The aim of this study is to make an exploration of compliance in implementing the National Treasury Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency levels by Randfontein municipality.
This is going to start by giving a brief background to the study in order to reflect challenges and literature gaps to the study. Linked to the background is going to be a problem statement followed by highlighting purpose of the research, the aim of research, the research objectives. Lastly, a description of the research questions, theoretical foundation of the study, concepts clarification, research design, limitation of the study and the chapter outline will be done.
Background to the studyAccording to Mogale (2003:227), the Constitutionof the Republic of South Africa outlines that the local government isthe epicentre of the government delivery system and at the heart of povertyeradication initiatives. Municipalities receive fundingfrom three sources, through (a) rates from land, houses and businesses based onthe value of their property, (b) charging tariffs for services like water,electricity, refuse removal and the use of municipal facilities such as sportsgrounds and (c) largely funding transfers from national government (LocalGovernment Action, 2017:1). Section153 of the Constitution (1994) requires a municipality to structure and manageits administration, budgeting and planning, to prioritize the basic needs ofthe community, and to promote the social and economic development of thecommunity. According to Koma (2010:111) Local government is expected to effectivelyattain its mandatory mission of delivering services that are adequate andresponsive to the needs of the community. Municipalities therefore shouldsuccessfully shift from mediocrity to excellence in as far as service deliveryis concerned. Municipalities operate in a complex and fast changing environmentat which societal demands for quality, value for money and social justice havebecome paramount. South African municipalities areunder severe pressure due to poor financial control and lack of accountability,leading to extensive corruption and financial mismanagement with detrimentalconsequences for effective and efficient service delivery (Laubsher, 2012:63).
Effective financial management can helpmunicipalities to transform their local areas into a better place to live andwork. Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000,Municipal Finances Management 56 of 2003 and the regulations on municipalperformance management are some of the policy instruments developed to ensureaccountability and financial control. Problem statementKoma (2013:112) in order for local government to beable to achieve their objectives they should be staffed with by the nation’sbrightest and best officials functioning without constraints, and capable ofbeing innovative in addressing the social and economic needs of the citizens. Edigheji(2009:62) further reiterates that positions in the bureaucracy in Africa haveto be based on merit rather than patronage; ethnic or religious considerations.In 2007,the National Treasury regulated the minimum competencies for officialsresponsible for financial and supply chain management so as to align financialmanagement in municipalities with the principles of accountability,transparency, effective and efficient utilisation of public resources (RSA,2015:1). The Municipal Regulations on MinimumCompetency Levels were introduced in order to professionalise local governmentsector by making it a preferred choice for talented officials and mitigating someof the root causes of poor financial management and service delivery. Thecompetency framework consists of minimum qualifications, work relatedexperience, core managerial competencies and core occupational competencies forfinancial officials both at senior and middle management levels (RSA, 2007:7).
As part of the process to ensure compliancewith regard to Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels, affected municipalofficials had eight years to attain the prescribed requirements. It is clear that change and non-compliance inmajority of people and organization are often a challenge when new processesare introduced. Non-compliance to regulations poses many challenges both to theorganization receiving the regulation and those who are supposed to enforce theregulation. Steyn (2012:2) indicated that municipalities ignored a requirementto include compliance to the competency regulations in performance agreementsof officials that are subject to it and excluded the competency requirements injob advertisements placed after July 2007. In addition to the above, furtherfindings indicated that senior managers did not sign performance management for2011/2012 and this was also queried by auditor general in 2011/2012 auditreport (Steyn, 2012:3) . A 2007 report by Local Government Sector Education and TrainingAuthority Report published (2007), 28% of chief financial officers did not holdfinance related qualifications and 31% of municipal managers havequalifications other than those related to finance, legal, public administration,planning and development. The National Treasury (2017:1) indicatedthat only 33% of the 2 201 by March 2017 in 17 non-delegatedmunicipalities complied with the requirements for minimum competency levels.
TheDepartment of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ (2009:31) report;also reflected that local government was in trouble due to staff incompetencies.The following aspects are some of the ‘stubborn service delivery and governanceproblems’ identified for causingdistress in local government:Poor financial management, e.g.
negativeaudit opinions; and insufficient municipal capacity due to lack of scarceskills.Municipalities constantly employing seniormanagers and supply chain managers without relevant knowledge, qualificationand experience. According to Oberholzer (2014:1), the poor state of municipal finances is of great concern that requiresurgent attention for improvement. For example, in the 2010/2011 financial yearfor example, the Auditor General of South Africa subsequently for 2013/14 reportedthat only 13 of 283 municipalities achieved a clean audit. These indicates that the totalnumber of municipalities and municipal entities with clean audits increasedfrom 30 in the 2012/13 financial year to 58 in 2013-14 with a baseline of onlyseven in 2007/08, the outcome that triggered the launch of operation cleanaudit (AGSA, 2015:23). The same report indicates that the majority of municipalitiesand municipal entities with clean audits were characterized by good internalcontrols. These controls were underpinned by most positions being filled by keyofficials that had already achieved the prescribed competencyrequirements.
The performance of numerous municipalities across the country withregard to the implementation of National Treasury Municipal Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levelshas thus far clearly demonstrated hugedeficiencies, therefore this study attempt to investigate complianceby Randfontein municipality. Purpose of the researchThis study attempt to determine the extent towhich Randfontein municipality is complying with implementation for the NationalTreasury Municipal Regulations on MinimumCompetency Levels. In absence of compliance to the minimumcompetency level order, the research will also determine whether there is aplan of action to redress noncompliance. The study research will provide a status quoof Randfontein municipality in compliance with implementation of the NationalTreasury Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels and propose way-forwardin redressing the challenges. 1.4.The aim of ResearchThe aim of this study is to make an explorationof compliance in implementating the National Treasury Municipal Regulations on MinimumCompetency Levels by Randfontein Municipality.
The intention is to addresschallenges related to the implementation of the National Treasury Municipal Regulationson Minimum Competency Levels, with the hope of contributing to theimplementation of the change/transformational theoretical frame-work. Research objectivesThe study has the following primary andsecondary objective. PrimaryobjectiveTheprimary objective seeks to determine the extent at which the Randfonteinmunicipality is complying with the implementation of the National Treasury’s Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels byDecember 2014. SecondaryobjectiveThe secondary objective seeks to determine whetherthe municipality has a plan of action to mitigate non-compliance to theNational Treasury’s Municipal Regulationson Minimum Competency Levels, in case where there was no compliance? Research questionsThe main research question for the study is: What is the extent at which the Randfonteinmunicipality is complying with the implementation of the National Treasury Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels byDecember 2014? In case where the municipality does notcomply with the National Treasury’s MunicipalRegulations on Minimum Competency Levels requirement the subresearch question is:Does the municipality have a plan of actionto mitigate non-compliance to the National Treasury’s Municipal Regulations on Minimum Competency Levels? Theoretical foundation for the studyThe theoretical foundationfor the study will be described in terms of the central theoretical statement ofthe study and the theoretical basis. Thetheoretical framework for the study is based on Accelerating Change andTransitions – Facilitation Skills for Leaders model .The framework has been developedby the Destra Consulting Group and highlights the ways in which an organisationcan move from an “as-is” to a “to-be state” by executing a series of change enablers(Destra Consulting Group, 2005:10).Thecentral theoretical statement will be discussed first. 1.
7.1 Central theoretical statementDirectivesby the National Treasury to Municipalities will result in the implementation ofthe Municipal Regulations on MinimumCompetency Levels.1.8Concept ClarificationRandfonteinLocal Municipality- it falls within the borders of West RandDistrict, one of the four local municipalities in Gauteng. It comprises of theformer Mohlakeng, Toekomsrus, former Randfontein, and Peri-Urban areas andformer Gatstrand Randfontein local municipality (IDP, 2011:32).Municipality” is definedas an organ of state within the local sphere of government exercisinglegislative and executives authority within an area determined in terms of theLocal Government, (RSA, 1998:6).
Lawsons (2015:1) defines public financial management as set of laws, rules, systems andprocesses used by sovereign nations (and sub-national governments), to mobiliserevenue, allocate public funds, undertake public spending, account for fundsand auditAccording to Boyatzis (1982:1) Competency is “an underlying characteristic of a person in that itmay be a motive, trait or skill aspect of one?s self –image or social role orbody of knowledge.” Research designThe research methodology for the study isquantitative. Quantitative research is the numerical representation andmanipulation of observations for the purpose of describing and explaining thephenomena that those observations reflect (Sukamolson, 2007:1).The study relieson the legal instruments relevant to core competencies of accounting officers andchief financial officers. These laws and regulations will be scrutinized.
Thesematerials include notices, letters, records, reports etc. Further, structuredinterviews will be held with senior management and middle managers from supplychain unit in the selected municipality as well as in the provincial Treasury.Table 1.1 present a summary of the research methods and design used in thestudy.