The University of Mpumalanga has Institutional Research Themes, and one of the themes addresses governance, ethics, and leadership. As part of this, a research team comprising Honours and Masters students, along with academics at the university, conducted a research study on community participation, service delivery, and leadership in Ehlanzeni District Municipality.
During the 16th Biennial Conference of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) held at the University of Mpumalanga’s Mbombela campus, some members of the research team presented fieldwork results for Mbombela and Nkomazi.
The study confirms that the performance of local municipal authorities in South Africa regarding service delivery, community participation, and leadership remains questionable. This is despite the mandate of local municipal authorities under Section 152 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (RSA 1996) “to promote social and economic development”. Furthermore, Section 153 (a) emphasises the importance of leadership and governance, stating that municipal authorities must structure and manage their administration, budgeting, and planning processes in a way that prioritises the delivery of basic needs and promotes socio-economic development in the communities they govern.
Despite the availability of guidelines for leadership and governance, such as those outlined in the Municipal Supplement of the King IV report on corporate governance, the performance of municipalities in relation to governance, leadership, and ethics appears to be lacking. Community members interviewed raised numerous concerns, and officials interviewed suggested that there are issues with leadership, ethics, and governance in municipalities.
The plan is for the research team to engage with relevant municipalities. This process commenced at the conference with the involvement of selected officials.
By UMP Communication Division. Picture supplied.