Training and development of municipal personnel in South Africa.
This doctoral thesis essentially investigates what is currently done by South African municipalities with regard to the training and development of their personnel. The study was necessitated by the fact that personnel plays an important role in the viability of any local authority. Therefore, the quality of manpower should be above suspicion. Moreover, with the advent of the expected implications of the new constitutional dispensation it is imperative that attention shall be focused timeously on the training and development of the human resources available to local government and administration. The need for training and development also dominates the arena in view of the continued extention of government activities and the concomitant creation of new State institutions. Thus, the above reasoning serves as rationale for the background description of the right of existence of local authorities. The term, local authorities, is, therefore, viewed as a collective noun for all institutions engaged in governing and administering community life on the local level, be it municipalities, village boards, health committees or institutions for the peri-urban areas. A discussion of municipal administration is also given as it justifies a review of the location thereof within the spectrum of public administration, given its distinctive environment and character. Furthermore, an exposition of municipal personnel administration within the context of municipal administration is imperative should one wish to understand the delicate processes of provisioning, maintenance, utilisation and above all, training and development of scarce manpower resources. Coupled with the description of the components of municipal personnel administration, follows an explanation of the constituent parts of the activities, training and development. The study revealed that training is a process of which the groundwork is done by a related field, called education. Education starts at birth and continues ad infinitum. Education also provides the preparation-for-life foundation, whereby training continues as the preparation-for-work process. As a prerequisite for both processes to be successful, is an intellectual process, called learning. The will to learn then also prepares the individual with a willingness to develop at the hand of various ways and means. Thereafter the need for and the objectives of training within the institution is acknowledged and a description is given of how to identify and describe these needs and objectives in order to meet the common objective of local authorities, viz. the improvement of the general well-being of the citizenry. A responsibility rests on the individual municipalities to provide, through training and development programmes, the opportunity for municipal officials and employees on all levels, to develop. It is to this end that municipalities should endeavour to provide suitable training and development facilities and to utilise it to its fullest extent. Whether the facilities utilised, refers to on-the-job - or off-the-job training, the methods should be applied only after its relevant advantages and disadvantages have been carefully weighed and if it meets the requirements of the specific circumstances of the municipality. The study proves that in South Africa, there is not necessarily a shortage of available municipal manpower, but that a question-mark could be placed after the quality thereof in terms of training and development. It is, therefore, recommended that, in an endeavour to promote training and development activities, the following aspects, inter alia, deserve consideration: (a) the introduction at school level, of a course in environmental or public studies; (b) the establishment of a school of municipal government and administration in the Core City of each region specified in terms of the Regional Services Councils Act, 1985 (Act 109 of 1985); (c) that municipalities should devise a unique approach to training and development methods; (d) that training sessions should provide for the individual needs of the participants; (e) the publication of an annual report by the Local Training Board giving a detailed exposition of the nature and extent of training individually and collectively undertaken by leading South African municipalities; (f) the provision of specially designed and well-equipped technical training facilities; and (g) the establishment of resources centres or reading rooms to put periodicals, journals and relevant newspaper articles at the disposal of all the municipal employees.