Budgetary control as a mechanism for promoting good governance and public expenditure management in the Ngwathe Local Municipality
Rabotapi, Mosigi Josiah
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The affairs of public financial management in the local government operates within two legal frameworks, one adopted by national government and one adopted by legislatures at local level (Mikesell, 2007:36). A legislative framework for public financial management includes a vast number of legislation and public policies that have a direction bearing on the way in which financial management is dealt with in the different spheres of government. The financial affairs in the local government are guided by various legislative frameworks which regulate financial management in the three spheres of government. The Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) Act 56 of 2003 in addition provides guidelines for securing sound and sustainable financial management. The need to achieve sound public financial management and assurance of acceptable and transparent levels of financial risk has become paramount. To realize the developmental mandate, the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budgeting are seen as the most significant tool towards effective public financial management. Government activities require funds to undertake the planned activities and such funds require special care to safeguard the public funds. This study aimed to assess the budgetary control practices in the Ngwathe Local Municipality. The objectives were realized by means of literature review, questionnaires and participant observations. The results of the interviews with the participants (community) revealed that the public is somehow not interested in local government affairs. It was indicated that they are mostly concerned about the social affairs and the job opportunities. The interviews with the municipality revealed that the budgetary control mechanisms are effective. Budget management is a requirement that covers budget preparation, budget implementation, and budget control. The Municipality established the budget office which serves as a mediator between the municipal council and the departmental managers. A good budget is characterized by participation, comprehensiveness, standards, flexibility, feedback and analyses of cost and revenues. However, the municipality should enhance the culture of community participation in local governance.