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Policy implementation is a critical stage in the policymaking process. It is about putting public policy into action. It becomes more challenging to implement policies in a multi-organisational context. This research aims to uncover the different aspects of policy implementation in a multi-organisational context. The Free Basic Water Policy is analysed in particular the financial implication of providing free basic water as a basic service in municipalities. In establishing the distribution of basic services it is important that the understanding of local governance in post-apartheid South Africa is elaborated upon. Hence this study is one of local governance and financial implications to providing free basic water to local citizens in general and to indigents in particular.
The municipality chosen as a case study is Msunduzi municipality. This municipality has undergone some challenges in terms of their fiscal management. This in turn impacts their ability to deliver basic services. This study argues that policy implementation in a multi-organisational context should look into understanding the structure of an organisation and the processes therein to help explain the challenges that occur in policy implementation.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) inaugurated a new system of governance that is decentralised, which recognises the importance of government at local levels. A decentralised system of governance allows for local government to be more responsive and accountable to the people at local levels. Other government legislation such as the Local Government Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998) recognises local government as a sphere that is important for democracy, development and nation-building in the Republic of South Africa. It is also an essential sphere of government that should encourage public participation and engagement in matters of local government.
It is the Constitution that distinguishes local government as a sphere that is independent and gives it the responsibility to provide basic services to all citizens. But the responsibility of providing basic services, such as water, does not solely depend on local government. There are other agencies either public or private that are involved in the delivery of basic services at different levels of government.
According to the regulatory framework for local government in South Africa, municipalities are expected to carry out their responsibilities, but no specifications are made as to how they should go about carrying out these responsibilities. Hence municipalities implement their policies at the discretion of the municipal council. The aim of this research is to identify and examine how this function is implemented at the Msunduzi Municipality. It will further analyse the challenges in policy implementation that Msunduzi municipality experiences in delivering free basic water to indigent people.
1.2 Scope for Study
This is a study of local governance in a South African context. More particularly, it is an analysis of the provision of free basic water because the provision of water as a municipal service is not the same as the provision of other services such as electricity or sanitation. Hero (1986: 662) states that even in one jurisdiction the distribution of one service is not the same as that of other services.
1.3 Theoretical Framework
According to Hall (cited in Parsons, 1995: 333) a theoretical analysis of 'institutions/organisations refer to an analysis of the formal rules, compliance procedure, and operating practices that structure the relationship between individuals and various units of the polity and economy'. It is stated by various authors, including O'Toole (1993), that most failure of policies is attributed to the implementation process. It is for this reason that this research is informed by literature on policy implementation in a multi-organisational context. It is the work of Parsons (1995) and Hill and Hupe (2002) that informs this research on aspects of policy implementation. For example, Parsons (1995: 462) recognizes that "implementation is a study of change, how it is made and induced". Authors such as Montjoy and O'Toole (1979) and Menzel (1987) allude that organisations, not individuals, are responsible for implementing policies. Hence the research gives a brief background to organisational theory. It is in the context of organisations that policy implementation in a multi-organisational context is discussed. O'Toole and Montjoy (1984) recognised that in most cases policy implementation relies on collaboration between two or more organisations, this is referred to as multi-organisational implementation. The idea brought forward by these theorists is that policy implementation tends to be challenging when more than one organisation is involved.
Brinkerhoff and Crosby (2002) allude to the importance of coordination in cases of multi-organisational policy implementation. They indicate that policy implementation requires some kind of coordination if it is to be successful. Likewise, O'Toole and Montjoy (1984) emphasize the importance of coordination and cooperation under conditions which are either 'pooled, sequential or reciprocal' that exists in organisations. Schermerhorn (1975) indicates that organisations will be motivated to work together if they face conditions of scarce resources, if cooperation will lead to positive value and if authority enforces coordination.
McLaughlin (1987) also stated that policy implementation is not linear. Challenges that occur are mainly due to scarcity of resources, lack of coordination and cooperation. Policy implementation is therefore not a straight-forward process.
1.4 Research Problem and Objectives
The provision of municipal services in developing countries is important, however the USAID (2006:1) has reported that such provision of municipal services is inadequate in the developing countries because in most cases municipalities are not financed adequately. Many municipalities lack the ability to raise their own revenue and rely on intergovernmental transfers. The financial aspect in municipalities is vital as it determines the functioning of the municipality. This financial aspect of municipal services is mostly about municipal revenue and expenditures. According to USAID (2006) revenue refers to the sources of income that are available to a municipality and expenditure refers to the costs that the municipality incurred during the process of providing services. Normally it is expected that the revenue should be able to cover expenditures.
The objectives of this study are:
To give an overview of the regulatory framework for local governance in South Africa.
To determine the structural and administrative configuration of the Msunduzi municipality with specific reference to the provision of free basic water.
To consider the financial implications of the Free Basic Water policy on the Msunduzi municipality.
To consider the organisational challenges associated with the provision of free basic water.
This study has adopted a descriptive research approach. Hero (1986: 659) suggests that such an approach is useful when studying urban service delivery. He indicates that descriptive research can provide knowledge that is revealing and significant about urban bureaucratic decision processes and urban governance in general. Hero (1986: 659) also suggests that the findings of comprehensive descriptive studies have produced useful knowledge about local governance issues. He also points out that research on local governance and urban services should consider how urban service delivery takes place, who provides these services, and how they are financed (Hero, 1986: 659). This study undertook to do this.
This study started by establishing a conceptual framework for policy implementation analysis. This was done through a literature review of secondary sources on policy analysis. Secondly, a background study on local government in a post-apartheid South Africa was undertaken. This was done by consulting national and local government legislation and policy documents. Thereafter, the respective case study focused on the Msunduzi municipality. Minutes of meetings of the Msunduzi municipality's portfolio committees together with the Msunduzi municipality's Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Annual Reports were analysed in order to establish the respective management structures and processes.
1.6 Structure of Thesis
The thesis is divided into five chapters which are distinguished as follows:
Chapter One: This is the introduction to thesis which explains the background to the study, objectives and introduces the content of the thesis.
Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework
This chapter explains the theoretical framework of policy implementation in a multi-organisational context. It explains the nature of policy implementation and the difficulties that can be encountered when more than one organisation is involved. It elaborates on the importance of resources, cooperation and coordination in the process of implementation as identified by different theorists.
Chapter Three: Local Government in Post-Apartheid South Africa
This chapter explains in more detail the need for, roles and functions of local government in South Africa. It explains the role of local government in basic service delivery. The focus is on the delivery of free basic services, in particular free basic water to indigent households. The chapter also briefly analyses the financial aspect of cost recovery in local government.
Chapter Four: The Msunduzi Municipality: A Case Study
This chapter gives insight into the political and administrative configuration of the Msunduzi municipality. The chapter argues that Msunduzi is a municipality where the mandate to deliver basic services to a large community with little resources and lack of financial management is troublesome. This has led to severe consequence implementation challenges, including the municipality being put under provincial administration.
Chapter Five: Findings and Analysis
This chapter will present the findings and analysis. It will also conclude the study and reflect on the challenges facing implementation of policy in multi-organisational contexts.
CHAPTER 2 Policy Implementation in an Organisational Context
The chapter conceptualizes the terms policy and public policy. Then a discussion of the policy process will follow. It will illustrate that the process is complex and, at times, chaotic. The chapter will unpack two contending approaches to policy implementation: the top-down notion of policy implementation and the counter arguments of the bottom-up approach of policy implementation.
The main focus of the chapter is to analyse policy implementation in an organisational setting. It will be argued that public policies are rarely the domain of a single organisation, but take place in multi-organisational contexts.
2.2 Public Policy
According to Friend et al (cited in Mtshali, 2006: 12), a policy is a "stance that one articulates which contributes to the context within which a succession of future decisions would be made". Heclo (cited in Parsons 1995: 13) argues that "to suggest that there is general agreement on anything is to don a crimson in the bullpen, but policy is one term on which there seems to be certain amount of definitional agreement". According to Heclo (cited in Kay, 2006: 10) "the term policy is usually considered to apply to something bigger than particular decisions but smaller than general social movements. In terms of level analysis, it is a concept placed roughly in the middle range. A second and essential element in most writers' use of the term is 'purposiveness' of some kind". Anderson (cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 5) for example, views policy as "[A] purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors in dealing with a problem or matter of concern ... Public policies are those policies developed by governmental bodies and officials". In the above definition it is gathered that policy is about means and ends related to one another (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 5).
Puentes-Markides (2007: 4) highlights three definitions of public policy. According to Cochran and Malone (cited in Puentes-Markides, 2007: 4) public policy involves making of political decisions for implementing programs to achieve societal goals. Secondly Birkland (cited in Puentes-Markides, 2007: 4) indicates that public policy is "a statement by government of what it intends to do or not to do, such as law, a regulation, a ruling, a decision, an order or a combination of these". Lastly, Peters (cited in Puentes-Markides, 2007: 4) states that public policy is the "the sum of government activities, whether acting directly or through agents, as it has an influence on the life of citizens".
Public policies communicate objectives, principles, strategies and rules of decisions used by government administration and legislation (Puentes-Markides, 2007: 11). According to Parsons (1995: 3) the "idea of public policy has to do with the spheres that are designated as 'public' as opposed to those which involves the idea of private". He argues that the idea of public policy presupposes that there is a sphere of life which is not private or purely individual, but held in common. Public policy is a "purposeful, goal-oriented action that is taken by government to deal with societal problems. Public policy involves many participants such as public actors (executive, legislative branch and the courts), private actors such as interest groups and citizens" (Volkomer, 2006).
Despite agreements on the concept of policy, Parsons (1995: 13) notes that there are differences about whether policy is more than intended courses of action. He indicates that a policy may be something that is not intended but carried out in the practice of implementation.
2.3 The Policy Cycle
The policy-making process is often analysed according to the policy cycle model. According to Hill and Hupe (2002: 5) the literature on public policy frequently speak of stages or phases of the policy process. Willard and Creech (2008: 4) state that the general public tends to believe that policy-making is a rational, linear process. This perspective alludes that policies develop through a series of consecutive steps and various members of the policy community will be involved in each step (Willard and Creech, 2008: 4). Anderson (cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 167) views the policy process as a sequential pattern which involves a number of functional categories of activities that can be analytically distinguished. This framework of policy analysis has been referred to as the "textbook approach" by Nakamura (1987) and as "stages heuristics" by Sabatier (1999) and other writers (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 168).
Some theorists, such as Hill and Hupe (2002), argue that there is a need to impose a conceptual order on the policy process in order to comprehend it. This, they argue, can be done by identifying different stages of the policy process, as stages heuristics. The sequential model of the policy process has been attractive for policy analysts because it enables analysts to assess how political systems respond to policy problems. This model of analysis allows analysts to make links between institutions which otherwise would be studied in a formal legalistic manner. Since the sequential method corresponds to many human and natural processes, it is intuitively appealing for policy analysts (John, 1998: 23). The policy cycle analysis approach is most helpful to journalists, bureaucrats and politicians because of its attractiveness of clarity (John, 1998: 24). Hill and Hupe (2002: 168) argue that the stages heuristics approach supplies analysts and/or participants with insight into their own positions in the process and also provides clues as to how to act. It gives sense, direction and legitimation to the actions that actors at different positions are expected to carry out in the policy process.
According to Sutton (cited in Willard and Creech (2008: 4) there are six stages in the policy making process. These will be briefly discussed, but some reflection on the inherent limitations of each stage will be highlighted:
According to Sutton (cited in Willard and Creech (2008: 4) problem recognition is a stage where problems that may potentially make their way to the public policy agenda are recognized.
Policy problems that are recognized and deemed worthy of attention are placed on the government's policy-making agenda. The agenda-setting process narrows the set of subjects or problems to the set that actually become the focus of attention. According to Kingdon (1995: 3) the agenda is a list of subjects or problems to which government officials, and people outside government closely associated with those officials, are paying some serious attention at any given time.
Once the need for a policy is recognised, and gains agenda status, various policy proposals or alternatives are crafted to address the problem. According to Puentes-Markides (2007: 14), policy formulation refers to the crafting of alternatives or options for dealing with a problem. Howlett and Ramesh (2003) note that policy formulation is a process of defining, considering, and accepting or rejecting (policy) options. Jans (2007: 16) notes that this stage is technical-rational and it is a competitive stage in the policy-making process.
Policy Adoption/ Decision-Making
This is the policy-making stage where an official policy is agreed upon and adopted. During this stage decisions are taken on which policy proposals or alternatives will be put into action. Forester (1984: 23) notes that decisions are considered to be taken in a rational manner. This is referred to as the rational comprehensive approach. This approach, however, assumes that: decision-makers have a well-defined problem; there is a full array of alternatives to consider; full baseline information is available; there is full knowledge of consequences of alternatives and preferences of citizens; as well as that adequate time, skills and resources are available.
However, Simon and March (cited in Forester, 1984: 24) argue that in reality, decision-makers are faced with ambiguous and poorly defined problems; incomplete information about alternatives; incomplete information about range and content of values and interests. Under these conditions, rationality is limited. This is referred to as bounded rationality. According to Jan (2007: 21) decision-makers 'do what they can', and the decision-making process is therefore incremental. Lindblom (1979: 79) argues that incremental decisions are to be preferred as they are less radical and ambitious. It also allows for policy measures to be tested and adjusted as they are implemented. He argues that decision-making occurs "step by step, piecemeal, through trial and error" (Lindblom, 1979: 79).
Once a public policy has been officially agreed upon, it is put into action or implemented. According to Pressman and Wildavsky (1984) implementation requires perfect co-operations. They further argue that careful implementation design is the key to successful policy implementation. This is often referred to as the top-down approach to implementation (and will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter). Lipsky (1980) on the other hand argues that policy is made as it is being implemented, it is therefore bottom-up. Lipsky (1989: xii) states that decisions of public servants (which he calls street-level bureaucrats), "the routines they establish and the devices they invent to cope with uncertainties and work under pressures, effectively become the public policies they carry out".
Policy Analysis and Evaluation
The sixth and final stage of the policy-making process is when implemented policy is analysed and evaluated against the initial policy decision. Howlett and Ramesh (2003) argue that policy evaluation is the stage of the policy process at which it is determined how a public policy has actually fared in action. According to Rubin (1995: 29) evaluation is a tool for learning and to enable better management. In most cases evaluation is used to assess what has taken place so that future work can be improved.
The notion of a policy cycle emerges since policy is regarded as a never-ending process, and that policy analysis and evaluation will raise new issues, and the policy cycle starts again.
The policy cycle has been both lauded and criticized by various theorists for how it captures (or fails to capture) the policy-making process. According to John (1998: 23) the policy process is a complex and, at times, a chaotic process. Hogwood and Gunn (cited in John, 1998: 26), for example, argue that policy-making is marked or differentiated by a series of feedbacks and loops. That is, events that occur later on in the sequence can influence decisions made at an earlier stage. This indicates that policy formulation is affected by the earlier attempts to solve problems that are similar and implementation problems cause decision makers to start again and to reformulate the policy (John, 1998: 26).
The chapter now examines the literature on policy implementation, since the study is an analysis of some of the implementation challenges facing the Msunduzi Municipality.
2.4 Policy Implementation
Implementation is a "study of change, that is, how change occurs, how it may be induced; it is also a study of the micro-structure of political life, meaning, it looks at how organisations inside and outside the political system conduct their affairs and interact with one another" (Parsons, 1995: 461). Mazmanian and Sabatier (1983: 20-21) define implementation as "the carrying out of a basic policy decision, usually incorporated in a statute but which can also take the form of important executive orders or court decisions. Ideally, that decision identifies the problem(s) to be addressed, stipulates the objective(s) to be pursued, and in a variety of ways, 'structures' the implementation process". Policy implementation is thus about the process of change and putting into action decisions made to address certain problems or issues through policy.
2.4.1 The Top-Down Approach to Policy Implementation
The founding fathers of implementation studies as it is acknowledged in most of the policy implementation literature are Pressman and Wildvsky (cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 41). Their publication in 1973 (Implementation: How Great Expectations In Washington Are Dashed In Oakland) analysed the implementation of a federal state programme for economic development in Oakland (California, USA). It concluded that successful policy implementation depends upon linkages between different organisations and departments at the local level (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 44). The essence of their study was that the mistakes of the National Economic Development Administration would serve as an example to other policy-makers in realising that implementation requires a top-down system of control and communication and resources to do the job, furthermore, to alert decision-makers that they should not promise what they cannot deliver (Parsons, 1995: 464).
Pressman and Wildavsky's work takes a rational model approach. According to this approach, policy is about setting goals and taking steps towards implementing these. This approach is also referred to as the top-down approach. Implementation research is concerned with what makes the achievement of these goals difficult (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 44). Parsons (1995: 465) refers to the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the stated policy goals while identifying what makes the achievement ideal type of implementation.
Another influential writer on the top-down approach of implementation is Bardach. In his book, The Implementation Game (1977) Bardach (cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 48) suggested that implementation processes can be perceived as involving 'games'. Bardach (cited in Parsons, 1995: 470) argues that implementation is a game of "bargaining, persuasion and maneuvering under conditions of uncertainty". Implementation actors are seen as those who are playing to win as much control as possible and trying to achieve their own objectives and goals hence implementation is another form of politics which occurs within the domain of unelected power (Parsons, 1995: 471). He offers two sets of recommendations for those that are in authority or on 'top'. Firstly, that those in authority need to undertake a scenario writing process so as to structure the games in the right way to achieve outcomes that are desired. Secondly, attention needs to be given by those in authority to "fixing the game" (Bardach cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 48).
Hogwood and Gunn (cited in Hill and Hupe, 2002: 51) are two other theorists that propose a top-down approach to policy implementation. They provide ten recommendations which, according to them, sets out conditions necessary to realize implementation (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 51). Their recommendations to policy-makers are that they should ensure that:
Circumstances external to the implementing agency do not impose crippling constraints.
Adequate time and sufficient resources are made available to the programme.
Not only are there no constraints in terms of overall resources but also that, each stage in the implementation process, the required combination of resources is actually available.
The policy to be implemented is based upon a valid theory of cause and effect.
The relationship between cause and effect is direct and that there are few, if any, intervening links.
There is a single implementing agency that need not depend upon other agencies for success, or, if other agencies must be involved, that the dependency relationships are minimal in number and importance.
There is complete understanding of, and agreement upon the objectives to be achieved, and that these conditions persist throughout the implementation process.
In moving towards agreed objectives it is possible to specify, in complete detail and perfect sequence, the tasks to be performed by each participant.
There is perfect communication among, and co-ordination of the various elements involved in the programme.
Those in authority can demand and obtain perfect obedience (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 50-51).
In view of the above assumption, it can be said that "the top-down approach in its application of a rational model is diffused by ideas that implementation is about getting people to do what they are told, and keeping control over a sequence of stages in a system" (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 82). It is also about developing programmes of control which help reduce non-alignment and non-conformity to goals that were set at the policy hypothesis stage (Parsons, 1995: 466).
A critique of the rational model is that it puts too much emphasis on the definition of goals by those at the top, therefore making it a top-down approach and it is criticised for not taking into account the role of other actors in the implementation process (Parsons, 1995: 467).A counter approach to the top-down is that of the bottom-up approach.
2.4.2 The Bottom-Up Approach to Policy Implementation
Lipsky is regarded as one of the bottom-up approach to policy implementation's biggest advocate. He conducted an analysis of the behaviour of public servants (whom Lipsky calls street-level bureaucrats) during their implementation of public policy (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 51). Lipsky (1980: xii) found that, due to the limitations of their work environment, street-level bureaucrats have to invent modes of mass processing policies in order for them to deal with the public fairly and successfully. Street-level bureaucrats also face uncertainty about personal resources that are necessary for their jobs and they also have to make decisions about scarce resources under pressure (Lipsky, 1980: 29). The result is that they end up giving in to favouritism, stereotyping and routinising which serves private or agency purposes. The mechanisms they establish and routines they adopt, become the public policy they carry out (Lipsky, 1980: xii). Hill and Hupe (2002: 52) further note that the process of street-level policymaking induces practices that enable officials to cope with the pressures they face.
Implementation to Lipsky is about street-level bureaucrats with service ideals exercising discretion under intolerable pressures. Therefore attempts to control these workers hierarchically will simply increase their tendency to stereotype and disregard the needs of other clients (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 53). Hence there is a need for different approaches to secure accountability of implementers (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 53).
Elmore (cited in Parsons, 1995: 468) argues that policy is best implemented by what he terms the "backward mapping" of problems, and that policy should define success in human or behavioural terms rather than as the completion of a set of hypotheses. He defines backward mapping as "backward reasoning from the individual and organizational choices that are the hub of the problem to which policy is addressed, to the rules, procedures and structures that have the closest proximity to those choices, to the policy instruments available to effect those things and hence to feasible policy objectives" (Elmore, cited in Parsons, 1995: 468). Hill and Hupe (2002: 58) note that the backward mapping approach has been appreciated by other writers not only as a methodology for analysis but as something recommended for policy development in practice.
The bottom-up approach to policy implementation emphasises the significance of the relationship between policy-makers and policy deliverers. The bottom-up model sees the policy process as one that involves negotiations and consensus-building (Parsons, 1995: 469). These processes involve two environments which are (i) the management skills and cultures of the organisations involved in implementing public policy and (ii) the political environments wherein they operate (Parsons, 1995: 469).
What can be gathered from the above discussion of the two dominant approaches to policy implementation is that top-down approach theorists show themselves in support of a representative regime and the consistent execution of choices made by political leaders (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 173). Furthermore, they view implementation as a matter of assembling action in support of the intentions and orders of political leaders hence their primary focus is on issues of compliance and monitoring (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 173). Contrary to the top-down approach, the bottom-up theorists support policy contribution of actors that is not under the supervision of political principals (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 173). Bottom-up theorists aim to "mobilize the energies of different stakeholders in making sensible choices in concealing problem solving around a complex context-specific and dynamic policy issue" (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 173). Hence their primary focus is on innovation, collaboration and creativity (Hill and Hupe, 2002: 173).
An important aspect of the policy implementation process is that it is complex and highly interactive as Brinkerhoff and Crosby (2002: 6) have mentioned. Similarly this characteristic of policy implementation can be found in the literature on policy networks such as that of Kickert, Klijn and Koppenjan. They state that "policy is made in complex interaction processes between a large number of actors which take place within networks of independent actors" (Kickert et al, 1997: 139). Because of this, policy implementation calls for consensus building, the participation of key stakeholders, conflict resolution, and compromise (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 6).
Having discussed the two approaches, this paper now focuses on implementation in a multi-organisational context.
2.6 Policy Implementation in a Multi-Organisational Context
Montjoy and O'Toole (1979: 465) indicate that many studies have highlighted the difficulty of translating public policy into required action. Most of these difficulties occur mainly during the policy implementation stage. Menzel (1987: 3) argues that it is commonly believed that policy failure is mostly a function of implementation failure. Montjoy and O'Toole (1979: 465) highlight that government programs are often implemented by different organisations and different departments within organisations simultaneously; therefore they conceptualise implementation as an organisational problem. Menzel (1987: 7) indicates that organisations are the primary vehicles through which policies are implemented. Elmore (cited in Menzel, 1987: 7) adds to the above by stating that "understanding organizations is essential to the analysis of implementation...only by understanding how organizations work can we understand how policies are shaped in the process of implementation". It can be stated therefore that an improved understanding of organisations goes in hand with an improved understanding of implementation.
According to Khalil (1995: 445) organisations can comprise a number of different departments and institutions within one organisation or across different organisations, each of these with their own preferences and objectives. Galaskiewicz (1985: 282) indicates that these are viewed as competitive actors, each striving to achieve their own goals.
Most of the literature on organisations was developed by the 'classical' school and had been directed to two areas. The first area is scientific management. In this area, organisation theorists, such as Taylor and Gilbreth, brought much precision into the analysis of management and reorganisation of routine tasks (Tosi, 2009: 93). The second area is the administrative management school of thought. Writers of this school of thought were generally concerned with the most effective way to organise tasks into jobs - jobs into administrative units - these units into larger units, and to minimise the cost of performing these tasks (Tosi, 2009: 93).
March and Simon (cited in Tosi, 2009) argued that the classical organisational theories above were limited. They viewed organisations as a system of interrelated social behaviours of a number of participants. They argue that individuals are faced with two decisions about organisations. The first is the decision to participate and the second is the decision to produce (March and Simon cited in Tosi, 2009: 93). According to March and Simon (cited in Tosi, 2009: 95) the decision to participate is based on a concept of organisation equilibrium, which refers to the balance of payments to members for their continued participation and contribution to the organisation. The decision to produce is a "function of the character of, and the perceived consequences of, the evoked set of alternatives that emerge from the cues perceived from the environment, both internal and external to the organisation that are then weighed against the individual's goals and values" (March and Simon, cited in Tosi, 2009: 96).
According to Davis and Marquis (2005: 333) March and Simon's theory on organisations had the prospects to establish a single paradigm. The field of organisational analysis could address the problem of understanding organisations in general into "sub-problems amenable to discrete pieces of research which can aggregate back into a grand theory of organizations". Lawrence and Lorsch's work (cited in Davis and Marquis, 2005: 333) prescribes a more contingent model of organisations. The contingency approach to the study of organisations relates structural attributes to various features of organisational context (O'Toole, 1993: 233). It also suggests that "policy objectives are more likely to be achieved if the structures employed for implementation mesh with the policy objectives being sought" (O'Toole, 1993: 232).
According to O'Toole and Montjoy (1984: 492) policy implementation often relies on the collaboration between two or more agencies or organisations. O'Toole (1986) refers to this as multi-organisational implementation. O'Toole and Montjoy (1984: 492) point out that implementation becomes difficult if there are many organisations involved. They argue that organisations are not only required to act but they must do so in a coordinated fashion (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 492). The argument they present is that the more organisations are involved in the implementation of a policy, the less specificity there will be in mandates. As a result of less specificity between organisations, authority is rarely summoned for securing cooperation. "In the absence of any formal authority, it is more likely that there will be little coordinated effort, unless the policy being implemented closely matches the goals of the organizations" (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 492).
O'Toole (1986: 182) notes that implementation in a multi-organisational environment (or multi-organisational implementation) becomes the rule and not the exception in dense policy spaces and for complicated and often cross-cutting public problems. It is also prominent in political systems where power and authority are shared among several institutions and agencies.
Menzel (1987: 7) argues that there can be no single organisational theory that can fully capture the complexity of the policy implementation process. There are distinctive external (or inter-organisational) and internal (or intra-organisational) characteristics that influence policy implementation. Menzel (1987: 8) identifies a number of inter- and intra-organisational characteristics:
"Organisations are dependent on other organisations for things such as resources, status and authority.
Organisations are often not self-directed, meaning that decisions and courses of action are mainly determined by the organisational environment.
Organisations are involved in a constant struggle for autonomy and discretion and they engage in substantial efforts to create or avoid dependency on other organisations".
Thompson (cited in O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 493) develops a typology that aims to explain the interdependencies that exist between organisations. In this respect he identifies three possible types of interdependencies namely (i) pooled, (ii) sequential and (iii) reciprocal. Pooled interdependence happens when organisations involved are asked to provide their own contributions but do not have to deal with one another in doing so (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 493). Sequential interdependence occurs when the output of one organisation is the input of another and reciprocal interdependence occurs if two organisations each possess contingencies for the other (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 493).
Schmidt and Kochan (1977: 220) identify two competing approaches that have emerged in the study of implementation in a multi-organisational environment. They mention the exchange approach and the power-dependency approach which have developed in parallel paths. Sociologists have been very sensitive to the issues of power dependence in organisational transactions which are considered central in the case of resource procurement and allocation (Galaskiewicz, 1985: 282). A prevailing reason for the establishment of multi-organisational relationships has been that of accessing additional materials, products or revenue (Galaskiewicz, 1985: 282).
Thompson's argument emphasises the importance of coordination and cooperation in implementation activities in a multi-organisational environment. O'Toole and Montjoy's (1984: 495) argue that multi-organisational implementation will be difficult due to added constraints and scarcity of cooperation. Specificity of mandates may be lost or absent during implementation and monitoring may also be weak. According to O'Toole and Montjoy (1984: 495) resources that are needed for implementation may be underestimated by policy-makers.
Coordination is a term that is called upon for a solution to implementation problems (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 118). "If a policy is uncoordinated this means that its elements are not congruent, or that they do not interact smoothly to produce the desired results" (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 118). Policy issues increasingly require certain types of coordination among the relevant actors and the coordination varies in accordance to the type of policy problem being addressed (O'Toole, 1993: 234). Similarly O'Toole and Montjoy (1979: 465) note that mandates that require participation from more than one organisation (or units within different organisations) can create a situation where traditional institutional tools for coordination are no longer controlled by a single actor. O'Toole and Monjoy (1984: 493) discuss the notion of pooled interdependence that occurs when two or more organisations implement the same policy with very little or no coordination. Such arrangements tend to produce disappointing results as none of the organisations spend any resources on coordination efforts, especially if coordination requires one or more organisations to alter their routines (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 493). In situations of sequential interdependence, one of the ways that relationships get established can be through spontaneous coordination. This happens when one unit has an incentive to produce an output for the use by another unit but has no concern as to how this other unit will use that output. In this case, implementation is said to be rapid but the policy-maker will give up much control over the final use of funds (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 494).
Likewise, if there is reciprocal interdependence, organisations may need to mutually adjust their activities in order to align policy implementation with each other, which may raise substantial difficulties for coordination (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 494). Implementation under such circumstances may include uncertainty among organisations. However it may also enable the greatest organisational adaptation to policy (O'Toole and Montjoy, 1984: 495). O'Toole and Montjoy (1984: 495) caution that reciprocal interdependencies, due to high coordination cost, may cause breakdowns or delays in implementation and that the advantages of this approach may therefore not be well appreciated.
Brinkerhoff and Crosby (2002: 119) note that one way to think about coordination is in terms of three activities namely, (i) information sharing, (ii) resource sharing and (iii) joint action. Information sharing is about communication. It refers to organisations letting others know what they are doing through reports, public hearings, meetings and so on (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 119). Resource sharing means that resources controlled by one organisation can be allocated to another for particular reasons. Examples of resource sharing are loans, grants, contracts, knowledge, motivation and commitment and so on (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 119). Joint action can involve two or more organisations undertaking some activities together, either sequentially, reciprocally or simultaneously. This could include planning, data gathering or service delivery (Brinkerhoff and Crosby, 2002: 119).
Schermerhorn (1975: 848) identifies three motivators for coordination and cooperation.
Gaining Access to Resources
"Organizations will seek out or be receptive to inter-organizational cooperation when faced with situations of resource scarcity or performance distress" (Schermerhorn, 1975: 848). In other words, organisations will be drawn towards inter-organisational cooperation where there is a need to gain access to unavailable resources or free internal resources for alternative use (Schermerhorn, 1975: 848). In the literature on policy implementation, access to adequate resources has been noted as one of the important factors that contribute to policy success or failure. According to Meter and Van Horn (cited in Menzel, 1987: 5) one of the reasons why policies fail, is the lack of resources. They argue that inadequate resources can hamper implementation and can cause policy failure (Menzel, 1987: 6). It is fairly clear that access to resources is regarded as crucial by various writers for policy implementation. O'Toole and Montjoy (1984: 492) also posit that in the absence of resources very little action can be expected from organisations entrusted with the role of implementation.
Cooperation Leading to Positive Value
"Organizations will seek out or be receptive to inter-organizational cooperation when "cooperation" per se takes on a positive value" (Schermerhorn, 1975: 848). According to Schermerhorn (1975: 846) cooperation within and among organisations is increasingly being regarded as beneficial and worth encouraging. Evan and Guetzkow (cited in Schermerhorn, 1975: 846) indicate that value expectancy, (or creating the feeling that cooperation is a good thing to do) may push organisations to undertake cooperative activities. Evan (cited in Schermerhorn, 1975: 846) supposes that the "value factor functions through the cues of positive normative and comparative reference points". Other writers like Reid (cited in Schermerhorn, 1975: 848) note the value inducement argument by giving the example of the health and welfare case. This is where "organizations could collaborate, for example, to minimize overlap in functions because of the shared commitment to work toward a rational system of community services" (Schermerhorn, 1975: 848-9). Hence extra or additional organisational value inducing the feeling that cooperation is good may motivate organisations to cooperate.
Authority Enforcing Coordination
"Organizations will seek out or be receptive to inter-organizational cooperation when a powerful extra-organizational force demands this activity" (Schermerhorn, 1975: 848). Demands from those in authority may also be a potential motivator for cooperation and coordination (Schermerhorn, 1975: 849). Those in power may demand the establishment of formal coordination and cooperation structures.
In conclusion, this chapter has shown that policy implementation is not a straightforward process Rather, implementation takes place in a "fluid setting"â€¦ its iterative every action leads to something else (McLaughlin, 1987: 174). McLaughlin (1987: 175) has noted that the implementation process continuously creates a new reality and changes the system, creating indirect effects. As a result, policy is transformed and adapts to conditions of the different implementing unit (McLaughlin, 1987: 175). This chapter has argued that an analysis of policy implementation should also be about analysing how organisations are structured, and how/why they interact with one another.
CHAPTER 3 Local Governance in Post-Apartheid South Africa
This chapter provides a background to local government with specific reference to South Africa. It establishes the legal framework for local government and identifies local government's roles and responsibilities with regards to providing basic services, with specific reference to free basic water.
3.2 Local Government in General
According to Kalin (1998: 46) in most instances central government has been unable to provide local citizens with services adequately to enable them to improve their living situations. This is mainly due to geographical and psychological distance of central government from local citizens. Kalin (1998: 47) indicates that the geographical distance causes central government to be unaware of local problems and needs. Kalin (1998: 48) further argues that psychological distance is a reason for failure of central government because the services that central government provides in some instances are not services that are needed immediately by local citizens, hence people do not feel any ownership in the activities or services being provided, but rather services are imposed on local citizens (Kalin, 1998: 48).
In order to address the shortcomings of central government, Kalin (1998: 48) notes that decentralisation has been a response. According to Litvack et al (1998: 4) decentralisation brings in a political and economic transformation of government in any given state. The transformation that occurs enables local demands to be heard and brings the political and economic systems closer to the people. For a clearer understanding of the concept of decentralization Litvack et al (1998: 4) distinguish between deconcentration, devolution and delegation which are types of decentralisation. Deconcentration occurs when central government allocates some of its responsibilities to its other branches without any authority being transferred for the responsibilities allocated (Litvack et al, 1998: 4). Delegation occurs when responsibility for decision-making and administration of public functions is transferred to local government. Devolution means central government transfers authority for decision-making, finance and management to units of local government (Litvack et al, 1998: 6).
Turner and Hulme (1997: 156) state that decentralisation can be helpful in that it can assist countries to move from being poor to be more developed. These authors cite six benefits of democratic decentralisation namely (i) political education (ii) training in political leadership (iii) political stability (iv) political equality (v) accountability and (vi) responsiveness. The first four points emphasise the importance of political decentralisation. Turner and Hulme (1997: 157) argue that accountability can be improved because local citizens have better proximity to local government and hence they can be able to hold the representatives accountable for the policies and outcomes. Responsiveness can be improved because local government has better knowledge of local needs and can respond to those needs effectively and efficiently.
Diamond (1999: 121) identifies five ways in which local government can enhance democracy. Firstly, democratic values and skills of local citizens are developed through introduction of local government. Secondly, accountability and responsiveness is improved, this enables local government to attend to local concerns and needs. Thirdly, democracy is enhanced as local government provides channels of access to power for groups that were previously marginalised. Fourthly, local government provides a mechanism of checks and balances of power at the centre. Lastly, local government creates opportunities for parties and factions in opposition to exercise some measure of political power (Diamond, 1999: 122).
According to Havenga (2002: 50) local government is important for the process of democratisation and promotes public participation in the decision-making process. In fact, local government is regarded as important to the extent that "political systems are deemed incomplete if local government is absent (Havenga, 2002: 50). It is regarded as the cornerstone in the structure of a democratic political system" (Havenga, 2002: 50). The most ideal type of decentralisation as identified by Turner and Hulme (1997: 159) is devolution which combines the promise of local democracy and technical efficiency. A devolved local government, according to Turner and Hulme (1997: 160) should have the following features:
It should be a local body that is constitutionally separate from central government and responsible for a range of significant local services.
It should have its own treasury, budget and accounts along with the substantial authority to raise its own revenue.
It should employ its own competent staff who it can hire, fire and promote.
It should have a majority elected council, operating on party lines, should decide policy and determine internal procedures.
Central government administration should serve purely as external advisors and inspectors and have no role within the local authority.
According to Havenga (2002: 50), there are two purposes of local government. The first purpose is to "provide administration in the supply of goods and services to local communities. The second purpose is to represent and involve citizens in the identification of public needs and to determine how these local needs can be met" (Havenga, 2002: 50).
Local government can be instrumental in influencing the public to participate in active and political engagements. This further allows people to recognise the usefulness of local government and their role in decision-making (Havenga, 2002: 59). Local government can provide a platform for political leadership to emerge. Havenga (2002: 59) notes that participating in local government politics allows local councillors the opportunity to gain more experience in the political system.
According to the literature on local government, local government is deemed important because it fosters accountability and responsiveness on government representatives at local levels. A decentralised body is "more accessible, more sympathetic and quicker to respond to local needs" (Kalin, 1998: 50). It is more accessible than a very distant central government (Kalin, 1998: 53).
Local Government in South Africa
The White Paper on Local Government (1998: 12) outlines the settlement patterns, trends and racial segregation as a result of local government under apartheid. It is stated that even before apartheid began, there was already segregation which was a policy introduced in the late 1940s. One of the instrumental pieces of apartheid legislation on local government was the Group Areas Act (Act 41 of 1950). This Act imposed residential separation which involved the moving of black people to "own areas" (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 12). The system used to separate black people from white people in urban areas was the "pass system". Moreover the Group Areas Act (Act 41 of 1950) ensured that the white areas had enough revenue base, this was ensured by separating townships and industrial and commercial development (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 12).
According to the White Paper on Local Government (1998: 12) attempts were made to ensure that black residents have their own way to manage their structures in the Bantustans and in townships. The changes that occurred as highlighted in the White Paper on Local Government (1998: 12) were as follows:
"In bantustans, limited local government was established. Traditional leaders were given powers over land allocation and development matters in areas with communally owned land. Some small rural townships (the so-called "R293 towns") were given their own administrations, but these lacked real powers.
In the 1960s, "Coloured" and "Indian" management committees were established as advisory bodies to white municipalities.
The Bantu Affairs Administration Act of 1971 established appointed Administration Boards, which removed responsibility for townships from white municipalities.
In 1977, Community Councils were introduced. Community Councils were elected bodies, but had no meaningful powers and few resources. They never gained political credibility.
In 1982 Black Local Authorities replaced Community Councils. Black Local Authorities had no significant revenue base, and were seen as politically illegitimate from the start. They were rejected by popular (and sometimes violent) community mobilisation in the mid-1980s".
The White Paper on Local Government (1998: 12) notes that in white municipal areas there was enough revenue which came from the many economic resources to tax. Financial challenges were eminent among the black municipalities which did not have enough resources to meet local needs of residents (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 13). As an attempt to increase revenue in black townships, the local authorities increased rent and service charges. Many citizens were not happy about this attempt. According to The White Paper on Local Government (1998: 13) the charges that were going to be exerted on citizens in townships would have never been able to generate a meaningful revenue that was going to provide better service delivery. This resulted in the uprising in the mid-1980s against Black Local Authorities (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 14)
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (2004: 8) in the period of 1980s, there was an uprising in Soweto which revealed the anger of many black people against the apartheid system. This uprising was as a result of social and economic conditions in townships and Bantustans (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 13). By the period of 1983, Coloureds and Indians were given representation in parliament but blacks were still excluded (Department of Foreign Affairs: 2004: 8). By 1989, the government realized that it could not ignore the demands for political rights from blacks (Department of Foreign Affairs: 2004: 8). The crisis brought a collapse of the apartheid local government system and the reform process in national government started in the 1990s (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 13).
The Local Government Negotiating Forum was the main platform where the national debate took place with regards to the future of local government (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 13). "This forum framed an agreement on the Finances and Services Writing off Areas to Black Local Authorities and also negotiated the Local Government Transitional Act 209 of 1993" (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 13).
The local government system under a democratic government is free of racism. This was administered through The Local Government Transition Act (Act 209 of 1993) through the amalgamation of former racially based structures (White Paper on Local Government, 1998: 14). The first democratic elections were held in 1994, where the African National Congress (ANC) won the elections. Part of the mandate of the ANC was to redress the poverty and inequality of the apartheid regime (Hoffman, 2007: 2).
The Legislative Framework for Local Government in South Africa
The Constitution of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) (hereafter referred to as the Constitution) recognizes three distinctive, interdependent and interrelated levels of government namely, national, provincial and local. These three spheres are mandated to act cooperatively in preserving peace, national unity, and indivisibility of the Republic and in securing the well-being of the people (Section 40-41). To ensure good and effective governance in each sphere of government, principles of co-operative government and intergovernmental relations are provided for in Chapter 3 of the Constitution.
Local government in South Africa consists of municipalities, which span the whole of South Africa. According to the Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) a municipality is defined as an "organ of the state within the local sphere of government exercising legislative and executive authority within an area determined in terms of the Municipal Demarcations Act" (Act 27 of 1998). Section 155 of the Constitution identifies three types of municipalities namely category A, category B and category C municipalities. Category A municipalities has exclusive municipal executive and legislative authority in their municipal area. (These are also referred to as metropolitan municipalities). Category B municipalities (or local municipalities) share executive and legislative authority in its area with Category C (or district municipalities) within whose area it falls. Category C municipalities have executive and legislative municipal authority in an area that excludes more than one municipality. South Africa currently has a total of 284 municipalities grouped in the three categories. Of these municipalities only six are Category A (Tshwane, Durban, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela, and Cape Town), 231 being Category B and a total of 47 classified as Category C municipalities.
A municipality has overall authority in respect of the local government matters listed in Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution (see Appendix 1), and over certain matters assigned to it by national or provincial government.
The Constitution also identifies the roles and functions of local government. According to Section 152 the objectives of local government are as follows:
to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
to promote social and economic development;
to promote a safe and healthy environment; and
to encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in the matters of local government.
Municipalities also have a developmental duty. For example, municipalities are instructed to "structure and manage its administration, budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the needs of the community. They must also promote social and economic development of their community" (Section 153-155 of the Constitution).
The White Paper on Local Government (1998: 37) defines developmental local government as "government who is committed to working within the community to find ways to meet their social, economic and material needs and improve the quality of their lives". Developmental local government must encourage municipalities to address issues of poverty, unemployment and redistribution in their respective areas (DPLG, 2003: 2). The White Paper on Local Government (1998: 38) further states that powers and functions of local government should be exercised in a way that has a maximum impact on the social development of communities, in particular meeting the basic needs of the poor and on the growth of local economy.
The Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) in chapter 5, Section 23 (1) and (2) encourages for municipal planning to be development oriented. According to the Act, a municipality also enjoys authority over a series of functions and undertakings outlined in the Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) such as:
developing and adopting policies, plans, strategies and programmes, including setting targets for delivery;
promoting and undertaking development;
establishing and maintaining an administration;
administering and regulating its internal affairs and the local government affairs of the local community.
The Municipal Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998) in the Preamble state that local government is important for democracy, development and nation-building in South Africa. Local government is seen as essential for ensuring "sustainable, effective and efficient municipal services, for promoting social and economic development and encouraging a safe and healthy environment by working with communities in building environments and human settlements that are safe to lead and uplift dignified lives" (Preamble, Act 117 of 1998).
3.5 Local Government and the Provision of Basic Service
Local government is expected to provide basic services to the community. According to Hemson (2004: 6) basic services that are to be provided by municipalities include water, sanitation, local roads, stormwater drainage, refuse collection and electricity. The provision of basic services to the poor citizens is both a constitutional and a social necessity for society in the post-apartheid era (Hemson, 2004: 6). This is important for alleviati