uShaka Marine World crisis makes the case for the professionalisation of directorship in local government —IoDSA
The recent report by the eThekwini Municipality Audit Committee on uShaka Marine World reveals that the entity is in financial trouble, and suggests various shortcomings with regards to its board of directors. These findings are important given the widespread concern over local government’s overall ability to deliver services to citizens reliably, says Parmi Natesan, CEO of the Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA).
“The eThekwini Municipality Audit Committee is to be commended for raising these concerns in respect of uShaka Marine World. Given the widespread lack of progress in achieving financial stability and acceptable levels of service delivery across the country, it seems highly likely that the same issues are affecting a number of our municipal entities,” she says. “These entities are at the coalface of service delivery and, at the end of the day, if an entity is not delivering on its mandate, its board needs to be held accountable and face the consequences.”
Ms Natesan says that the findings of the eThekwini audit report reveal several common issues experienced on boards. One of these issues is a lack of training. The IoDSA has repeatedly warned 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.
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. “This report demonstrates yet again that governance and performance go hand in hand, and that organisations are likely to fail if their boards do not have the ability to perform their duties effectively.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Stephné du Toit, 084 587 9933, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.atthatpoint.co.za
For more information on the IoDSA please visit:
LinkedIn: Institute of Directors in South Africa Company Page
Welcome to the IoDSA Newsroom.