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Evaluation of local government capacity- building interventions by the provincial government in KwaZulu-Natal. Ukuhlola imithelela yokukhulisa amandla okusebenza komasipala nguhulumeni waKwaZulu-Natali.

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2021

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Capacity and capacity-building are not simple concepts. Broadly defined, the term ‘capacity’, when it refers to an organisation, means the ability of the leadership to make plans and set goals; acquire, manage, and effectively use resources; resolve problems and manage the achievement of the goals. In terms of this definition, capacity-building is much more than intervening to develop the skills and knowledge of employees to set and achieve goals; it also requires the establishment of a workplace that is conducive to the successful application of these competencies. To ensure that local government organisations operate efficiently and effectively, various capacities, including legal frameworks, policy directives, powers and functions, operational support, and financial, human, and other resources, are available. However, although these capacities are available, they have not produced a functional local government that citizens can rely on for service delivery and socio-economic development in local areas and communities. This study assesses capacity-building interventions in selected municipalities in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) by its provincial government. The study was conducted in seven Municipalities in KZN. Six are local municipalities: Umzumbe, Msunduzi, Inkosi Langalibalele, Emadlangeni, Edumbe, Mtubatuba, and the seventh is a district municipality, Umkhanyakude. All councillors, senior administrators, and skills development officials from these municipalities – who could be reached – were requested to be part of the study. Those who accepted the invitation were interviewed. All the municipalities are in rural areas of the province except for Msunduzi, an urban region in which Pietermaritzburg, the second-largest city in KZN, is situated. They are all challenged in meeting their service delivery mandate and other performance goals and targets. The theoretical framework is the model for capacity developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) International Institute for Capacity-building in Africa (IICBA). It identifies three levels of capacity: environmental, organisational (institutional) and individual levels and pictures them as three levels of capacity in a system. Organisational capacity provides the context within which individual capacity is applied, and environmental capacity provides the context for organisational capacity. Understanding the background against which capacity-building interventions can be evaluated, this study has explored the three levels of capacity available to local government. This study has five aims. They are to determine the following: issues that hamper provincial departments in developing the skills and knowledge of councillors and administration officials; appropriate processes for conducting skills audits; appropriate individual capacity-building programmes for councillors and administration officials; appropriate processes for conducting institutional capacity assessments; and appropriate processes for building institutional capacity. Two data-gathering exercises were conducted to gather data in respect of the objectives. First, semi-structured interview schedules recorded opinions and comments from municipal councillors, senior administrators, and skills development officials. These schedules were then analysed numerically to identify trends and highlight challenges and concerns. Second, a survey of provincial departments engaged in support and capacity-building of municipalities was used to collect opinions and comments about their challenges and achievements in working with municipalities. The number of participants from each municipality was as follows: in Edumbe Local Municipality, 20 participants; Emadlangeni Local Municipality, 32 participants; Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality, 27 participants; Msunduzi Local Municipality, 80 participants; Mtubatuba Local Municipality, 34 participants; Umkhanyakude District Municipality, 25 participants; and in Umzumbe Local Municipality the number of participants was 28. The study found that although there are challenges in the quality of some of the capacities and capacity-building interventions made available to municipalities, the most significant challenges exist within the municipalities, which reduces the effectiveness of institutional and individual capacity-building interventions by provincial government departments. The key challenge in institutional capacity-building is the occurrence of various forms of political interference in recruitment. This phenomenon leads to the appointment of under-skilled and under-qualified senior managers in municipal administrations. The consequences are weak leadership, weak institutions, poor management of financial resources, weak governance, weak accountability to communities and the lack of a learning culture. An under-skilled leadership also results in poor human resource management and an ineffective Human Resource Development (HRD) function, which renders affected municipalities unable to attract, develop or retain staff in scarce-skill positions, including all levels of technical and financial skills. The study also found that the key challenge in building individual capacity in municipal councils lies in many elected officials’ inadequate educational and work experience. At this point, a set of universal educational requirements for the appointment of elected officials does not exist. Political parties appoint officials according to criteria set by the political party, and then, once they have been elected, skills development opportunities are offered by the provincial government. However, a minimum requirement for an individual to benefit from workplace skills development is that basic skills in numeracy and literacy are necessary. This requirement is higher when the skills required are related to councillors’ high-level oversight functions. Many senior municipal administrators and municipal councillors in KZN are not equipped to carry out their duties or effectively use the support or capacity-building resources and interventions. The research findings led to several recommendations of which the most significant are that: political parties should set criteria for the nomination of municipal representatives to ensure that the appointed officials can benefit from capacitybuilding programmes; municipal councils should set performance standards for councillors that include personal development plans to encourage learning; the institutional capacity of municipalities should be strengthened to enable them to withstand political interference, competence-based appointments are made, people with scarce skills are attracted, and the South African skills development system is understood and implemented. Iqoqa: Ucwaningo luhlola imithelela yokukhulisa amandla okusebenza komasipala abakhethiwe KwaZulu-Natali nguhulumeni wesifundazwe. Izinhloso zocwaningo kwakungukuveza izimo ezelekelela iminyango yesifundazwe ukuthuthukisa amakhono kanye nolwazi lwamakhansela kanye neziphathimandla; izindlela ezilungile ukubheka ucwaningomabhuku lwamakhono, izinhlelo eziqondene zokukhulisa amandla okusebenza zamakhansela kanye neziphathimandla; izinqubo ezilungile ukwakha amandla okusebenza aqondene nesikhungo. Imisebenzi emibili yokuqoqa imininingo yenziwa. Okokuqala, izinhlaka zezingxoxo ezisakuhleleka zasetshenziswa ukuqopha imibono kanye nokuphawula kwamakhansela kamasipala, iziphathimandla eziphezulu kanye neziphathimandla ezibhekelele ukuthuthukiswa kwamakhono. Umsebenzi wokuqoqwa kwemininingo wesibili kwakuyisaveyi yeminyango yesifundazwe ebandakanyeka ukweseka kanye nokukhulisa amandla okusebenza ukuqoqa imibono kanye nokuphawula mayelana nezingqinamba kanye nokuphumelela. Ucwaningo lwathola ukuthi kunezingqinamba ezinkulu ezikhona phakathi komasipala futhi zehlisa ukusebenza kahle kwemisebenzi yokukhulisa ukusebenza ngamandla kwezikhungo zeminyango kahulumeni wesifundazwe. Izinhlobo ezahlukene zokungenelela kwezepolitiki ekuqashweni, kuholela ekuqashweni kwezimenenja ezisezikhundleni eziphezulu ezingazilungele lezo zikhundla ekuphathweni komasipala. Umphumela kube sekuba ubuholi obuntekenteke kanye nezikhungo, ukwengamela okusezingeni eliphansi kwezidingo zabantu kanye nezezimali, ukuphatha okuntekenteke kanye nokuzinikela okungaphelele emiphakathini kanye nokungabi bikho kwesiko lokufunda. Imiphumela yocwaningo yaveza futhi ukuthi ingqinamba enkulu ukukhulisa amandla okusebenza kwamakhansela kamasipalala, kuncike emfundweni engaphelelanga kumakhansela kanye nesikhathi sokusebenza esandulela esokuqala umsebenzi lowo ngokwephesenti elikhulu. Izincomo eziningi zaphakanyiswa, okungukuthi amaqembu ezepolitiki kumele abeke uhlaka oluchaziwe lokuqashwa/ ukubekwa ezikhundleni kwamakhansela kamasipala, ukuqinisekisa ukuthi bayakwazi ukuzuza ezinhlelweni zokukhulisa amandla okusebenza, ukuthi ukukhulisa amandla okusebenza kwezikhungo zomasipala kumele zithuthukiswe ukuqinisekisa ukuthi bayakwazi ukumelana nokungenelela kwezepolitiki kunoma iluphi uhlangothil futhi okubaluleke kakhulu, benze ukuqasheka okusezingeni elikulungele, bese okokugcina kuhehe abantu abanamakhono adingakalayo nangandile.

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Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

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