The role of council committees in promoting financial accountability: a case study of Stellenbosch municipality
Miso, Fundiswa Thelma
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Municipal councils are vested with the legal authority to promote financial accountability in their respective municipalities. To accomplish this responsibility, municipal council establishes committees to enable a structured and coordinated mechanism through which it can promote financial accountability effectively. However and despite the available legal and institutional mechanisms established to enable council committees to promote financial accountability, the lack of effective financial accountability in municipalities has persisted. This study focused on the role of council committees in ensuring financial accountability. It was guided by the following research questions: What are the major factors that contribute to financial accountability at local level, what is the role of council committees in promoting financial accountability and how can council committees be strengthened to play an effective role in Stellenbosch municipality’s municipal financial accountability. Stellenbosch Local Municipality was used as a case study for this research. The data was collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary data was sourced from members of relevant council committees through structured and unstructured interviews. Secondary data was obtained from relevant municipal reports, internet sources, government department publications, journals and Auditor - General’s reports which contributed to the reliability, validity and objectivity of the findings. The findings showed that political instability, a lack of a culture of accountability, lack of clearly defined authority for accountability, lack of relevant capacity and willingness are some of the major factors that have impacted negatively on council committees from promoting effective financial accountability. The study opens up the possibility of future research to include a wider number of municipalities.