By Bekezela Phakathi
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) election campaign has received a major boost from the ranking of the Western Cape as the best-run province by the South African Institute of Government Auditors (Saiga) in the 2013 Public Sector Reporting Awards.
The provincial department of agriculture was ranked the best-run department in the country for the second year in a row.
Saiga is an independent institution established in terms of the constitution. It ranks national and provincial departments on financial management based on categories such as financial performance‚ cash flow and accounting policies.
In past elections‚ the DA has tended to refer to its "track record” governing the Western Cape‚ where it has been in control since 2009‚ and it looks set to employ this strategy again going into next year’s polls.
"The Western Cape model of clean governance can be implemented in the rest of the country‚ through the ballot box‚” said DA co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesman John Steenhuisen.
"The outstanding performance by Western Cape government departments‚ as confirmed by Saiga‚ shows that with the correct management systems‚ decisive leadership and the political will‚ proper financial management of public funding is possible‚” he said.
He said the DA was campaigning to govern more provinces in 2014. "We are doing so because we believe that all of South Africa deserves clean governance and prudent management of public funding in order to improve service delivery.”
Saiga also ranked departments according to the most consistent best performers over the past three years. In this category‚ seven of the top 10 departments were in the Western Cape government: agriculture‚ transport and public works‚ environmental affairs‚ provincial parliament‚ community safety‚ health‚ and economic development. Completing the list was the national Department of Labour‚ the Free State provincial treasury and the KwaZulu-Natal department of human settlements.
Saiga executive president Dieter Gloeck said Treasury regulations and the statutory performance reporting requirements of the Public Finance Management Act provided the public with "a wealth of information not only about the financial results of the departments in an understandable format‚ but also gave a detailed account of the objectives that were set and whether these objectives were met”.
Further information that has to be disclosed includes reasons for nonperformance and actions taken to rectify the situation.
"If the financial and performance disclosure requirements are compared to those of the private sector‚ and especially listed companies that attract investments from the general public‚ it becomes clear to what extent the private-sector accountability arrangements lag behind the public sectors’. Yet the media award hardly any attention to the achievements in terms of financial reporting in the public sector‚” Gloeck said. © BDlive 2013