Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering
On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
KAISER, G N and SMALLWOOD, J J. Towards a systems thinking approach in allocating infrastructure budgets in local government. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.56, n.1, pp. 93-99. ISSN 2309-8775.
Legislation, systems and processes provide a rigid framework within which local government operates. In a perfect world, perfect information would result in perfect decisions. However, the world is chaotic, people are far from perfect, and priorities vie for resources, as is evidenced through the social inequality and environmental degradation in society. A common way of managing complexity is to break complex processes into manageable portions. In doing so, the advantage of integration is often lost. Furthermore, silo thinking tends to yield duplication, often through localised efficiencies at the cost of overall value. System thinking can be employed to facilitate a constructive, creative space that has potential to evolve in the presence of intuitive trust, combined with a framework with which to measure and verify against. The City of Cape Town serves as example of a local authority grappling with allocation of resources in a manner which is fair and efficient in fulfilling its electoral mandate.