n Africa Insight - Can the reporting of local government performance enhance citizens' engagement? A perspective

Volume 44 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Statutorily, local government institutions in South Africa are expected to report their performance to central government on a regular basis. This paper argues that using this reporting information to also inform citizens and stakeholders about the performance of municipalities would enhance citizens' participation and improve municipal governance. Relevant and reliable performance reporting on the utilisation of resources and achievements improves citizens' and stakeholders' participation and engagement, and is an important means of reducing the 'distance' between local government and citizens. An examination of the policy and legislative framework for municipal performance reporting and an analysis of some performance reports form the basis of this paper. The communication of credible and relevant information to citizens and stakeholders lies at the foundation of democratic local governance. What is needed to improve and enhance citizens' engagement is the communication of performance information on data and analysis that is understandable and useful for local citizens, without distorting legislative stipulations.

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