Water services education and training needs of councillors in the Local Government Development Agenda (LGDA)

Tsibani, Fumene George (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study describes and analyses the water governance and developmental water services education and training needs of councillors in water services authorities (WSAs) in the Northern Cape Province in order to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities as required by the legislative framework in the new dispensation in South Africa. The new South African Constitution ushered in a new legislative framework, which recognises that developmental water supply, sanitation facilities as basic services are local government matters, and that they are in the functional area of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence. The Water Services Act No. 108 of 1997 and a number of Acts of Parliament thereafter, which are a spine for a local government developmental agenda (LGDA) in South Africa, give effect to this determination. Collectively, these Acts and policies have set the LGDA or modernisation of local government for change and marked a departure from the selection, recruitment and deployment of councillors without minimum engineering and technical skills in water and infrastructure planning and development portfolios. This invariably imposes new leadership responsibilities upon a range of hydropolitical councillors in WSAs, and creates the need for a redefined model of representation on the part of councillors from ―resemblance to public capability, accountability, responsibility and responsiveness‖ (Sartori 1968: 465). With the current calibre and breed of councillors in water portfolios and infrastructure planning and development, it appears that the country is facing a leadership crisis that can strike at the very roots of the democratic values of the LGDA system. Without effective, innovative, creative and committed leadership, all anti-poverty strategies may just plug in superficial solutions rather than tackle the root of the problem, namely governance crises in WSAs. Accordingly, 'good enough governance' or radical restructuring of the recruitment, selection and deployment policy in the current water crisis in the Northern Cape should act as a "decontaminator or antiseptic in a germ-infested area" (Cloete 2006:6-19). To extend the analogy further in terms of good enough water governance, the selection, recruitment and deployment of appropriately qualified representatives in bulk water infrastructure planning and development may lead to long-term hydropolitical adaptive capacity to respond proactively to water scarcity in the Northern Cape whereby a discernible set of water governance values and principles will benefit all citizens. Using mixed methods, the researcher found that comparative literature evidence clearly underscores the importance of effective leadership by competent and skilled councillors in water portfolios. It is also significant that academic and independent studies have ignored the oversight role of councillors in water governance. The debates only focus on officials who do not have executive powers under the new LGDA and its administration system. Yet, the current water crisis, extreme weather conditions, climate changes, and protests against poor service delivery provide an opportunity to rethink water governance. The dissertation argues that councillors in water portfolios should have minimum engineering and technical qualifications and that they need to be empowered to be adaptive and apply modern technology solutions. Any reform effort is doomed if this aspect is not addressed sufficiently well in the water sector, as it has been established in this dissertation that there is a clear link between effective leadership and excellent water governance and management. The study is not intended to be prescriptive nor can it claim to be exhaustive, as the researcher continually discovered. In many instances, it may introduce water governance complexities under a LGDA administration and political management system that are unwarranted – and misplaced idealism is always a problem. Thus, for water services to remain a viable "instrument of humanity" especially at a municipal level, it is concluded that more effective competency-based water councillor education and training (CBWCE&T) programmes are required to equip current and future councillors with the water governance skills and intellectual competencies to address the complex challenges they face. The essence of the CBWCE&T is that developmental water services need to engage in a broader governance agenda integrated with other basic services and mutually reinforcing areas of social adaptive capacity to water scarcity under the LGDA. Researchers in the water sector have neglected the hydropolitical role of councillors in determining water governance and the use of water for socioeconomic and developmental outcomes now subsumed under various poverty eradication policies. The unique contribution of this dissertation is that it focuses on this critical role of councillors and the skills they need to execute water governance institutional oversight role. The researcher makes recommendations for enriching the hydropolitical sociology of local government studies, to match the skills requirements, given the complexity of the LGDA and the numerous challenges for councillors in WSAs in the Northern Cape.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie beskryf en ontleed die waterregerings- en ontwikkelingswaterdienste onderwys- en opleidingsbehoeftes van raadslede betrokke by waterdienste owerhede (WSAs) in die Noord-Kaap provinsie wat hulle in staat sal stel om hulle verantwoordelikhede na te kom soos vereis deur die wetlike raamwerk van die nuwe bedeling in Suid-Afrika. Die nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet het 'n wetlike raamwerk ingelei wat ontwikkelingswatervoorsiening en sanitasie geriewe, synde basiese dienste, erken as plaaslike owerheidsaangeleenthede; dit funksioneer ook terselfdertyd ingevolge 'n soortgelyke wetlike bevoegdheid op nasionale en provinsiale vlak. Die Wet op Waterdiensteverskaffing, Nr 108 van 1997, asook verskeie daaropvolgende wette deur die Parlement vorm die ruggraat van die plaaslike owerheidsontwikkelingsagenda (LGDA), of te wel, die modernisasie van plaaslike owerheid, in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie wette en beleide het gesamentlik die LGDA bepaal en die afskeid toenemend gekenmerk van 'n seleksie, rekrutering, en aanwending van raadslede wat sonder minimum ingenieurs- en tegniese vaardighede in water- en infrastruktuurbeplanning en -ontwikkeling hul portefeuljes beoefen. Hierdie verwikkelings plaas sonder uitsondering nuwe leierskapsverantwoordelikhede op 'n spektrum van hidropolitieke raadslede in WSAs. Dit skep ook die behoefte aan 'n hergedefinieerde model vir verteenwoordiging deur raadslede wat volgens Sartori (1968: 465) verander van "ooreenkoms na openbare vermoë, aanspreeklikheid en reagerend". Die huidige stoffasie en soort raadslede wat water protefeuljes beklee en die infrastruktuurbeplanning en ontwikkeling laat die gedagte ontstaan dat die land 'n leierskapskrisis tegemoet gaan wat die demokratiese waardes onderliggend tot die LGDA stelsel kan ondergrawe. Sonder doeltreffende, vernuwende, skeppende en toegewyde leierskap mag die teen-armoede strategieë kunsmatige oplossings bied eerder as om die wortel van die probleem aan te durf, naamllik die regeringskrisisse in WSAs. Gevolglik moet 'goeie regering' wat neerkom op radikale herstukturering van die beleid van rekrutering, seleksie, en aanwending in die huidige waterkrisis in die Noord-Kaap geaktiveer word om te dien as 'n "ontsmetter of antiseptiese middel in 'n kiem-besmette gebied" (Cloete 2006: 6-19). Om die analogie van 'goeie waterregering; verder te neem, kan gesê word dat die seleksie, rekrutering en aanwending van toepaslik gekwalifiseerde verteenwoordigers in massa waterinfrastruktuur- beplanning en -ontwikkeling mag lei tot 'n langtermyn hidropolitieke aanpassingsvermoë om proaktief te reageer op waterskaarsheid in die Noord-Kaap waardeur 'n onderskeidende stel waterregering waardes en beginsels alle burgers sal bevoordeel. Met die gebruik van gemengde metodes het die navorser bevind dat getuienis afkomstig van vergelykende literatuuroorsigte duidelik die belangrikheid van doeltreffende leierskap deur bevoegde en vaardige raadslede in water portefeuljes onderstreep. Dit is ook betekenisvol dat akademiese en onafhanklike studies die oorsigrol van raadslede in waterregering geïgnoreer het. Die debat konsentreer slegs op amptenare wat nie uitvoerende magte binne die LGDA en die administrasie het nie. Tog is dit duidelik dat die huidige waterkrisis, uiterste weerstoestande, klimaatsverandering, en proteste teen swak dienslewering geleentheid bied tot 'n herbedink van waterregering. Die proefskrif voer aan dat raadslede oor minimum ingenieurs- en tegniese kwalifikasies moet beskik en dat hulle bemagtig word om aanpassend te wees en moderne tegnologiese oplossings kan toepas. Enige hervorming sal tot mislukking gedoem wees indien hierdie aspekte nie voldoende in die water sektor aangespreek word nie. Dit is vasgestel in die proefskrif dat daar 'n duidelike skakel is tussen doeltreffende leierskap en uitmuntende waterregering en –bestuur. Soos voortdurend ontdek is in die verloop van die navorsing, is die studie nie voorskriftelik, en ook nie uitputtend nie. In vele opsigte bied die studie kompleksiteite aan in waterregering binne 'n LGDA administrasie en politieke bestuurstelsel wat verregaande is; en misplaaste idealisme is altyd 'n probleem. Daarom, vir waterdienste om 'n lewensvatbare 'instrument van menslikheid' te bly veral op die munisipale vlak, is die gevolgtrekking dat meer doeltreffende, bevoegdheidsgebaseerde waterraadslid onderwys en opleiding programme (CBWCE&T) vereis word. Hierdie programme het die oogmerk om huidige en toekomstige raadslede toe te rus met waterregeringsvaardighede en intellektuele bevoegdhede om die komplekse uitdagings wat hulle in die gesig staar, die hoof te bied. Die essensie van die CBWCE&T program behels dat, volgens die LGDA, ontwikkelingswaterdienste sal koppel met die breër regeringsagenda wat ander basiese dienste integreer met die uitdaging van waterskaarsheid deur sosiale aanpassingsvermoëns wat onderlinge ondersteuning vir die verskillende dienste aanbied. Navorsers in water sektor het die hidropolitieke rol van raadslede verwaarloos deur nóg aandag te gee aan hoe raadslede inhoud aan waterregering gee, nóg die gebruik van water vir sosio-ekonomiese en ontwikkelingsdoeleindes soos dit tans ingesluit in verskeie armoede-uitwissingsbeleide, te beklemtoon. Die besondere bydrae van die proefskrif is die beklemtoning van hierdie kritieke rol van raadslede en van die vaardighede wat hulle benodig om 'n institusionele oorsigrol in waterregering te vervul. Die navorser maak aanbevelings vir die verryking van die hidropolitieke sosiologie van plaaslike regeringstudie, om die vaardigheidsvereistes te ontmoet in die lig van die LGDA kompleksiteite en die talle uitdagings in WSAs in die Noord-Kaap.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86473
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