Obey Mlauzi and BA
The focus of this paper was to analyse the effectiveness of financial management in Rural District Councils in Matabeleland South Province in Zimbabwe. The study was provoked by continuous complaints from various stakeholders concerning poor service delivery coupled with lack of transparency in local authorities. The main objective of the study was to establish factors leading to mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds in local authorities. The study was carried in seven Rural District Councils in Matabeleland South Province. A sample of fifty (50) respondents was the target of the study. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research was used. Questionnaires, interviews and document inspection were the research instruments utilised to gather the required information. Interviews were used to collect information from councilors and stakeholders. Interviews were also used to compliment the findings from the questionnaire instrument’s shortfall. The finding of the study revealed that there was poor service delivery by most Rural District Councils, an inefficient and outdated method of revenue collection. The study also revealed that there was a bottleneck system in revenue approvals and high staff turnover due to poor remuneration and poor working conditions. In light of the findings, it was recommended that local authorities should devise an appropriate and properly integrated accounting system. It was further recommended that local authorities should put in place financial supervision and control by management by means of budgetary control and regular reports and returns.