Wandile MuniEx Pty Ltd is a consultancy firm with vast expertise in the local government space in South Africa and in the Southern African region. As the Director and Chief Economist of Wandile MuniEx, you are leading a number of assignments commissioned by the Johannesburg Metro which include improving their public financial management processes and resolving local economic development challenges. Johannesburg Metro has in the past 5 year progressively shown a deterioration in the public financial management as raised by the Auditor General of South Africa’s findings. The sprawling informal sector is increasingly becoming a challenge for the City to manage, yet it employs a significant share of its citizens.
Question 1 a (12 marks)
Previous experience and current theory on local economic development has demonstrated that the power decentralization to the municipal sphere is important in managing the ineffective macro level planning approaches of the previous dispensation. Macro- and intermediate policies should guide the strategic approach, and inform the local government authorities in developing integrated development plans, programmes and projects. You are required to discuss the impact of decentralization of power to the municipal sphere on local economic development and the developmental role of the Johannesburg City.
Question 1 b (8 marks)
The local authorities are worried about the surge in service delivery protests which have, in the recent past, turned violent discouraging municipal staff and consultants to effectively render their services to the City. Give an assessment of determinants of these service delivery protests and how the city’s authorities could remedy the situation as the implementation of mainly infrastructure projects in the informal settlements is affected.
Question 2 a (12 marks)
Provide an in-depth discussion of the importance of urban socio-economic development strategies that facilitate the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) within the Metro.
Question 2 b (8 marks)
Evaluate key strategies for consideration by the municipality for sustainable urban socio-economic development that is inclusive of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) within the Metro.
It has become apparent from your engagements with community members in the metro that women involvement in local economic development still remains an afterthought. As part of the developmental agenda and reforms, your team is tasked to advice the Metro’s council to be more inclusive.
Question 3 a (10 marks)
Provide a detailed motivation focusing on women participation as a requirement for realising meaningful economic development in the City.
Question 3 b (10 marks)
Provide a detailed discussion of key policy prescriptions that will ensure a meaningful participation of women in local governance and in local economic development of the City.
Question 4 a (10 marks)
On the financial management side, the council is concerned about the deterioration in the general financial management of the Metro finances and asked for your assistance in this regard. As a starting point, provide an in-depth discussion of importance of spending reviews in the municipal budgeting process.
Question 4 b (10 marks)
To effectively discharge their oversight role, provide the newly elected council members with a detailed review of the budget process including timelines for municipalities in South Africa.
Question 5 (20 Marks)
As part of the training programme for council members on best practices, provide a detailed evaluation of the link between the vision of the Metro, integrated development plan (IDP) and the budget.
Answers to Above Questions on Municipal Finance
Answer 1: The role and implication of the centralisation of power to the municipal sphere is significant in the overall local economic development in cities like johannesburg. The major impact of the decentralisation of power on local economic development is in terms of strategic planning, as it will allow municipalities to develop their own integrated development plans.
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