Performance monitoring and evaluation : the eThekwini experience, South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • SDG 11
  • SDG 6
  • SDG 1
  • Abstract:

    Monitoring and Evaluation is a management tool that tracks and assesses the performance of the public sector, thereby contributing to service delivery outcomes. Although it has been practised and has been relevant for many years, it is a fairly new applied concept to public sector organisations internationally. Stemming mostly from the lack of a clear and understandable minimum legal reporting framework, the results of performance management/monitoring has been highly subjective in the past. Furthermore, there was little or no assessment or evaluation of the impact of performance on the organisation or society in general. In addition, the information needs of the community to assess service delivery from different spheres of government were not clearly understood. With the implementation of various legislated frameworks on performance monitoring and evaluation of late globally, different stakeholders are provided with the means to ensure that service delivery is monitored and evaluated, thereby providing positive outcomes or impacts on society at large. The establishment of a dedicated Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation within the South African Presidency has been viewed as a fi rm commitment by the Government to address the on-going service delivery challenges. The policy, practice and systems relative to monitoring and evaluation have in turn cascaded to the three spheres of government thereby ensuring that it is integrated into all aspects of public sector governance. The Performance Management System (PMS) legislated for in South Africa will assist the municipality in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of its IDP which is also a legislative requirement. It will lead to increased accountability, continuous learning, and informed decision making as well as provide an early warning system of impending deviations from the plan. The ultimate aim of performance management is to ensure improved service delivery.”The IDP and Performance Management process appear to be seamlessly integrated. The IDP fulfils the planning stage of performance management. Performance management fulfi ls the implementation management, monitoring and evaluation of the IDPs” (Van der Waldt 2007:124). eThekwini City Council is one of the eight metropolitan municipalities in South Africa. It is a major port and industrial centre in the Province of Kwazulu Natal and is viewed as being “one of the best run and financially strongest municipality on the continent.” (KwaZulu Natal Province- Department of Economic Development and Tourism 2011:8). The article expounds on the eThekwini experience, reflecting on how through its institutional re-arrangement/process reengineering and automation resulted in an effective monitoring and evaluation tool for all levels of management in the organisation. It will also reflect on how the Municipality has implemented legislation on performance information in order to add value to the organisation and provide an evaluation tool for key stakeholders at the local sphere namely, the political and administrative component and local communities. It will also highlight some of the key challenges encountered in the implementation of the system and furthermore how they can be addressed.