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Enhancing accountability in local government : an assessment of the enforcing mechanisms

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. W. Zybrands. en_US
dc.contributor.author Hussein, Mustafa Kennedy
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-20T09:08:18Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-20T09:08:18Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-20
dc.date.submitted 1999-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6210
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract The interest in this mini-dissertation is on enhancing accountability in the local government system of the Republic of South Africa. Specifically, the focus is on the assessment of the enforcing mechanisms among councillors and senior officials in municipalities. Local government refers to that sphere of government closest to its constituents and involved in the provision of a wide range of services that affect the lives of its inhabitants residing in its area of jurisdiction (Zybrands, 1998:193). Section 151 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 (the Constitution) provides that the local sphere of government consists of municipalities, which must be established for the whole territory of the Republic. In section 3 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Bill, 1999 it is stated that the municipalities constitute the local sphere of government despite their separate legal personality. The rising public expectations and the growing demand for the provision of social services by municipalities demands acceptable working standards by councillors and municipal officials in the municipalities. The municipalities are directly in touch with the public and perform a variety of functions that affect the lives of the citizens. The councillors and municipal administrators have substantial authority and power that have to be exercised in line with democratic principles that include accountability. Section 152 (1) (a) of the Constitution states that local government should provide a democratic and accountable government for local communities. The councillors and municipal officials are subject to accountability and they are required to demonstrate a sense of responsibility when carrying out their functions and account. for their decisions and activities in public (Gildenhuys, 1997:17). However, the Constitution does not specifically state the mechanisms and how councillors are accountable to their citizens and what citizens can do to exact accountability from them (Craythorne, 1997: 198). Inadequate mechanisms to ensure accountability constrain the achievement of the local government objects. The lack of accountability among councillors and officials is a major factor that contributes to the financial and administrative crisis in most municipalities. The Researcher observed growing concerns on the issues of accountability among councillors and municipal officials. Hence an exploratory study on the issue based on qualitative research methodology was undertaken. The method of work comprised a literaturereview, unstructured interviews conducted with senior municipal officials and field visits to municipalities. The accountability systems examined include the legal, political, bureaucratic and professional accountability systems. The major mechanisms designed to enhance accountability in municipalities that are analysed include bodies such as the office of the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the courts; elections; structures such as the municipal council and its committees; the code of conduct; leadership; training and development; performance appraisals and the reward systems among others. The assessment of the mechanisms highlights the major challenges in the enforcement of accountability in municipalities, which include the lack of adjudicative powers among the bodies; financial and human resource constraints; the apathetic community; non-compliance with the code of conduct; the lack of exemplary behaviour and adequate skills among the councillors and officials and uncoordinated local government training and development programs among others. The major conclusion drawn from the research study is that a multi-dimensional approach is required to ensure effective accountability systems in municipalities. The recommendations include the enforcement of the legal instruments, codes of conduct and regulations; the impartial prosecution of violators; implementing effective policies on training and personnel management; educating citizens and encouraging associations and all stakeholders to play a catalytic role in enforcing accountability in municipalities. It is important that municipalities apply effective mechanisms for the promotion of accountable behaviour, as the lack of it undermines the democratic principles and efficient and effective operations in municipalities. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Local government - South Africa - Evaluation. en_US
dc.subject Municipal government - South Africa. en_US
dc.subject Responsibility en_US
dc.title Enhancing accountability in local government : an assessment of the enforcing mechanisms en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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