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TitleThe effects of the oversight role of legislatures in promoting good governance in South Africa with specific reference to the Gauteng Legislature
AuthorMalapane, Anthony Tshwarelo
SubjectGood Governance
SubjectPublic Participation
SubjectService Delivery
SubjectPolitical Parties
SubjectCorporate governance--South Africa
FormatXIV, 288 leaves
AbstractThesis (PhD.(Public Administration)) --University of Limpopo. 2019
AbstractSouth Africa continues to experiment with democracy after 23 years since its rebirth in 1994. The country’s democracy is still developing towards greater transparency, full participation and accountability. Development depends on the existence of strong and vibrant institutions of accountability in the face of the challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made since the advent of democracy. Among such institutions is the legislature, which is the focus of this study. The study probes the oversight role of legislatures in South Africa. Oversight has become a subject of interest in the field of Public Administration as it is viewed as the mandate of legislatures to hold the government to account for managing public resources in the course of conducting public affairs. This study broadens the understanding of oversight by examining crucial relations between the legislature and the executive, and by providing insight into the legislature’s ability and capacity to carry out the oversight mandate. This is mainly because in most developing countries, the legislative sector, and particularly African legislatures have been categorised as weak. They are generally censured to have institutional weaknesses and limited decision-making role. There are, however, common challenges, including but not limited to lack of capacity, the dominance of the executive and its reluctance to cooperate, and lack of political will attributed to various factors. These challenges are intensified by the legislature’s perceived inability to deal with emerging issues. Studies previously conducted in the Gauteng Legislature have affirmed some of these challenges, including among others, lack of independence and capacity issues when exercising its oversight role. However, the literature pointed to increased oversight activities in democratic legislatures over the years. Although increase in oversight activities is acknowledged in the study, literature on oversight effectiveness is scant. From the foregoing, the aim of the study was to examine whether the oversight role of legislatures has effects in terms of the promotion of good governance, particularly executive transparency and accountability as well as public involvement. In addition to focusing on the relationship between the executive and the legislature, ability and capacity of the legislature, the study also set out to determine the extent to which the public participates in oversight processes of legislatures. The study concentrated on the Gauteng Legislature, and focused on the work of Portfolio Committees as they are responsible for the day to day oversight work of legislatures. The literature reviewed points out to the complex nature of the legislative oversight setting based on the systems of governance adopted in a country, which has an influence on the relationship between the executive and the legislature, and in turn, on oversight. The study has employed a qualitative approach, with the data collected utilising semi-structured in-depth personal interviews, participant observation and document analysis. Semi-structured personal interviews were the main data collection tool utilised to collect primary data from the participants. The participants were selected utilising non-probability (purposive) sampling to target participants with knowledge and experience on the subject matter to attain the objectives of the study. In addition, the participant observation and document analysis were used to collect both primary and secondary data to supplement the interviews with the respondents. This was mainly to respond to the contention of this study. The study argues that the legislature through its oversight role has the ability and capacity to promote transparency and accountability as well as public involvement. The findings of this study suggest that to a certain extent, the oversight role might have positive effects on promoting executive transparency and accountability. However, the findings have pointed out some serious shortcomings regarding the extent to which the public participates in the oversight work of the legislature. This is regardless of the efforts made by the legislature to establish platforms to ensure that the public participates in the oversight role to hold the executive accountable. Furthermore, the study has found that Portfolio Committees are a suitable mechanism to hold the executive to account as among others, the Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) work well together. There are improved relations between the Gauteng government departments and committees. The departments are responsive; yet there are still challenges leading to the elusion of accountability, with limited or no consequences. The study recommends inter alia, follow-up on oversight activities; committee action against the executive’s reluctance; strengthening the role of research; and regular interactions between the executive and the legislature.
PublisherUniversity of Limpopo