An integrated approach to service delivery at Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
Sebiloane, Mamoitoi Annathia
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Within the South African framework of transition, constitutional development and of the Municipal Systems Act of 2000, the Integrated Development Planning and budgeting processes represent a significant shift away from past planning approaches in South Africa. Hitherto, planning systems were largely technocratic,sectoral and failed to incorporate the views of local people. The current aim is to create Effective and efficient government systems and to integrate the various administrations of the constituent local governments into the new consolidated local governments. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), one of the largest metropolitan municipalities in the country was a case study to examine this shift away from the past planning approaches to the new integrated approach. For the purpose of this study, integrated approach to service delivery is described as a process to ensure that the objectives and policies determined by the legislature will be uniformly interpreted and applied by all departments in municipal entity. Integrated development planning, budget reviews and performance monitoring systems focus on alleviating poverty and addressing past injustices and inequities through identification of programmes and projects that respond to the needs and priorities of local communities. There is a strong move towards a more integrated and participatory approach to local planning with varying success at incorporating sustainability principles throughout the process. The Municipal Systems Act makes it mandatory that all sectors and interested parties be consulted, and that has led to improved communication and cooperation between different spheres of government and the newly established local authority structures. Along with IDPs as the primary planning tool, Systems Act signify the deepening of democracy and good governance as it is mandatory for the participation of communities and various stakeholders through the ward committees. For the purpose of this study, a hypothesis was formulated that: IDP, Budgetary Planning and SDBIP are mutually dependent and key strategic thrusts in realizing the objectives of public finance within the local government context and yet, ineffective service delivery in EMM results from the inability to integrate its development plan, budget and service delivery budget implementation plans. To validate the hypothesis, theoretical exposition of concepts IDP, budget and service delivery budget implementation plan were explained. Empirical study was conducted which showed that, at Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality: • There is an understanding of the importance of aligning planning systems, • Processes, systems and mechanisms to integrate all the planning systems are established, these are not effective because they are partially or not fully implemented, • Departments function independently. Communication systems and plans are developed; they are not effective, because new procedures are not communicated. Where these are, there is no guideline documentation. • There is much interference in the administrative functions by politicians. Officials who are responsible for budgets are not given space to perform their duties effectively without the influence of external or political thrust. The study concludes with recommendations for action to be taken by the Municipality towards the improvement of service delivery.
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