Public accountability at the local government sphere in South Africa

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

    One of the major challenges faced by municipalities in South Africa is quality service delivery and lack of accountability. Public accountability is an important component of local governance as it promotes community involvement and participation. Local government is viewed as the vehicle for service delivery given the notion of wall-to-wall local government. All programmes and projects such as, interalia, housing, water supply, sanitation and roads require accountable municipal functionaries, so that they gain the confi dence and trust of local communities who will then take ownership of it thereby ensuring that it is successful and in the final analysis sustainable. The continued success of a municipality is determined to a large extent, on the accountability of all key role players and stakeholders in the local governance process. Public accountability is a tool for participatory local democracy. The Government has introduced legislation to ensure that all the key local role players and stakeholders discharge their respective obligations and responsibilities to facilitate the delivery of quality municipal services. Despite these measures and initiatives, public accountability remains a buzzword and is certainly not taken seriously by particularly the municipal functionaries. The recent marches by the local citizenry in protest against poor service delivery countrywide bear ample testimony to this. This article critically reviews public accountability in the local sphere highlighting some of the key challenges that has to be addressed to ensure good local governance.