Legal perspectives on the prevention and minimisation of corruption for sustainability in South African municipalities
The premise of the study is that the legal imperative for developmental local government in South Africa depends on local sustainability. The study argues that public sector corruption is an impediment to local sustainability. The primary objective of this thesis is to critically explore, from the perspective of law, how public sector corruption in local government can be prevented in the pursuit of sustainability in municipalities. The research comprises of a desktop analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources of law and the discourse in scholarly literature. The desktop analysis establishes from a local government perspective the conceptual framing of public sector corruption, sustainable development, good governance and financial sustainability. Standards to prevent corruption in local government are identified from international and regional law and policy. South African national anti-corruption law and policy are evaluated against these standards 1) to establish whether these standards are provided for in South African law and policy, and 2) to identify which duties local government has, to help prevent public sector corruption. The final part of the study uses an empirical research method in the form of a quantitative content analysis to identify to what extent municipalities fulfil their duties to prevent corruption as prescribed by anti-corruption national law and policy. In addition, this section, through a case study analysis, aims to distil some learning points applicable to local government in general. International and regional law contains at least fourteen standards which provide valuable indicators on how local governments could prevent corruption. An appraisal of how South African anti-corruption law and policy measure up against the standards shows that the country boasts a solid law and policy framework to prevent public sector corruption in municipalities. However, some areas for improvement remain. In response to the research question, this study finds through a systematic analysis that the prevention of public sector corruption in local government can be improved if anti-corruption law and policy are reviewed to rectify some identified gaps which includes more robust safeguards against political interference in local governance. Improvements must be made to the existing national law and policy to include increasing access to municipal information and improving whistle-blower protection. Law and policy can further be used to mandate supervisory and monitoring institutions of local government to review all municipal reports with the purpose of detecting potential acts of corruption. South African municipalities must fulfil their duties to prevent corruption as prescribed by national law and policy. Lastly, a peer learning initiative is encouraged where municipalities can exchange best practices, innovative measures, and other experiences which may help to prevent corruption.
- Law