Fostering public accountability in South Africa: A reflection on challenges and successes
Munzhedzi, Pandelani H.
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Accountability and oversight are constitutional requirements in all the spheres of government in the Republic of South Africa and their foundation is in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. All spheres of government are charged with the constitutional mandate of providing public services. The level of responsibility and public services provision also goes with the level of capacity of a particular sphere. However, most of the direct and visible services that the public receives are at the local sphere of government. As such, enormous resources are channelled towards this sphere of government so that the said public services could be provided. It is imperative that the three spheres of government account for the huge expenditures during the public service provision processes. The parliaments of national and provincial governments exercise oversight and accountability over their executives and administrations through the Public Accounts Committees, while the local sphere of government relies on the Municipal Public Accounts Committees. This article is theoretical in nature, and it seeks to explore the current state of public accountability in South Africa and to evaluate possible measures so as to enhance public accountability. The article argues that the current public accountability mechanisms are not efficient and effective. It is recommended that these mechanisms ought to be enhanced by inter alia capacitating the legislative bodies at national, provincial and local spheres of the government.