Principles of good governance in the public sector are very important because it builds a relationship with people in the community. These principles are based on support, respect, communication, fairness, predictability and competence. The first section of this essay will discuss all of them in detail because they all lead into each other.
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Support is a good principle because if you do not support the public they could turn on you and put someone else in power that will support them and listen to their needs. Support helps build confidence in the public sector by giving the people what they need and want. If the people are happy with you, you will gain their respect, which leads to my next point. Respect begets respect because without it, you could be put out of power, but if you respect the public, the public will respect you and the decisions you have made. You could also get ideas from the public if you listen to and respect their input, which helps you tend to their needs and wants. This could also help you in staying in power for a longer period because you are communicating with the public, which brings in my next point – communication. Communication is the interaction of people, who create meaningful interaction together as a team. This is very important in the public sector because you need to communicate with the public and receive feedback from them before you can make decisions on any matter. The reason for this is so you can make the right decisions. In this way, the communities are happy and know that they are being treated fairly. Fairness is my next point. Fairness is important because you have to treat everyone equally. You do this because it is right to give everybody an equal say in what is happening because they are the ones who have to live with the choices made. Furthermore, if the community gives an idea that you use, give the community the credit and recognition that they deserve. In this way, the community will say that you are fair in your decision-making processes. So, always consider what everyone has to say and be fair to all of them by giving everyone a fair chance. My next point is predictability. Predictability means that you know what someone is going to do before thy do it. In the public sector, it is good because if you know what problems are going to arise, you can have an effective plan to deal with the problem before it becomes severe. You can predict what the people’s needs and wants are and supply it to them without wasting any time. This leads into my final topic, which is competence. Competence is the ability to do something very well. It is important because you have to know what you need to do for your job and you need to do it right. If you are competent, the community will see that you know what you are doing and they will trust you and the decisions that you make because they will believe that you have their best interests at heart.
There are three separations of powers in the government. They are legislative authority, executive authority and judicial authority. They all have different responsibilities and duties to the public and this section will discuss all of them. To start, legislative authority is going to be discussed. The legislative authority in a democratic society is responsible for the orderly conduct of that society. Legislative authority plays a leading role in the process of state administration, by means of the law of the country and the budget of the rising expenditure and revenue. Parliament is the legislative authority of South Africa. Therefore, the legislative authority has the power to create laws for the country in accordance with the Constitution. It consists of the National Assembly, the National Council of provinces and sittings are open to the public. These laws apply only in the boundaries of the province. The following are some of the functional domains with regard to which the provinces can make laws: agriculture, environment and local government. “The legislative authority at local government level is vested in the municipal council which has the power to make bylaws. Such bylaws may not be inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:146) This ends legislative authority and continues with judicial authority. “Judicial authorities’ main goal is to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the individual and to preserve the sovereignty of the lawâ€¦Judicial authority of the Republic vests in the courts. The judiciary is independent, impartial and subject only to the Constitutions and the law. No person and no organ of state may interfere with judicial officers in the performance of their functions.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:147) The judicial authority of the Republic vests in the courts, the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, the Magistrates Court and other courts. The judicial authority has the power to give more rights to the people. Some of the rights they gave are the right to life, the right to human dignity, the right to privacy and many more. Judicial authority has a definite influence on the Public Protector. The executive authority is the next and final power. “The executive authority consists of a variety of public executive institutions established by some law or government decision and which are financial either wholly or partly from state funds. These executive institutions are referred to as the public service. The public has to execute the laws of the country and function as part of the public sector.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:153) All the powers are different and the have there own goal in mind but all are linked to one greater goal and that is to make South Africa a better place.
“Every government institution makes an indispensable contribution to the ultimate goal of the state, namely the advancement of the general welfare of society. For this reason, there is a relationship of interdependence between the respective government structures and institutions. This relationship of interdependence implies interaction between the respective government structures and institutions.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:161) Coordination and liaison between the respective authorities and executive institutions, is of great importance. “To date, a number of intergovernmental structures have been told to promote and facilitate co-operative government and intergovernmental relations between the respective spheres of government.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:162) These include an Intergovernmental Forum (IGF), Ministerial Forums, Intergovernmental Forums and the Department of Constitutional Development. Approaches to governmental relations are Constitutional or legal approach, Democratic approach, Financial approach and Normative operational approach. Vertical intergovernmental relations can be divided into three. They are relations between the central government and provincial governments, relations between the central government and local governments and relations between the provincial government and local governments. “Horizontal relations between government institutions refer to relations between institutions at the same level, and they are particularly important for public managers. At local government level, horizontal relations take place mainly through, among others things, municipal associations and cooperation agreements.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:164) “Extra-governmental relations are relations between government institutions and external institutions.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:164) The categories of relations that can be distinguished are social, politics, economics and institutional. There are four factors that may influence governmental relations, they are organisation of government institutions, decentralisation, fiscal and financial variables and personnel and human resources problems.
Public versus private management. The differences and similarities. Private businesses are run for a profit and public institutions are not, but they are run for the general welfare. In the private sector, the various businesses compete with one another but the public institutions are basically monoplies. Private businesses can become involved in any activity not prohibited by legislations, while public institutions may only carry out functions or exercise competencies expressly delegated to them by the laws of our country. “The nature and scope of services or products provided by the public sector are smaller in extent than those provided by government institutions. The transactions of private institutions usually known only to the owner or shareholder and are not divulged to the public while the actions of public institutions should always take place in the open.”(Southern Business School, 2007:73) The differences are that legislation plays a prominent role; it is financed by the public funds and is not non profit-oriented; it is directed by politics; accountability to the public is of prime importance; the focus in the public sector; the principles of public administration plays an important role and the method of allocating functions in the public sector is frequently based more on political considerations that on pure efficiency. The similarities are both comprise people and fixed personnel regulations are therefore required, work programmes methods and systems are the same, organisational arrangements and structures for providing time and staff functions delegation of authority coordination and communication are more or less the same, management principals, techniques, functions and skills are generic to both sectors, both follow standard accounting principals and control measures are applicable to both to ensure that predetermined objectives are achieved. Those are the differences and similarities of public and private management.
Although there is a broad spectrum of disciplines which can be involved with considerable success. We will focus only on those disciplines that seem more approachable. They are Political Science, Economics, Developmental Administration/ Management, Etnology, Management Science and Sociology. “Political Science can be defined as the scientific study of politics. Fields and subfields of Political Science include political theory and philosophy, national political systems, international politics, public administration, political institutions and political behaviour.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:61) “Political Science studies the public or government sector in terms of its political context, as opposed to Public Administration, which concentrates on the internal functioning of executive government institutions” (Cloete, 1986 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:61). “Economics studies individuals as economic entities and their behaviour in economic affairs that is how they use scarce resources (Cloete, 1986, in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:61). According to Cloete, Public Administration and Economics are inextricably linked.” “Development Administration developed as a specialised field of study from Public Administration.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:61) Public Administration may well be concerned with the overall improvement of living standards. It implies development but a need nonetheless exists for a discipline specialising developmental principles and morals. “Ethnology aims at creating a better understanding of developing communities. In this way, insight is gained into the way of life and institutions of different racial groups, including the way in which they conduct their public affairs.” (Cloete, 1986 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:61) According to Cronje, Neuland and van Reenen (1987 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:62), management science studies private enterptises in the search for ways to improve their functioning. “Sociology involves the study of numerous institutions and other phenomence encountered in human society.” (Cloete, 1986 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:62) There are various disciplines in Public Administration and new theories and approaches develop as a result of the interaction between academics and practitioners who study and practice the individual disciplines.
Successful management of an institution is closely related to the way people are managed in that institution and it is important that managers understand the individuals in the institution. A manager has to be a psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist and political scientist all at the same time to understand and motivate your employees. There are three guidelines a manager needs to follow. They are guidelines from the body politic, guidelines from community values and prescribed guidelines. Guidelines from the body politic includes political supremacy which is ministers are the political head of public institutions and therefore have authority over the actions of officials, public accountability which includes the public responsibility of the legislative judicial an executive authorities with regard to service delivery and conduct which is in the public interest and tenets of democracy which implies that those who govern must not abuse the power vested in them in their personal interest or in the interest of one population group only and that deliberations and consultations with the community must take place. Guidelines from communities’ values include religious doctrines and values systems, fairness and reasonableness, balanced decision-making, thoroughness, probity and honesty, and efficiency and effectiveness. Prescribed guidelines includes legal rules which is every action of a public official must be within the limits of enabling provisions of Acts and regulations, fundamental rights which are binding on all legislative and executive organs of state at all levels of government and it provide for equality, the right to life and respect for protection of dignity, Code of ethics or conduct which specialist unit within the public sector has a set of guidelines governing conduct, the conduct usually do not have any legal authority, but are simply guidelines that have been formed over time, right to information held by the state which is provided in terms of section 32 of the Constitution is also important with regard to internal ethical conduct, Just administration action is the normative principles of Public Administration. Measures to prevent unethical conduct are training and development of officials by means of courses, among other things, control measures and checkpoints, participation in departmental decision making, the elimination of excessive secrecy, media coverage of unethical conduct, politically dishonest officials can be removed during elections, the public service commission, the auditor general in his / her capacity, the public protector who looks after the interest of the public, administrative law and legal rules and a code of ethics or conduct for every profession, occupational group and field of activity.
There are three different environmental levels in the public institution. The levels are macro-level or general level, the intermediate level and the micro-level or specific level. “Micro-environment or internal environment is defined in more specific operational terms. Kast and Rosenzweig (1974 in Van der Walt and Du Toit, 1999:102) define the internal level as an attempt to classify and describe the focus that have an influence on the institution specifically. (Schwella 1983 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:102) describes the micro-environment as that part of general environment that is potentially relevant for the setting of objectives. The specific environment is thus more concrete than the general environment. It may directly influence the availability of resources to be the organisational unit. The influences it may have include supplying, withholding, decreasing or increasing the recourse used by the institution (Van der Waldt, 1992 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:102). The core components of micro environment is mission, goal, strategy, resources, institutional culture, inter regulars, external regulators and information. The intermediate environment or task or client environment induces al institutions, groups, individuals and influences with which the institution has direct outward interaction because public institutions are essentially providers of services. The community should be the most important component of the intermediate environment. “Another intermediate environmental component is regulators that control and regulate the relationship between an institution, its suppliers, clients and competitors. Regulators include policy, laws, procedures and standardsâ€¦Opportunities and threats in the intermediate environment pg102 have a direct implication for the functioning and management of an institution.”(Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:102) Intermediaries or facilitation acts as agents linking the macro and micro-environment. “Another factor that plays a significant role in the provision of services is ethical norms and standards that are derived from the community.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:102) According to Schwella (1991 in Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:100) the macro- or general environment level consists of political, economic, legal, social, cultural and technological components. It includes influences outside the boundaries of the institution that is all factors external to the institution’s micro- and intermediate environments that influence the functioning of both these environments. “It is important to note that these environmental components are interdependent and that there are no absolute distinctions between them. Events in one environment can lead to changes in environments.” (Van der Waldt and Du Toit, 1999:101)
Before, public managers were expected to present good ideas about which director the state should take, to decide on courses of action or goals to be accomplished and to use their influence or control to sway the opinions and the views of the staff in that certain direction. A more modern approach indicates that the future leader will be someone who assists the organisation in understanding its needs and potential combines and formats the vision of the group and catalyses the occurrence of group action. The leader will also not just be the head, but will play out every ones roles.
Future public managers will need to be able to do certain things by utilising, among others, the following skills and abilities: leadership, deliberation and the skills associated with it viz. mediation, teamwork, negotiation and problem-solving etc. in various cultural settings; communication skills such as written, graphic, oral, technological and foreign languages; the skill of gathering, analysing and evaluating information; being able to critically (using different views and opinions), creatively (having the ability to come up with different ideas) and ethically (not infringing on anyone’s rights and moral obligations) reason; human relations i.e. dealing with staff, clients etc., which is vital for attaining success in a world that is so diverse in culture and ever changing; commit themselves to their own physical, emotional and psychological wellness, as well as that of others around them; have the ability to appreciate the human experience as being diverse which includes activities that are aesthetic and creative; display behaviour that is in accordance with the ethical principals and civic virtues normally displayed by good and responsible citizens of the immediate community, the state or province, the nation and ultimately the world; thinking critically, creatively as well as ethically; interpersonal (with themselves), intra-group (within a specific group) and inter-group (amongst different groups) skills which are important for attaining success in a world so complex; etc.
According to Fox et al. (1991) and McCurdy (1995), a public manager has to adopt some new attitudes, which go against the rigid and bureaucratic inclinations of the past. (Southern Business School, 2007:118 &119) They suggest that a public manager should become “a crusader, an organiser, a pro-active policy formulator, a social change agent, a crises manager, a humanitarian, an interest broker,” etc. for this they will need to be critical and honest about themselves and their own positions and allow personal change.