Critical analysis of the oversight role of the Education Portfolio Committee in Parliament of South Africa

Manona, W. W. (2015)

CITATION: Manona, W. W. 2015. Critical analysis of the oversight role of the Education Portfolio Committee in Parliament of South Africa. Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review, 3(3):a90, doi:10.4102/apsdpr.v3i3.90.

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There is a prevalent assumption in South Africa that Parliament is guided by the ideals of democracy, accountability, transparency and accessibility. However, there are still gaps and challenges as far as theoversight role of Parliament is concerned, despite the presence of committees that have been established to oversee the executive and relevant structures of government, government activities and public finances. There is widespread maladministration and misuse of government expenditure in government departments. This paper investigates the oversight role of parliamentary committees to determine their relative influence on accountability and democracy in the execution of functions by public functionaries. The aim of the paper is to provide an understanding into inherent problems in the oversight role of Parliament in the democratic dispensation in South Africa, which seems not to have been given serious attention in the academia, considering the pivotal role Parliament plays in the lives of citizens of the country. These oversight committees have selectively held Senior Executives or Ministers accountable for their ineffectiveness, misuse of government expenditure and maladministration. This could be attributed to the fact that oversight in South Africa does not seem to be properly understood and implemented as it should be. Moreover, the influence of the majoritarian authority of the ruling party in committees seems to be colluding with the executive. Failure to take action against cases of omission brings questions on the effectiveness and efficiency of the oversight role of Parliament. The adverse consequence is the delay in the provision of good quality services to poor communities. This paper employed the theoretical approach as a method of data collection. Conclusions have been drawn that the shortcomings of the parliamentary committees compromise accountability and good governance in service delivery.

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