Original Research

Modelling budget management for public service in South African Municipalities: A structural equation modelling approach

Abongile G. Zweni, Bingwen Yan, Corrie Uys
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation | Vol 3 | a73 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jolgri.v3i0.73 | © 2022 Abongile G. Zweni, Bingwen Yan, Corrie Uys | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 March 2022 | Published: 16 September 2022

About the author(s)

Abongile G. Zweni, Department if Public Administration and Governance, Faculty of Business and Management Science, Cape Peninsula, University, Cape Town, South Africa; and Department of Accounting and Economics, School of Economic and Management Sciences, Sol Plaatje University, Kimberly, South Africa
Bingwen Yan, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Corrie Uys, Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: For more than two decades, many municipalities have failed to render services effectively because of lack of competency and budget management skills to manage budgets. This has resulted in either over or under expenditure, which ultimately leads to poor service delivery.

Aim: This study aimed to develop a budget management model to improve public service in South African municipalities.

Setting: Three municipalities in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State are the areas where data were collected by researchers.

Methods: A quantitative research approach was employed and an online questionnaire was used for data collection from 261 participants in three municipalities. A structural equation modelling approach was used to develop the budget management model.

Results: The results revealed that risk management (RM), cash flow management (CFM) from employee perceptions have a positive impact on budget management; whereas CFM from general compliance with legislative consideration (LC) have a negative impact, budget planning (BP) and revenue and expenditure management (REM) have low impact on budget management for public service.

Conclusion: The study highlights the key factors (i.e. RM, BP, CFM, LC and REM) as a result of which managers at various levels fail to manage budgets effectively. The proposed model adds new insights to respond to budget management challenges. It is recommended that municipalities must improve their budget management skills for an effective public service. Findings from this study contribute to the existing body of knowledge by proposing a budget management model for public service in South Africa.


budget management; budget planning; risk management; public service; local government.


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