Volume 10, Issue 2, April/ May 2008.

Implications For Local Government of a Single Public Service: Great White Hope Or Disaster in the Making?

The Department of Public Service and administration has published for comment a draft Public Administration Management Bill aimed at creating a single public service. The long-waited Bill is being promoted as the magic bullet for addressing capacity shortages and streaming service delivery. The intention is that the Bill will be submitted to Parliament in June and passed this year. We outline key aspects of the Bill and raise a number of concerns.

Holding the Municipal Executive To Account

The accountability of the executive to the council is a cardinal principle of good governance. Information flow is essential to holding it accountable for its decisions and performance in delivering services and meeting locally prioritised outcomes. A prerequsite for information flow is transparency in the manner in which the executive carries out its tasks, and this begs the question: are there fault lines in the design of the local government system that have given rise to a lack of accountability and responsiveness.

Strengthening Accountability and Political Oversight.

The Gauteng province took a policy decision in 2007 to promote municipal public accounts committees (MPACs) in municipalities in the province. Although these committees are structurally different from the standing committees on public accounts, (SCOPAs) they are to resemble SCOPA's. The main purpose of MPACs is to create a process of accounting that is more transparent, effective and efficient , thus enhancing political oversight and accountability in the use of municipal financial resources. MPACs are section 79 committees and fall within the domain of the speaker, who acts as the link between the MPAC and other municipal committees and structures.

Rules and Orders: The Building Blocks of Good Governance

How does a municipality make its decision-making procedures clear and legally sound? How does it ensure that every councillor participate meaningfully in council meetings? How does it keep council and committee meetings orderly and prevent councillors from abusing their freedom of Expression? This article explores these questions in detail and postulates solutions on how to ensure that the Rules and Orders of council are respected and achieve their intended purpose.

Redefining the Political Structure of District Municipalities.

The DPLG's policy review process was kicked off with "65 questions for public engagements". Among the listed 65 questions, it asked: "What role should district municipalities play and how they should be structured?" A key problem has been the governance structure of districts: the uncomfortable combination of district-wide and local council representatives has not resulted in an integrated system of district government.

From the Courts: The Right To Water: A Matter of Dignity.

According to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, "Water is life, sanitation is dignity" Water, as a human right, is essential to sustain life, development and the environment. In Mazibuko and Others v City of Johannesburg and Others the fundamental right to have access to sufficient water and the right to human dignity were tested.

Local Government in Zimbabwe at the Crossroads: A Perspective

At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a racially divided system of local government that was highly centralised. The current legal and administrative structures of local government are a product of both the colonial history and post-colonial reconstruction of the relations between central government and local authorities.

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