How transparent and participatory are the budgets of Metropolitan Municipalities in South Africa?
Evidence from around the world shows that when there is public participation in public finance decision making and oversight, it can lead to better policy choices, deeper public trust in government, and stronger accountability over the actual use of public money to provide services on the ground. Such participation, however, is only meaningful when the public has access to information about the government’s plans, activities and the fiscal constraints it faces.
While the national government has undergone regular budget transparency and participation assessments through the Open Budget Survey since 2006, to date there has not been a similar assessment of public finance management systems and practices for local and provincial governments. This is about to change, as the International Budget Partnership South Africa is preparing to launch a Metro OBI. The Metro OBI will complete the public finance transparency and participation picture in South Africa by assessing transparency and participation in the metropolitan municipalities (metros). Four of the eight metro municipalities will be assessed in 2018.
This paper introduces the Metro Open Budget Index and explains how the Metro OBI questionnaire was developed and how it will be implemented.