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n Journal of Public Administration - Bloodhounds on municipal financial management : what goes awry?

Volume 42, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 0036-0767
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Abstract

Public probity and accountability, that is, the processes of reporting to higher authorities and investigating the correctness of transactions are hallmarks for democratic governance and efficient service delivery. An enhanced, accountable system is however, and invariably, a function of human resource capacity, the extent to which responsible personnel are trained and empowered to perform financial tasks optimally. Providing a better life for all is a cardinal political policy of the ruling party in South Africa. Achieving this laudable objective could not be a mirage in a state with state-of-the art legislation and executive democratic institutions on municipal financial management. These have been the bedrock from which sustainable financial viability should develop to enable municipalities to translate objectives to obtain the good life. The enabling Constitution, the Municipal Systems and the Structures Acts, and the Municipal Finance Management Act are but a few that set out municipal objectives and financial management by municipalities. In this regard, specific legislative and executive institutions (call them bloodhounds due to their functional nature) exist to undertake oversight functions on municipal public money to promote accountability and sustainable service delivery. Provincial public accounts committees, municipal councils, Auditors-General, audit and oversight committees are amongst the institutional bloodhounds that constantly undertake legislative mandates on municipal finance to enhance the financial viability and to promote accountability of that sphere of government. And yet, a number of municipalities are unable to deliver on their constitutional mandate due to a paralysis through financial constraints. This article engages in a two dimensional discourse that involves the efficacy of the institutional functions and, the issue of compliance by functionaries. It is established that whereas the bloodhounds smell and bite harder, what have gone awry are municipal officials that suffer in various aspects through internal control, that is, implementation of mechanisms designed to improve operational efficiency to ensure adherence to institutional and government policies. The paper consequently contributes to the body of knowledge in the area of municipal finance with analytical inquiry into the lapses in operational capacities and offering recommendations to stimulate the process of capacity building.

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/content/jpad/42/5/EJC51556
2007-11-01
2016-12-10

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