Political education for good governance in South Africa’s local government and communities

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    The political landscape within the South African government has changed with the inception of democracy in 1994, affecting institutional arrangements such as the creation of the third sphere of government, denoted municipality. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 stipulates that a municipality must strive, within its financial and administrative capacity, to provide democratic and accountable government to local communities. Years after implementation of this sphere of governance, municipal communities continue to be afflicted by seemingly intractable problems and challenges. This article examines political education in the context of the notion of good governance, in order to situate certain aspects related to experienced social reality associated with practical public service protests, maladministration, corruption and fraud (unethical conduct). There is no insinuation that all challenges and problems of local communities in South Africa derive from the dearth of political education. But note has to be made that good governance is associated with the governing party’s disciplined knowledge and understanding of the societal values of responsiveness, accountability, professionalism and ethical conduct. The article acknowledges that political deployment of cadres, based on loyalty and patronage alone, reflects adversely on governing party discipline, which is itself a function of political education. The political deployment of cadres has evidently been interconnected to laxity in service delivery as a result of unused funds, lack of capacity, improper planning and absence of community participation. The article points to a need for critical rethinking of cadre deployment, which could be configured for good governance through political education that instills governing party discipline.