Leadership and governance have been under scrutiny and the object of debate for decades in public and private sector, as well as in Public Administration discourse in general. Such debates are fuelled by theories that seem to be embedded within Public Administration. It is because both practitioners and scholars of Public Administration continue to allude to underpinning theories, even in modern public administration, regarding bureaucracy or organisational design, decision-making, leadership, the human element in public administration, systems, policy and environmental analysis, as well as their importance in public administration. The aforementioned aspects are regarded as pillars in conceptual analysis of public administration and become useful in understanding the role of leaders in public organisations, the importance of systems to improve governance and understanding of public finance in public administration. This will in turn lead to an understanding of public financial management systems in order to ascertain whether the government departments do apply, understand and comply public financial management systems as crafted within different policy frameworks. Such a conceptual analysis of public administration is crucial to this research as it provides a fundamental theoretical framework for the study. It gives meaning to ‘public finance in public administration’ and also put the study into the context of public administration. What is to be borne in mind is that public administration does not operate in a cocoon, but is exposed to environmental factors like social, economical, political and technological factors. It is therefore significant that public servants, the leadership in particular, display a high level of ability to analyse and scrutinise such an environment because the latter has an influence on internal departmental operations, the approach to service delivery and policy frameworks in general. This research also shows that there is a shift from traditional public administration towards public management. The former is regarded to be focusing on rules, control, strict procedures and inputs instead of results (outcomes) and the latter is known for innovation in service delivery, flexibility and accountability and the promotion of managerialism. The study reveals that the South African Public Service through its reforms has adopted public ‘management’ instead of ‘administration’. Such reforms are explicitly reflected in its evolving public finance management systems that originate from the South African Constitution, 1996 and implemented by Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), 1999. It is in this context that the PFMA is observed as a model of governance in the Public Service and also used as a case study throughout the research. In explaining governance from the public finance perspective, institutions and structures that support governance are identified, integrated approach to risk management is also identified in order to support the theory of governance and its application in the Public Service. Therefore, the study analyses leadership, particularly the managerial leadership by focusing and scrutinising on senior management service (SMS) in the South African Public Service, as well as governance. The PFMA will be used as a case study by taking into account public finance management systems in the public service.
Thesis (PhD (Public Affairs))--University of Pretoria, 2007.