Original Research

Enhancing governance through blockchain technology in the South African public sector

Beatah Sibanda, Benon Basheka, Jan van Romburgh
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 12, No 1 | a734 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v12i1.734 | © 2024 Beatah Sibanda, Benon Basheka, Jan van Romburgh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2023 | Published: 24 January 2024

About the author(s)

Beatah Sibanda, School of Accounting, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Benon Basheka, Faculty of Governance, Kabale University, Kabale, Uganda; and School of Business, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Jan van Romburgh, School of Business, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Blockchain technology can potentially enhance the efficiency and governing of the public sector. The study explored how blockchain could be instrumental in effectively governing the public sector using the Technology Acceptance Model and Diffusions of Innovations Theory as explanatory lenses.

Aim: To determine if blockchain could lead to effective governance by reporting the views of those charged with public sector governance.

Setting: The sample consisted of those charged with governance in four Gauteng provincial departments in the positions of Head of Department, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Director of Finance.

Methods: A qualitative research approach using semi-structured in-depth interviews and purposive sampling was used.

Results: Blockchain could be instrumental in curbing the current governance challenges in the South African public sector. The rapid growth in the use of blockchain by other countries, and the leveraged results thereof prompt South Africa to align. Although blockchain can potentially improve governance, the study’s findings suggest that the South African public sector may not be ready to embrace it.

Conclusion: Effective governance is critical for public sector performance. The ongoing governance challenges in the South African public sector urgently require a solution. The article suggests that blockchain technology could potentially improve the governance of the public sector evidenced by data from in-depth personal interviews despite the low willingness to accept it.

Contribution: The study contributes to the body of knowledge by provoking an intellectual debate and research on the use of blockchain technology in the public sector, which remains an under-researched topic.


Keywords

governance; blockchain technology; Auditor-General of South Africa; change management; technology acceptance model; diffusion of innovation theory.

JEL Codes

G38: Government Policy and Regulation; H10: General; H11: Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Metrics

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