Good, better governance

Claudelle von Eck (CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors) and Mayor James Nxumalo

eThekwini has launched a pioneering programme to address governance issues, writes Lindsay King.

The eThekwini Municipality has begun a new process to develop a culture of good governance within the organisation with the launch of South Africa’s first Governance Development Programme.

The first in a series of professional development seminars for the City’s political and administrative leadership was recently launched to improve compliance and governance. The aim is to encourage conversation about good governance, promote new tools and approaches supporting good governance, and share best practices and solutions to ensure a clean administration.

Speaking at the launch, the Mayor, Cllr James Nxumalo, said: “This programme takes place at a time when we have received strict instructions from President Jacob Zuma to fast-track the delivery of services and it is imperative for us to also ensure good governance practice.”

He added that programmes such as these will ensure that officials and councillors are capacitated enough to deal with the demands and expectations of service delivery, while upholding the integrity of the legislative processes required for good governance.

This executive development programme will impact positively on the way we do business as a City and improve our decision-making, within leadership and management in key strategic areas.

Nxumalo pointed out that the Municipality has made great strides in addressing non-compliance since 2011 by improving internal controls, appointing competent people in key positions, fully capacitating the Internal Audit and City Investigations Units and strengthening the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) that was recently recognised by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) for being the best among other oversight municipal committees in the country.

“The role of this committee in complementing other internal audit structures of our Municipality should be applauded and this actually bodes well in our quest to continually improve on our audit and service delivery outcomes,” he said, adding that the Municipality has already implemented measures to deal with all items that were raised by the Auditor General for the 2012/2013 financial year, and there would be vast improvements in the coming years.

The City Manager, Sibusiso Sithole, said that this bold step indicates the Municipality’s willingness and commitment to the citizens and taxpayers regarding its conduct in managing the affairs of the Municipality.

Speakers Claudelle Von Eck, CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors, and Ansie Ramalho, CEO of the Institute of Directors, spoke passionately about good corporate governance and left officials and politicians with some food for thought. Both identified the need to act with the Ubuntu ideology in mind and highlighted the principles of responsibility, accountability, fairness, transparency, discipline, independence and sustainability.

Von Eck also identified the “five Cs”: capability, competency, competence, confidence and credibility, each leading onto the next. She advised that to take this quantum leap required strategic objectives that are measurable, risk being effectively managed and reporting to citizens embedded into the system.

eThekwini’s Chief Audit Executive, Phillip Ntsimane, told Service magazine the idea to begin a Continuous Director Development Programme stemmed from the Municipality’s desire to curb the incidence of irregular expenditure, improve good governance and a clean administration within the organisation.

“The eThekwini Municipality Audit and Risk Assessment Unit (EMARAS), realised that there were opportunities for improvement in the various roles and responsibilities of oversight structures and board committees that could impact alignment and delivery of strategic goals of council and negate the audit mandate in achieving good corporate governance. Council supported and adopted the programme and launched this initiative in concurrence with The City Manager,”
says Ntsimane.

He says there is a need to cultivate good corporate governance and clean administration to pursue a seamless integration of political governance and administrative governance, taking into account various municipal legislation and development frameworks driven by national and pro-vincial government.

The forum will aim to harness diverse governance leadership capabilities in driving the business of council to ensure effective and efficient service delivery that will benefit communities.

“The essence of good governance would assist to translate municipal programmes and projects into efficient and effective service delivery coupled with effective decisions that lead to substantive and quality outcomes. Furthermore, good governance contributes to the sustainability of the city and has an effect on service delivery with EEE (Effective, Efficient and Economy).

Good governance and a clean administration will create an enabling environment and equal opportunities for business to prosper. It has been proven globally that clean, responsible governance builds business confidence and attracts investment, growing the economy of the city and the region. “Good governance and a clean administration will lead to more effective and efficient leadership and service delivery. By understanding and adopting the principles of good governance, one normally tends to act in a more responsible, morally and ethically correct manner, with the vision of achieving the desired delivery to communities becoming a paramount one.

“This will definitely have a direct impact on how the eThekwini Municipality fulfills its service delivery mandate. More than anything else, good governance is about strategic and effective leadership, with a focus on achieving the municipality's vision. By 2030 eThekwini will be Africa’s most caring and liveable City,” Ntsimane says.


Claudelle von Eck (CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors) and Mayor James Nxumalo

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Issue 68