article attempts to establish the connection between intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance. These two units support the system of establishing new structures to promote cooperative behaviour among institutional stakeholders. The article concludes that the principles of cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations are primarily based on mutual respect, trust and integrity. The article further recommends that the different spheres of government should actively participate in local government processes in order to contribute to integrated development. Alignment between the relevant national and provincial government policy imperatives and beyond is crucial.
Functionality of local government intergovernmental relations forums with specific references to district intergovernmental relations forumsAuthor Treuda Van NiekerkSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 841 –853 (2015)More Less
The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act 3 (IRFA) of 2005 provides a framework for the national, provincial and local government spheres and all organs of state to facilitate coordination in the implementation of national policies and legislation, including the effective provision of services, and the achievement of strategic national priorities. As a result, numerous intergovernmental relations forums were established as required by the IRFA. However, the functionality of the intergovernmental relations forums raised concerns specifically at provincial and local spheres. Poor coordination between spheres of government creates the incapacity to implement national priorities and, consequently, leads to failure of the delivery of basic services. The question could rightfully be asked whether the national, provincial and local government nexus in the governance chain still promotes coordination and effective service delivery. The focus of this article is on the functionality of the intergovernmental relations system as prescribed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, 2005, with specific emphasis on district intergovernmental relations forums (District IGR Forums). The article further emphasises the current weaknesses of local government intergovernmental relations forums with specific reference to District IGR Forums. The article contains an analysis of selected literature, legislative and policy documents, review reports, surveys, intergovernmental relations audit reports and research reports, while taking a descriptive and analytical approach to provide insight into the functionality of local government intergovernmental relations forums with specific reference to District IGR Forums.
Author Bernard K. SebakeSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 854 –862 (2015)More Less
The South African Parliament in a democratic government has to focus on discussions and the promulgation of legislative frameworks that must resolve societal challenges from an economic and social point of view. These important tasks take into consideration the political landscape and ideological factors that influence how it functions. Parliament is very important in the whole architectural structure of the South African Government on the basis that its functionality determines the directives of the performance of the lower structures (provincial and municipal spheres, respectively). The extent to which it functions reflects the economic and social stability in the country and, therefore, the above premise provides a basis for looking into the historic functioning of the first house of this democratic government. The democratic South African Parliament, in 1994, had to change the state to an inclusive dispensation and this required cooperation from all of the political affiliations to facilitate it. This was followed by the second phase of this important transition in 1999, which focused on defeating the colonial past, given the history of colonial Africa. These two phases required a parliament of a special type, in approach and calibre, to deliver the work of nation- and continent-building. The nature of the functioning of this important institution must be robust in the interests of the purpose of its existence, and this article, therefore, seeks to highlight the nature of the institution, given the shift in South African economic and social needs and realities. The article will make reference to whether Parliament is a hands-on institution or an institution that reacts to pressures in adherence to its mandatory operations. The article will also provide governance theories and practices that will develop and grow the institution, or make it merely a talk show of government.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 863 –872 (2015)More Less
Oversight has become an important and interesting field of study. Once referred to as a neglected stepchild (Rockman, 1984), oversight is positioned to be a key factor in strengthening democracy. International organisations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have placed emphasis on the relationship between oversight and democracy. Oversight plays a fundamental role in maintaining checks and balances between the legislative and executive sectors. Premised in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, this underscores the executive-legislative relations, in terms of the legislature holding the executive to account for its actions. Ideally, oversight is a pivot to ensure that democracy is relished; however, the article argues that, in South Africa, there is an emerging culture relating to a lack of accountability. Twenty years after the advent of democracy, with macro and meso-level institutions in place to support legislative oversight, this may be a result of the unwillingness to conduct oversight. The reasoning behind this contention is the perceived gap in the demand for accountability. Perhaps the question is: who should demand for accountability? Critical, at this instance, is the role that should be played by, among others, the electorate under the Westminster-inspired system that South Africa has espoused. Therefore, this article will explore how the electorate might demand accountability and, in turn, promote effective legislative oversight.
Author David FourieSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 873 –886 (2015)More Less
Legislation is an important element in ensuring accountability and transparency in the utilisation of public funds. However, as reflected in the State of the Public Service Report (2010 and published every five years), accountability is still a cause for concern and still needs greater attention as many departments still receive qualified, adverse or disclaimed audit opinions from the Auditor-General, pointing out serious financial mismanagement. This article explores the mechanisms available to facilitate accountability of public funds and will reflect on the outcomes of the general report on the National Audit Outcomes 2013/2014. The role of parliamentary committees will be highlighted, as they have complementary roles towards strengthening the ex post oversight process reflecting on accountability. Although the public financial management process enforces transparency and accountability, there are still shortcomings. The improvement of governance and financial accountability are of critical importance as the taxpayer, or the public, is eager to determine if public monies have been spent effectively and efficiently.
Achieving clean audits : key considerations for a sound internal control environment in South African municipalitiesAuthor Malefetsane A. MofoloSource: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 887 –902 (2015)More Less
The road for South African municipalities to achieve clean audits appears to be a difficult one. Apparently, it is said that municipalities will take 120 years to attain clean audits. It is argued in this article that a sound internal control environment (some call it control environment) as a sub-system of a control system in municipalities, is required and should be conceptually structured within the context of local government in order to form the basis for interventions. In order to achieve this, an in-depth analysis of relevant literature, as a method used in this article, was embarked on. The literature review's findings reveal the weaknesses pertaining to individual and institutional inputs necessary to establish a sound internal control environment. Based on these findings, it became evident that suitable individual and institutional input requirements should be available in municipalities in order to create a sound internal control environment. Hence, the article recommends a conceptual framework to act as a guide for those (national, provincial and local) governments intending to plan and implement interventions aimed at establishing a sound internal control environment in municipalities.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 50, pp 903 –919 (2015)More Less
This article focuses on a study that explored citizen participation in the planning and policy processes in Lesotho with specific reference to Qacha's Nek. Qacha's Nek is one of the districts classified as a remote mountain area of Lesotho and is characterised by a low population density, and in most cases, can be viewed as predominantly rural with a need to develop and focus on policy development and planning. In Lesotho, citizen participation has been encouraged by the different governments since the era of Moshoeshoe in 1824. Since then, Lesotho has gone through many changes and different styles of government until local government was formally established in 2005. Since 2005, one of the main objectives of local government is to promote citizens' participation in decision-making, planning and the implementation of developmental programmes. This article supports the theoretical framework that citizen participation in policy and planning processes is important, since it is through citizen participation that government may be rendered accountable and responsive to the needs of the local community. To determine the current level of citizen participation in Qacha's Nek, interviews were conducted. The research found that, although citizen participation is currently taking place, it is limited and mostly undertaken by the community to get a reward. Although the main purpose of this article was to determine the level of citizen participation in Qacha's Nek, it also aims to make recommendations to improve citizen participation that could be relevant and beneficial to any community.