The literature on oversight provides various approaches that have been used to measure oversight effectiveness. They include inferring oversight from the quality of governance, equating it with the presence of oversight activities as well as equating it with oversight capacity. However all these approaches are problematic as they wrongly consider oversight to be unidimensional. As a result they tend to produce measures that are too general and vague to provide a meaningful assessment of oversight effectiveness. It is in this context that this paper identifies the structural elements of oversight and goes on to contend that since oversight is a multifaceted activity a more appropriate way to measure its effectiveness must assess how effective an oversight activity is in performing a specific function. We finally argue that parliaments/parliamentarians are more likely to effectively perform their oversight function if they believe their actions will be rewarded by the electorate.
- legislative oversight,
- South Africa,
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