Empowering institutions and improving public service delivery
Title: Governance Support Programme II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; United States Agency for International Development
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department for Cooperative Governance (DCoG)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
South Africa faces difficulties in providing basic public services, e.g. in the areas of water supply, waste management and public transport. A major part of public services is delivered by the municipalities. However, these show shortcomings in their governance systems. In 2014 the South African government coined the “Back to Basics principles”, which aim to strengthen the capacities of municipalities to deliver public services. So far these “Back to Basics principles” have not been implemented sufficiently by the respective public institutions to ensure a transparent, accountable, effective and efficient delivery of services at the municipal level. The Governance Support Programme II (GSP II) provides technical, policy and process advice to support the South African government in remedying systemic shortcomings.
Public institutions and selected municipalities implement the Back2Basics principles for more transparent, accountable, effective and efficient delivery of public services on local level.
The GSP II focusses on eight selected partner municipalities in the two provinces of Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga with the aim to upscale the support continuously to other municipalities country-wide through the programme’s steering structure and national partners.
The programme is divided into three output areas:
(Output A) Enhancing the management capacity for service delivery. Municipal Managers and administration staff receive support to enhance their capacity for integrated planning, budgeting, implementation and the monitoring of service delivery.
(Output B) Improving municipal public financial management and public procurement. Activities focus on the improvement of administrative efficiency and transparency regarding public procurement as well as the enhancement of revenue in the selected partner municipalities. GSP II is closely cooperating with National Treasury for the implementation of Output B.
(Output C) Improving oversight and accountability. Bodies of oversight and accountability for service delivery and governance are strengthened as they are key levers to build a capable local government fighting corruption. The focus lies on the effectiveness of the existing municipal portfolio committees (e.g. service delivery areas of water supply and waste management) and the access of citizens to these institutions.
The GSP II has covered a lot of ground since its inception:
- The GSP II, in partnership with the National Treasury, provided capacity development and hands-on mentoring support to three partner municipalities (Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Steve Tshwete Local Municipality and Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality) on the understanding and application of a national reform to promote integration and uniformity of reporting. During the first year of implementation, 367 officials and councilors (127 on average per municipality) received capacity development support in a series of workshops.
- A study on the water governance situation conducted by the GSP II in the Chris Hani District Municipality showed that there are organisational challenges, such as an unclear division of roles between stakeholders, insufficiently qualified staff, poor maintenance and governance. Subsequently in partnership with the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) Learning Journey on Water Governance to eThekwini (Durban) was organised with 77 officials from Amathole District Municipality, City of Mbombela, Chris Hani District Municipality and Joe Gqabi District Municipality. As a result of the learning journey action plans for improved municipal water governance are now implemented in the partner municipalities with support of the GSP II.
- In partnership with the National Treasury the GSP II conducted a financial management capability maturity model (FMCMM) assessment in three partner municipalities. The National Treasury underlined the need for the data collected to be centralised and aggregated automatically to allow the Treasury an overview of all local governments financial control capabilities in real-time. The GSP II provided technical support for the development of a web-based FMCMM and through this migrating the FMCMM model onto a digital platform, automating inputs and reporting.
- At the end of 2018, 894 organs of state were using the Central Supplier Database (CSD) for more effective and transparent procurement (the action of obtaining goods and services). 18,822 procurement practitioners are so far enabled to use the CSD to search for goods and services of 565,590 registered suppliers while an additional 102,682 are in the process of registering. South Africa’s Ministry of Finance estimates that it saves 1 Billion Euro on Government procurement, now that an e-procurement system has been introduced.
- All 278 South African local municipalities, as well as all national and provincial government entities (more than 130), now have access to HIV/AIDS mainstreaming guidelines for training of public servants.
- Councillors and administrative staff of 13 Municipal Public Accounts Committees (MPACs) have been enabled to exercise better oversight of the performance, financial management and service delivery impact of these municipalities. MPACs are influential committees that can initiate investigations into maladministration or financial irregularities and are important for good governance. Together with the Rhodes University, the GSP II has developed a competency-based and university-accredited training programme for members of MPACs.