Every effort of government must be focused on improving the lives of South Africans.
As we continue to fight against the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality we need all spheres of government and all organs of the state to effectively deliver on their responsibilities to make South Africa a better place to live for all its people.
To achieve this, Section 41 (1) of the South African Constitution says that all spheres of government and all organs of state must provide “effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the Republic as a whole”.
The National Development Plan rightly states that the “state provides the institutions and infrastructure that enable the economy and society to operate”, and that “in a society with deep social and economic divisions, neither social nor economic transformation is possible without a capable developmental state.”
An efficient public administration is a critical enabler for creating an Open Opportunity Society for All. It lays the foundation for a partnership approach between the government and South African citizens in which the government works to deliver opportunities and citizens take responsibility to use these opportunities to improve their own lives.
Two decades after South Africa’s first democratic election many South Africans do not believe that all government departments and state institutions are working to serve them. We have seen many of our democratic institutions abused by a ruling party that seems more focussed on serving its own interests than serving the people of South Africa.
In terms of World Bank Good Governance Indicators, South Africa’s percentile ranking in nearly all key indicators of good governance has declined.
The DA believes that governance and government in South Africa can be better. We believe government can be more responsive to the needs of the people, we believe it can be more transparent and accountable to those it serves, and we believe that it can be more efficient in delivering services. We believe that government can do more to create an enabling environment for growth and development.
Where we govern, our service delivery records and governance outcomes show that we are committed to spending public money in the interest of the people and that we have the capacity to deliver. The “State of Management Practices in the Public Service 2012” report released by the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department confirmed that the DA-led Western Cape Government has the best public service management practices in the country.
This document summarises our analysis of some of the challenges faced in terms of good governance and building an efficient public administration in South Africa. We then go on to explain how we believe government and governance can be improved.
Our proposals to make government work better seek to:
- Limit political interference in the public administration;
- Strengthen accountability;
- Advance the fight against corruption and maladministration;
- Attract the brightest minds in the country to careers in the public administration;
- Establish mechanisms to ensure that best practice models are studied and replicated;
- Get different departments and spheres of government to work together;
- Streamline government and arrange state departments to serve the needs of the public, rather than creating new, unnecessary bureaucracies.
- Make sure that the good rules that we have are effectively implemented; and
- Clarify the role of traditional leaders.