Strategies for enhancing good governance in South African local government

Dlalisa, Welcome Thamsanqa Mlungisi (2009-03)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The Republic of South Africa has drawn increasing attention from the international community for its new approaches towards solving a variety of problems and thus enhancing good governance in Africa in general. Such problems include, but are not limited to, poverty and systemic corruption. The constitutional and legislative frameworks that underpin governance in municipalities are identified and explained. These constitutional and legislative frameworks include the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (RSA, Act 108 of 1996) and the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (RSA, Act 56 of 2003). The manifestations and consequent dangers of poor governance as well as strategies to instil good governance in municipal functionaries are also identified. The manifestations of poor governance include poor financial management, ill-advised appointments and misguided patriotism in service delivery. The consequences of poor governance in local government include high incidents of violence, decline in municipal service payments and the consequent deterioration in service delivery. It is herein argued that municipal functionaries must be able to identify the manifestations of bad governance for them to serve as effective whistle-blowers. The role of the national integrity system as a strategy for combating the manifestations of bad governance is also identified. The national integrity system refers to the holistic approach (or various strategies) for instilling good governance amongst municipal functionaries. These include an anti-corruption strategy for local government (also known as “a local government integrity system”), constitutional strategies and exemplifying ethical behaviour by municipal functionaries. Constitutional strategies include the Auditor-General and the Public Protector. It is argued that preventing unethical conduct such as corruption assists in raising municipal revenues and thus towards improved service delivery. The study concludes by asserting that big, corrupt actors must be named and punished to convince an already cynical citizenry that the avowed anti-corruption drive is more than just lip service. It is, accordingly, important that one of the “first big fish” should preferably come from the governing party to ensure that the party is not accused of protecting its members against charges of corruption.

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