Stakeholder involvement in strategic planning and management at the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council

Mannya, Clement (2012-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Local government in South Africa has gone through the transitional phase to become developmental with a number of challenges, one of the most prominent of which has been the lack of adequate financial resources to carry out various service delivery obligations. The lack of financial resources was one of the important reasons that led to local authorities being reduced from 843 to 284 municipalities through the process of re-demarcation that resulted in the consolidation of most of the local authorities. Because of these long standing challenges of financial viability, the objective of the study was to investigate stakeholder involvement in strategic planning and management within the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council. It had become evident that existing financial constraints in municipalities in general and at Ekurhuleni in particular would remain for the foreseeable future, unless ways and means are found to improve the management of existing resources. The contention in this study is that the inclusion of stakeholders in strategic planning and management should be viewed as important to the Metro as it significantly lessens the doubt as to whether there is a common understanding of what is possible given the limited resource capacity to address many competing service delivery needs. The literature study undertaken showed that local government has learnt lessons from the private sector, and has adopted some of its strategic planning and management practices and adapted them to suit public service delivery needs. In South Africa the local government planning framework is called integrated development planning (IDP). The IDP approach entails the formulation of focused plans, based on developmental priorities. This approach assists in avoiding wasteful expenditure and perpetuating past spending patterns. Furthermore, the idea of adopting a more business-based approach does therefore not mean that the council is run like a company but rather that scarce resources are spent effectively and that all citizens have access to at least a minimum level of basic services. The IDP should be undertaken through participatory processes for effective urban management given the fact that private and public investments and municipal services delivery affect the well-being of all urban residents. Observation at the Ekurhuleni Metro revealed that while strategic planning and management does take place, it does not involve various stakeholders in the processes in a manner that is contemplated by the integrated development planning framework. The absence of a public participation strategy at the Metro meant that methods of engagement, consultation and communication with stakeholders are not clearly spelled out. So is the identification of various stakeholders in terms of the needs, the roles that they can play in the planning processes, allocation of resources to facilitate their participation and empowerment in various planning processes. It was the conclusion of the study that there is limited stakeholder involvement in strategic planning and management at the Ekurhuleni Metro.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Plaaslike regering in Suid-Afrika het deur ‘n oorgangsfase na ‘n ontwikkelings orientasie gevorder maar het ook ‘n aantal uitdagings bygekry. Die prominentste een hiervan is die gebrek aan fondse om die verskillende dienslewering verpligtinge na te kom. Die gebrek aan finansiële bronne was een van die belangrike redes vir die reduksie van plaaslike owerhede van 843 na 284 munisipaliteit deur die proses van her-afbakening wat gelei het tot die konsolidasie van die meeste plaaslike owerhede. In die lig van die lang-durige aard van die uitdagings van finansiële lewensvatbaarheid, ondersoek hierdie studie belanghebber betrokkenheid in strategiese beplanning en bestuur binne die Ekurhuleni Metropolitaanse Raad. Dit het duidelik geword dat die bestaande finansiële beperkings in munisipaliteite in die algemeen, en in Ekurhuleni in die besonder, so sal bly in die voorsienbare toekoms, tensy meganismes gevind kan word waarmee die bestuur van die bestaande bronne verbeter kan word. Die studie voer aan dat die betrokkenheid van belanghebbers in strategiese beplanning en bestuur as belangrik geag behoort te word in die Metro aangesien dit die onsekerheid oor ‘n gedeelde verstaan van wat moontlik is met die beperkte bronne kapasiteit in die hantering van die baie kompeterende diens behoeftes, verminder. Die literatuurstudie poog om aan te toon dat plaaslike regerings lesse geleer het by die privaatsektor en sommige van die stategiese beplanning en bestuurspraktyke opgeneem en aangepas het by die publieke diensleweringsbehoeftes. In Suid-Afrika word die plaaslike regering beplanningsraamwerke, geïntegreerde ontwikkelingsplanne genoem (IDP). Die IDP benadering vereis die formulering van gefokusde planne, gebaseer op ontwikkelingsprioriteite. Hierdie benadering vermy verkwistende uitgawes en die voortsetting van uitgawepatrone van die verlede. Verder beteken die aanvaarding van ‘n besigheidsgeoriënteerde benadering nie dat die raad soos ‘n besigheid bestuur word nie maar eerder dat skaars bronne effektief bestuur word en dat alle burgers ten minste toegang tot minimum dienste het. Die IDP behoort deur deelnemende prosesse uitgevoer te word ten einde effektiewe stedelike bestuur te verseker, gegee die feit dat private en publieke beleggings en minisipale dienste die welsyn van alle stedelike inwoners affekteer. Waarnemings by die Ekurhuleni Metro bring aan die lig dat, terwyl strategiese beplanning en bestuur wel plaasvind, dit nie verskillende belanghebbers op die wyse betrek wat in die geïntegreede beplanningsraamwerk voorsien word nie. Die afwesigheid van publieke deelname in die Metro het beteken dat meganismes van deelname, konsultasie en kommunikasie met belanghebbers nie duidelik gemaak word nie. Dieselfde geld vir die identifikasie van verskillende belanghebbers in terme van belanghebberbehoeftes, die rol wat hulle kan speel in die beplanningsprosesse, die toewysing van bronne en die bemagtiging van belanghebbers om hul deelname te verseker. Dit is die slotsom van die studie dat daar beperkte belanghebber betrokkenheid in strategiese beplanning en bestuur in die Ekurhuleni Metro is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71840
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