NWU academic recommends improvements for municipalities

Issued by North West University
North West, Jun 28, 2018

Prof David Mello, an associate professor in the subject group Public Administration and Local Government at the North-West University's (NWU's) campus in Mahikeng, delivered his inaugural lecture titled "Fusing social and human capital for optimum performance of municipalities" on 21 June 2018.

In his inaugural address, Prof Mello provided an overview of the performance of municipalities, the capacity of councillors, and the local government reform agenda. He also outlined ways in which capacity can be built by using social and human capital approaches, without spending more money on training and additional appointments.

"There should be more cooperation and sharing of lessons learned from good and bad municipalities", said Prof Mello. "Pairing a well-performing municipality in one province with an under-performing municipality elsewhere in the country would lead to the sharing of experiences and best practices. In most cases a lack of capacity is at the heart of non-performance."

In view of the arguments shared during the lecture, Prof Mello recommended that the following be done to leverage the benefits of social and human capital:

* Improve municipal databases to include skills of people who live within their areas of jurisdiction;* Establish communities of practice;* Pair under-performing municipalities with best-performing municipalities;* Initiate controlled moonlighting of people with scarce skills on a need basis;* Initiate task-specific informal voluntary advisory bodies;* Establish annual panels of expert performance reviewers;* Develop educational programmes on civic education; and* The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs should facilitate temporary staff exchanges.