Monitoring good governance in South African local government and its implications for institutional development and service delivery. A case study of the sub-councills and councillor support department.
The empowering of local governments in South Africa as engines of national development has been plagued with problems and imbalance related to the ethic and the functioning of the local government machinery itself. The said imbalances are being reinforced by a lack of understanding and consensus as to what democracy is and how it should work. The consequences are widespread corruption and distortions of government priorities; both of which undermine the ability of governments to improve broad-based economic growth and social well-being. The central problem addressed in this study investigates the extent to what the City of Cape Town’s accountability mechanism support good governance and develop institutional development and service deliver. The researcher is of the opinion that municipalities in their daily endeavours should now be at the sustainable phase which would mean that all policies, systems and procedures are in place for good governance. The researcher further assumes that municipalities should be at this stage capacitated and therefore, are able to fulfil basic institutional mandate of providing basic services and facilitating economic development. This is a wide subject that different researchers will undertake and provide potential solutions. But for the purpose of this research the following are posited to prevent some developmental issues: Firstly, a wall-to-wall local government, i.e., a constitutional guarantee that there shall be local government through the jurisdiction of the country. This suggestion has waken up the importance to emphasize the distinction and independence of each local government. The only challenge within and between local government, is seen by a politico-administration dichotomy which historically has always been an issue in public administration. As a matter of facts, there is interpenetration between the role of political and the one of administrative leadership as one can’t separate them in practice since officials also play important role in policy development. The effectiveness of Ward Committees for institutional development in reflecting on the best practice at the operational level rests on the need to capacitate the said formed ward committees in terms of skills equipping to maintain a world class service standard. The author posits that, this will do away with incompetence at local level and will promote efficiency and effectiveness in the fulfillment of daily tasks. Furthermore the following should be considered: 1.There should be a provision of adequate resources; this will enable officials to perform their tasks. 2. There should be a display of less politics or noninterference from politicians in the administration; this will avoid encroachment and mismanagement while enhancing proper accountability principles. Secondly, local government should maintain democratic elections, i.e., an electoral system that mixes proportional representation with ward representation as the best basis for local government councils. A wide array of information collected on this level from respondents posited that local government should only have ward representation although full time councillors found it difficult to perform both functions because of high demand from the community and from their job. This should maybe be rated at 90% to 10% rather than 50%.Finally, emphasis should be on financial decision-making power i.e., municipalities should be creatures of the Constitution rather than creatures of statue. The formal local government only entrusted service delivery powers to local government. Municipalities were not developmental in nature. However, the current local government is expected to be developmental. This turns its focus on top of its daily routine, to economic development. It is only then that one can maintain that local government powers are relevant to the development mandate.