Practice, practitioners, and praxis of audit committees in South African local government : a case study

Roos, Mariaan (2021-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Local government in South Africa faces many challenges including negative audit outcomes, reported corruption, weak financial and performance management, and lack of legal compliance. Through research, audit committees have been recognised as an important part of governance. The purpose of this study was to analyse what practices, practitioners, and praxis are associated with effective audit committees in local government. A qualitative approach using the case research method and incorporating my story and experience (autoethnography) was followed. Data for the empirical research and analysis was obtained through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 29 stakeholders affected by the audit committees at seven municipalities, publicly available and internally generated documents. A hybrid of agency, resource dependence, institutional and practice-orientated theories formed the basis in development and identification of determinants of effectiveness. The results demonstrated that audit committees added value as a result of their composition, being independent with the necessary mix of skills and experience, and through their characteristics, including demonstrating a strong personal influence through interrogation and challenging context-based questions in a constructive manner. In addition, the display of honesty and objectivity, diligence, not being easily influenced, and demonstrating leadership is considered to be important. The value added is, however, dependent on the authority, resources, and support provided to the audit committee and the relationships between the different governance role-players. The most significant and pervasive challenge identified is the difficulty in attracting the required skilled and experienced members to serve on the audit committees, especially at rural municipalities. In conclusion, audit committees contribute to governance and add value to municipalities despite some gaps between expectations, legislative requirements, and best practices and the practice, practitioners, and praxis of audit committees in the cases.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : regering in Suid-Afrika staar verskeie uitdagings, insluitend negatiewe oudit resultate, korrupsie, swak finansiёle en prestasie bestuur en gebrek aan nakoming van wetlike vereistes in die gesig. Navorsing toon aan dat ouditkomitees ‘n belangrike deel vorm van korporatiewe bestuur. Die doel van die studie was om te analiseer watter praktyke, praktisyns en praxis word geassosieer met effektiewe oudit komitees in die plaaslike regering. ‘n Kwalitatiewe benadering is gevolg deur gebruik te maak van die gevalle studie metode terwyl my eie storie (outoetnografie) deurentyd in die proefskrif geinkorporeer is. Data vir die empiriese navorsing en analise is verkry deur in-diepte, semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met 29 belanghebbendes by sewe munisipaliteite wat geaffekteer word of kontak het met die ouditkomitee. ‘n Hibriede van agentskap teorie, hulpbronafhanklikheid teorie, institusionele teorie en praktykgerigte teorie vorm die basis van die ontwikkeling en identifisering van die determinante van effektiwiteit. Die resultate van die studie wys dat die ouditkomitee waarde toevoeg as gevolg van die samestelling, die onafhanklikheid en die nodige verskeidenheid van vaardighede en ondervinding waaroor ouditkomitee lede beskik. Waarde toegevoeg word ook bepaal deur karakter eienskappe, insluitend die sterk persoonlike invloed deur ondervraging en uitdagende konteks gebasseerde vrae wat gestel word op ‘n konstruktiewe manier. Die vertoning van eerlikheid, onafhanklikheid, ywer, nie geredelik beinvloedbaar en leierskap van ouditkomiteelede word ook deur belanghebbendes geag om baie belangrik te wees vir effektiewe ouditkomitees. Waarde toegevoeg is egter afhanklik van gesag, hulpronne en ondersteuning aan ouditkomitee lede en die verhouding tussen die verskillende korporatiewe bestuur rolspelers. Die mees beduidende en deurdringende uitdaging is om ouditkomitee lede wat oor die nodige bekwaamhede en ondervinding beskik na munisipaliteite, veral die in plasslike gebiede te lok. Ter afsluiting, oudit komitees dra by tot bestuur en voeg waarde toe tot munisipaliteite ten spyte van sommige gapings tussen die verwagtinge, wetlike vereistes, beste praktyke en die praktyke, praktisyns en praxis van die ouditkomitees in die gevalle studies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109880
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