Budgetary planning and expenditure control processes at public Universities in Gauteng, South Africa

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Marx, Magaretha
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Vaal University of Technology
Efficient planning and effective budget and cost control are key to the financial survival of universities in South Africa. Given the #FeesMustFall, students and their parents, starting in 2018, no longer contribute to the development of new infrastructure, payroll expenditure, maintenance and other daily operational expenses of public universities in South Africa. A new funding model for higher education calls for even stricter planning and allocation of budgets to departments within an institution of higher education. Evenly important, stricter control over the actual spending of these allocated funds needs improved planning and implementation of more effective policies and procedures to answer to the needs of the post #FeesMustFall funding model. Public universities will then be even more greatly funded by taxpayer’s money via government grants. There is this constant factor of the current situation of the South African economy, which will always bring the need for best possible use of scarce resources of funds. To eliminate the abuse of funds and elements of corruption, internal control strategies and systematic automation of controls need to be employed and even more rigorously enforced. The current phenomenon of different political parties’ that interfere with autonomous public universities to use #FeesMustFall and free education as a political “play-ball” is in full swing. These political structures and unions will in all probability have a huge impact, largely on the principals and methods used to plan an annual budget and the procurement policies and procedures of operational needs and on the expenditure control in public universities in South Africa. This study investigates the budgetary planning processes and expenditure control in universities in Gauteng, South Africa. This research is done by means of a detailed empirical study of the budgeting processes, cost and expenditure control processes, procedures followed and the internal control mechanisms at some universities in Gauteng. The empirical study was conducted with public universities in Gauteng and applicable research online questionnaire were used to analyse. The primary objective of this empirical study was to investigate what budget model and budgetary processes and principles regarding decision making to allocate budgets to specific allocations in the budget. Furthermore, the research study investigated how cost management and expenditure are controlled and how internal control mechanisms are applied in higher education institutions that formed part of this study. This study investigated the manner in which the budgets for annual expenditure are planned and how the internal controls are employed to ensure effective control over expenditure at public universities in Gauteng, South Africa. This research is supported by a literature study into the role of higher education in South Africa, the different controlling bodies in South African Higher Education, funding of South African public universities, budgetary planning and earmarked spending, procurement and expenditure control and reporting by universities in South Africa.
M. Tech. (Department of Accountancy, Faculty of Management Sciences) Vaal University of Technology.
Effective budgeting, Department of Higher Education, #FeesMustFall, Expenditure control, Budgeting, Budgetary planning, Virement, Budget models