Ethekwini Municipality Audit Committee Report makes the case for directorship professionalisation in local government —IoDSA
Concern over local government’s overall ability to reliably deliver services to citizens has been strengthened by findings in a report by the Ethekwini Municipality, which raises concerns over board member appointment processes, inductions and ongoing training at two of its municipal entities.
These findings align to common issues that we have identified over several years of performing board evaluations and governance advisory services in the public sector.
The IoDSA has repeatedly spoken out in the media and in commentary to government that directors need specialised training in governance and other directorial skills in order to discharge their duties properly, and that these specialist skills need to be kept up to date via rigorous continuous professional development.
“Municipal entities in general are at the coalface of service delivery and, at the end of the day, if any entity is not delivering on its mandate, its board needs to be held accountable and face the consequences,” says Natesan.
The IoDSA currently trains more than 6 000 directors and prospective directors annually, and has introduced two professional designations—Chartered Director (SA) and Certified Director (SA). These designations provide a credible framework that enables directors to acquire the necessary skills through training, prove them through certification, and then maintain them through continuous professional development.
“The question of specialist skills also speaks to the whole nomination process, which we have found to be a challenge, particularly in the public sector. Too often, appointments are made on political or other inappropriate grounds, thus effectively setting the organisation up for failure,” Ms Natesan says.
She argues that board nominations need to be the result of a formal and robust process conducted by an independent and qualified nominations committee that undertakes the necessary due diligence on each candidate.
“It’s vital that only individuals who have the knowledge, skills and experience that the organisation requires are put forward. In addition, candidates should also enough time to discharge their board commitments, and lack of conflicts of interest,” she says.
NOTE TO EDITOR
This media release replaces one issued on 29 June 2021 entitled uShaka Marine World crisis makes the case for the professionalisation of directorship in local government, which was based on a published news article.
The IoDSA has since received the Ethekwini Municipality Audit Committee report and has revised the media release.
The original media release was not intended as findings or judgments by the IoDSA on uShaka Marine World, as may have been perceived. The comments were intended to be informative and general in nature, based on best practice in governance as informed by years of conducting board evaluations and governance advisory projects.
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