Policy knowledge and bureaucratic management perceptions towards effective and efficient fuel usage in the South African Police Service.
Executive power comprehends those aspects of the organisation and administration of society which are, at any given time, regarded as properly a matter of governmental responsibility. Understanding as to what matters are properly regarded as the responsibility of government has changed over time, however such matters have always included the maintenance of external and internal security, the promotion of law and order, and the keeping of the peace. Consequently, the operations of the police are accepted as responsibilities of the executive government. Idealistically, police and policing should be performed by highly qualified individuals, supported by the best tools and resources, discharged with the highest professional standards that produce good and accountable managerial results that best serve the people. Paradoxical as it may seem for a programme-heralding performance, New Public Management (NPM) is unable to provide adequate information on its own performance over a twenty-year period. Hypotheses specific to national experiences are too few and too ‘parochial’ since they lack comparative relevance. More specifically, no comparison could be found on the implementation of NPM on national state police vehicle fleet fuel usage systems around the World. More specifically, Government departments in the Republic of South Africa do not have access to unlimited funds and therefore have to manage allocated financial resources effectively and efficiently. The South African Police Service (SAPS) overspent its fuel, oil, and lubricant budget by almost R1.1 billion South African Rand, over the last six (6) years. The current study contributes new knowledge to the NPM theoretical framework by providing adequate information for a comparative national police vehicle fleet fuel usage system, which is a world first. More specifically, the study asked: (i) What are the general vehicle fuel and oil management knowledge of a representative sample of all station commanders in the SAPS? (ii) What are the specific SAPS vehicle fuel and oil management policy knowledge of a representative sample of all station commanders in the SAPS? (iii) What are the thoughts of SAPS station commanders concerning the behaviour of SAPS officials under their control with regards to effective and efficient SAPS vehicle fuel and oil usage? (iv) What attitudes do SAPS officials have towards effective and efficient SAPS vehicle fuel and oil usage according to a representative sample of all station commanders in the SAPS? Two valid and reliable measuring instruments were developed and administered to a representative sample (359/1135) of all station commanders in the SAPS: a) A 20-item SAPS fuel and oil management knowledge test; and b) A 19-item self-report perception questionnaire that measures SAPS fuel and oil management perceptions of SAPS station commanders. The study amongst others found that SAPS station commanders believe that police officials do not find it important to treat state vehicles the same way as they treat their private vehicles. The study also found that the SAPS station commanders, in general, did not have a 100% knowledge base (memory) (as required by SAPS Top Management) of SAPS National Instruction 4 of 2011: State vehicles, that relates to effective and efficient fuel and oil management, and other SAPS policies that guide effective and efficient management of fuel and oil in SAPS. The study amongst others recommended that all SAPS station commanders and their respective subordinates be outcome-based oriented, assessed, and held accountable in terms of SAPS policies and guidelines on the effective and efficient management of fuel and oil.