Globalisation and its impact on the governance of local authorities : a case study of the eThekwini Municipality.
Ramlachan, Premlall Kissoonchand.
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This study focuses on globalisation and its impact on the governance of local authorities, with particular reference to the eThekwini Municipality. The research is topical and relevant to the times. Currently, local government and administration in South Africa is undergoing restructuring and transformation in accordance with key national policies and recent legislative mandates. The restructuring of local government has been driven by the process of democratization and re-distribution. This drive has changed local government boundaries, introduced new structures and systems and re-orientated planning and the general environment. This phase in the transformation represents a fresh and final opportunity for local government to transform itself in a manner that will achieve sustainable and a developmental local government that will improve the quality of life of all South Africans economically, politically, socially, culturally and technologically. New conceptual frameworks, and new ways of dealing with problems and challenges have been introduced and the process of giving effect to the changes is bound to continue for some time into the foreseeable future. As South Africa confronts critical domestic challenges of economic growth and job creation, meeting basic needs, alleviating poverty, developing its people and ensuring a safe and secure environment, it continues to deliberate in international forums such as Southern African Development Community (SADC) and New Partnership on Africa's Development (NEPAD), and perform other global responsibilities. Globalisation is commonly portrayed as a multi-faceted phenomenon with trends in trade, technology, international capital movements and multi-national organizations all moving towards the creation of a new autonomous and homogenous global economic realm. In simple terms it demands that trends being developed by Local xvm Government keep abreast of what is happening in other countries throughout the World. Globalisation has brought into sharp focus the rapidly evolving functions of "regionalisation" in the World. The ease with which goods, services and finances are sourced has impacted on how the world operates. On a negative level, it has resulted in growing inequalities and polarization between more localities and regions that are able to engage and compete within the global economy and those who are unable to. Within the current political framework in South Africa's core principles, basic systems, and procedures are designed to encourage and facilitate community participation and strengthen local governance, management and development. This would allow for progressive steps towards social and economic upliftment of communities as envisaged in the White Paper on Local Government. Good governance and democracy are essential to ensure maximum participation and ownership of the decision making process at the local level. Moreover, key pillars of the strategy at the eThekwini Municipality are meeting basic needs, strengthening the economy and building skills and improving technology. In local government the emergence of a uniquely South African organization and leadership culture that recognizes the values and skills inherent in our cultural diversity is fundamental in sustaining the trends of globalisation. This holistic differences in approach should be viewed as a unique competitive advantage that improves the quality of decisionmaking. This study recognizes that South Africa needs to participate positively within the global community as a key player while addressing a multitude of domestic challenges. The study was conceptualized within a framework of globalisation and its fit into the paradigm of local governance. It also focuses on the traditional, innovative and global xix approaches to public administration and focuses on the impact and relevance to globalisation. The positive and negative implications of globalisation are highlighted and recommendations are made on the basis that South Africa and more particularly the eThekwini Municipality cannot ignore globalisation. Globalisation is here to stay and South Africa must plat its role within the global context. The study attempts to bridge the gap between theory and practice of globalisation. As South Africa deliberates within the African Union and embarks on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) while confronting domestic challenges, it also has to perform global responsibilities. The research instruments and techniques used in this study consisted of theoretical search, empirical survey and data interpretation. The empirical survey captures the understanding of globalisation, responses within the core themes of each hypotheses, overall objectives and relationship between core themes. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used. The study proposes and makes valuable recommendations for globalisation and its impact on the governance of local authorities. For the eThekwini Municipality to conform to these domestic and global trends the following recommendations should be considered: • Embrace globalisation as a fact and view it as a challenge for Africa. • Develop effective public-private partnerships, which will sustain the impact of local governance. • Enhance information technology, knowledge, skills and competencies. • Develop regional agreements for local and global cities. • Provide training to improve capacities to contribute towards organizational effectiveness. • To make the global economy more sustainable and inclusive in the developing countries. xx • Develop local leadership to meet the globalisation challenge. • Institute structural and institutional adjustment for developmental local government. • The eThekwini Municipality must emulate best practices of global cities. • Establish globalisation committee to keep abreast of the globalisation issues. • Use cultural diversity to improve the quality of decision-making. • Although the eThekwini has a generally well-developed infrastructural system, it is largely concentrated within the urban core and its principal development corridors. This system needs to be extended, maintained and upgraded if the core and periphery areas of eThekwini are to become integrated, support internationally competitive partners and attract new alliances. • Twinning of cities is an important measure to monitor global trends and alliances. • Further research and studies into the trends and influences of globalisation as applied with local authorities needs to be undertaken.