Municipal Oversight & Accountability Programme

Corruption and maladministration has a significant negative impact on the lives of poor and working class citizens living in municipalities across the country. Tens of millions of citizens across the country are robbed everyday of basic services, such as municipal clinic services, early childhood development centres, visible policing and emergency services, library services, affordable housing, food banks, GBV shelters and shelters for the homeless, public bus services, reliable water and electricity supply, enterprise development centres and so on,all of which ought to be delivered as government programmes by elected public official entrusted with the responsibility of delivering services to citizens, but steal from the poor daily through the corruption and theft of public resources, primarily through tender corruption and other means.

This crisis in the ethics and accountability of public representatives requires all of us to exercise greater oversight over government administration at all levels: municipal, provincial, and national. Whether we are employees of the state or work in community organisations, good citizenship requires active participation in ridding our society of the corruption and maladministration that steals from tens of millions of ordinary people across the country on a daily basis.

ASRI’s Municipal Oversight and Accountability Programme aims to:

  1. train and develop civil servants and community leaders to exercise effective oversight of municipal government;
  2. network civil servants and community leaders across municipalities and in time establish a Municipal Oversight and Accountability Network; and,
  3. provide technical assistance to civil servants and civil society organisations to more effectively hold municipal government accountable.

Municipal Oversight and Accountability Training

For the purposes of rolling out Municipal Oversight and Accountability Training in 8 municipalities per annum over the next two years for up to 100 attendees in each municipality, ASRI has developed a Municipal Oversight and Accountability Training short course. This short course will instruct participants on how to use existing legislation and policy on oversight and accountability to stop current practices of maladministration, and to prevent their recurrence. It aims to empower everyone, from those currently in the public service through to those active citizens who wish to improve the lives of people in their communities.

(1) demonstrate an understanding of the links between governance, accountability, and oversight in a constitutional democracy;

(2) outline the legislative processes and regulatory framework through which accountability and oversight are exercised in a municipal/local government setting;

(3) describe and understand the Constitutional principles which require oversight and accountability in government administration in a municipal/local government setting;

(4) give an account of the Public Finance Management Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act, and the Municipal Systems act as mechanisms to effect oversight and accountability within government;

(5) research, plan and execute projects and activities that exercise oversight and accountability within their specific local government setting;

(6) co-create and support oversight and accountability projects and activities within the wider Municipal Oversight and Accountability Network;

(7) access technical assistance from the ASRI Municipal Oversight and Accountability Programme Team; and,

(8) apply to access funding for oversight and accountability work in their local government settings from local business networks (administered by ASRI NPC).

Day 1

Session 1

Introduction to the concepts of oversight and accountability in government in South Africa

(1) What is the function of oversight?
(2) How is oversight done in South African government administration?
(3) What are the structures through which oversight is meant to be exercised?

Session 2

Introduction to the Law

(1) How do laws come to be, and why
(2) Legislative oversight: ‘committee work’
(3) What are the structures and mechanisms through which accountability is done?

Day 2

Session 1

The legislative processes and instruments which structure oversight and accountability in government in South Africa

(1) The Constitution: principles, obligations, guarantees
(2) The Public Finance Management Act
(3) The Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act

Session 2

Law as empowering for everyone

(1) Public oversight: transparency, consultation, accounting
(2) Auditing: a culture of receipts
(3) Interventions that can be made from local through to national

Day 3

Session 1

Illustrative scenario exercises to reflect on and consolidate what was learned

(1) Who is meant to account? Who are they meant to account to?
(2) Oversight and accountability inside government: who, when, and how?
(3) Oversight and accountability of government from outside: who, when, and how?

The course instruction will be led by:

Ebrahim Fakir
Director of Programmes

Awarded the Ruth First Fellowship for 2014 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg – Ebrahim Fakir until recently headed the Political Parties and Parliamentary Programme at EISA [2010-2016]. He was formerly Senior Researcher and Analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg (2003-2009), he worked at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) [1998-2003] at both IDASA’s Pretoria and Cape Town offices and he also worked at the first democratic Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (1996-1998) in the Legilsation amd Oversight Division. Before that, he was junior lecturer in English Literature at the then University of Durban-Westville (1994-1996) and continues to teach as a sessional lecturer in contemporary political economy at the Sustainability Institute at Stellenbosch University. He writes in the popular press as well as academic and policy journals on politics, development, and the state. He is used as a commentator and facilitator by the domestic and international media, business and other organisations. He read for a degree in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand; Johannesburg where he was elected on to the Students Representative Council. He was visiting fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex (2005/2006) and was a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Centre for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University, for 2011.

Angelo Fick
Director of Research

Angelo Fick is the Director of Research at ASRI. Before joining ASRI, he spent nearly half a decade as a resident current affairs and news analyst in the broadcast sector in South Africa. For two decades he taught across a variety of disciplines in the Humanities and Applied Sciences in universities in South Africa and Europe. His research is informed by critical ‘race’ theory, feminism, colonial discourse theory, and post-structuralism. He has written widely on post-millennial post-apartheid South Africa’s political economy, and remains interested in broader issues of justice, freedom, and equality. Most recently he taught courses on colonial discourse theory and postcolonial culture in the Department of Visual Culture at the University of Pretoria. He has supervised graduate work on the representation of women politicians in South African media, the figuration of subjectivity in contemporary critical theory, and most recently, an analysis of the relationship between national sovereignty and supra-national organisations in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In May 2019 he was one of the primary analysts of the South African general elections for South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC. His work has appeared in the Mail & Guardian, the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, and English in Africa.