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Volume 52, Issue 2, 2016
Public policy, legislative oversight, intergovernmental relations and service delivery, state-owned enterprises, economic growth and socio-economic justice, and performance management : editorialAuthor Mashupye H. MaserumuleSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 182 –183 (2016)More Less
How does one theme an editorial for the edition that deals with a wide range of issues in the broader field of public affairs? It is a challenge for the editors to knit the discourse in different articles that comprise an edition of a journal into a coherent summary. However, the profundity of the discourse in a journal lies in the diversity of articles that comprise it. The articles that comprise this June edition of the Journal of Public Administration are diverse in their themes, hence an elongated titling of this editorial note. However, in their diversity, the questions that undergird the essence of their discourse can be aggregated into one: how can the state be optimised for the common good? This question is as old as the history of institutionalising social order for coexistence. Its answers are subjects of the contexts of history. In other words, answers to this question in the 20th century are not answers to the same question in the 21st century.
Author Kula I. TheletsaneSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 184 –193 (2016)More Less
The last decades have witnessed a headlong rush by most major universities in the world to become identified in someway with public policy analysis as a field of focus. The academic landscape is now dotted with new professional schools, departments and institutes specifically created to deal with this subject as well as with long-established academic units that have undergone programme reorientation. Degrees with specialisations in public policy are now offered at undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels. Several journals in policy studies have been launched, and a number of other distinguished periodicals have been regularly devoting space to this subject. This brief article can do little more than highlight the major features of policy analysis as an educational field and the myth and reality of policy analysis. It focuses on the origins of this field, the major tracks of study, the approach and content of the subject matter, the developing relationships to the public service, and some unresolved educational issues. Its consideration of the subject is as a critical overview, not necessarily a detailed analysis or reflection.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 194 –204 (2016)More Less
This article seeks to operationalise "Afrocentricity" as an alternative theoretical lens to decipher intra-African relations (Asante, 2003). Using largely qualitative and secondary data, the article primarily examines the bilateral relations between South Africa (SA) and Swaziland, thus addressing Pretoria's foreign policy position on Mbabane. The country's reaction to crises in Swaziland, since the dawn of democracy in 1994, has reflected the competing values inherent in its foreign policy principles. While SA's foreign policy clearly states a commitment to advancing the principles of good governance and democracy, this has not been the obvious case when engaging with Swaziland,an absolute monarchy. This uneasiness has raised serious epistemological and policy questions. It has even perpetuated divisions in the ruling Tripartite Alliance in SA. Despite the fact that the Congress of South AfricanTrade Unions (COSATU) perceives Swaziland as an undemocratic state, since it is ruled by a monarchy, the African National Congress (ANC) government shows no sign of withdrawal from its relations with the monarchy. The government's response to calls advocating radical change in Swaziland has been based on a principled argument of "non-interference". However, there are elements of personal ties and a rich political history of party-to-party affairs that play a critical role in determining the ANC-led government's approach to King Mswati's regime. SA appears truly committed to meaningful political reforms in Swaziland, and beyond, but its efforts have limits. These limits should be understood within the context of SA's version of "African diplomacy". The article argues that while the process of democratisation should be encouraged in Swaziland, it must also be appreciated that, to a certain extent, the Swazi monarchy represents an indigenous political and cultural heritage of Africa. The article concludes by considering Pretoria's need to secure stability and maximise long-term, economic progress, security and societal welfare with its neighbours.
Author Salim LatibSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 205 –216 (2016)More Less
Research and educational interventions that are directed at enhancing capacities for the exercise of legislative oversight have been elements of wider neglect by universities. As a consequence, capacity initiatives are driven by legislature officials who invariably have a limited understanding of the complexities and limits of educational interventions. To counter an instrumental orientation to the development of legislator capacity, this article draws on the lessons derived from a university-based programme for public representatives, to postulate a proactive approach to strengthen the demand side of governance. The experience points towards the importance of using academic reflection, and a deeper rootedness in political discourse, to shape optimal educational programmes for legislators. The key to establishing such capacity offerings are engagements with a wider knowledge of legislator performance and a willingness to take leadership in shaping interventions that balance optimality with feasibility. This requires recognising that education and training are only a part of wider capacity initiatives for enhancing the overall capabilities of legislative institutions. A key conclusion of the article is that universities can influence the trajectory of performance of oversight institutions and benefit immensely from interactions with legislators, but cannot and should not be expected to resolve structural and systemic problems that confront legislatures through singular-educational offerings.
Author Setlhomamaru DintweSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 217 –229 (2016)More Less
Audit committees have developed from a fairly marginal area of public sector activities to a publicly prominent specialism accorded considerable priority and greatly increased legislative recognition. This can be attributed to a myriad of developments such as the King I, King II and King III Reports, as well as the enactment of pieces of legislation such as the Public Finance Management Act. It is due to these developments that the measurement or assessment of the effectiveness of the audit committees becomes imperative. As part of its methodological approach, the article engages in an extensive literature review to glean information on how the audit committees are currently assessed, whether that assessment is adequate and appropriate, and how the current assessment methods can be improved to increase oversight. The information gleaned from literature has been synthesised and, through content analysis, some conclusions were reached. It is found that some of the authorities dealing with corporate governance and, particularly, the audit committees tend to prefer and propose formalisation of self-assessment as an instrument for the measurement of the effectiveness of audit committees. This includes a realisation that the other types of assessments that are more independent, and conducted by external evaluators, are not emphasised as much as they should be. The result of this analysis leads to the conclusion that a usage of a combination of assessments that are both internal and external in nature is a desired goal if the assessment of effectiveness of audit committees is to be done properly. It is imperative to contend that it is only through combined and differentiated assessment methods that it can be established whether the audit committees are capable of satisfying their role of risk management, internal control, financial reporting, corporate governance and external audit.
Author Malefetsane A. MofoloSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 230 –245 (2016)More Less
Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, the highest peak yet, with 218 service delivery protests, was recorded in 2014. The notion exists that, unless participation by members of communities is enhanced by local government and introduced in intergovernmental relations forums in South Africa, this scourge would not be mitigated. Community participation in municipalities should possess deliberative qualities. The achievement of these qualities should been sured through monitoring. To theoretically and empirically situate the contentions of this article, a literature study was conducted to identify the weaknesses around community participation in local government. At the same time, shortcomings pertaining to intergovernmental relations in South Africa, particularly in relation to service delivery, are revealed. The focus of the analysis is on the composition of the Premier's Intergovernmental Forum. The reason for this emanates from the fact that national and provincial governments share functions. However, provinces, by and large, are commissioned with the implementation of these functions within the national framework. To that effect, the implementation of provincial functions takes place in local municipalities. The literature indicates that intergovernmental relations are one of the causes of the service delivery protests experienced in South African local municipalities over the past years. It is revealed that members of a community are inclined to regard local government as the agent that should take the blame for the failures of provincial and national governments. As a result, service delivery protests are rampant in local municipalities. The article recommends a conceptual framework to serve as a guide to enhance public participation in local government and in intergovernmental relations forums. Hopefully, such conceptual framework will assist in enhancing the quality of thinking on ways and means to minimise service delivery protests in South Africa.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 246 –264 (2016)More Less
The sub-national level of government in Namibia experiences governance problems that result in poor service delivery. There is a need to strengthen governance to fast track the provision of basic services to improve the social welfare of the people. Good governance is considered fundamental to effective service delivery to the people. The article argues that the governance principle of public participation is especially critical for improving service delivery at the sub national level. Also of critical importance for effective service delivery is the improvement of governance structures at the sub-national level in Namibia, especially in the Oshana region. Service delivery can only be improved if it is brought closer to communities, through the decentralisation of powers and functions to the institutions of government that are closest to the people. However, in Namibia, basic services such as clean water, sanitation, electricity and health, are planned and delivered by central government ministries.The regional government in Namibia only plays a coordination role. The role of the sub-national level in providing basic services to communities is either minimal or nonexistent.It is also evident that basic services are not easily accessible at a sub-national level in Namibia. However, if given decision-making powers and adequate resources, regional government can accelerate service delivery. Sub-national levels of government are institutions that are closest to the people and can easily be accessible to communities. This article is based on the study that examined and explained factors that influence effective service delivery in the Oshana region of Namibia. A case study approach was adopted. A qualitative research methodology was found suitable to achieve the objectives of the study. Data was collected by undertaking a literature review, face-to-face interviews and the observation method. In this regard, both structured and semi-structured questions were used to interview selected respondents.
Prescriptions of the national development plan for state-owned enterprises in South Africa : is privatisation an option?Source: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 265 –277 (2016)More Less
This article examines the privatisation and restructuring of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and explores whether these pursuits contribute towards enhancing the capacity of the state in addressing the socio-economic inequities: reducing poverty and unemployment and extending public services to the poor in communities. At the behest of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ANC assumed neoliberal macro-economic policies such as the Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy, the New Growth Path (NGP) and the National Development Plan (NDP). In all of these the intention was said to be to address poverty, unemployment and expand access to public services. General observations, after two decades, indicate that, given their welfarist orientation, privatisation policies seem to present the government with a paradox, as they oscillate between meeting social needs and adopting neoliberal policies. From a social developmental perspective, the policies may be said to have opened up opportunities for a few connected individuals, but privatisation of Sate-Owned Enterprises has little to show in terms of benefits to the poor of post-democratic South Africa. Thus, what is described as prescriptions for the restructuring of SOEs, following the neoliberal logic, may not be enough to achieve the government's socio-economic agenda. This point is made in this article on the basis of the analysis of neoliberal privatisation and restructuring policies recommended for many developing countries and the policy framework for the restructuring of SOEs in South Africa. Their pursuit did not spawn the intended outcomes. This article concludes that the privatisation and divestiture of State-Owned Enterprises, put forward as a path to economic growth and development in South Africa, require a political and social environment, and an appropriate enabling institutional framework to assert the centrality of government in the political economy of the state. The socio-economic transformation agenda in restructuring the SOEs needs to be underscored and jealously guarded through the state's policy and institutional mechanisms. This is important to improve the lives of the poor.
Is economic growth instrumental in addressing socio-economic challenges in the post-apartheid South Africa?Source: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 278 –292 (2016)More Less
High and sustained economic growth, high employment, the equitable distribution of income and sustainable economic development are among the fundamental macro-economic objectives that countries should pursue in order to realise economic progress and the betterment of the standard of living. With respect to these macro-economic fundamentals, South Africa is considered to be a developmental state in terms of world standards and macroeconomic characteristics. South Africa is endowed with natural resources, but is still experiencing a high rate of unemployment, high levels of poverty and inequality originating from the policies of the past. Due to the high unemployment rate and low labour force participation in South Africa, poverty and inequality problems remain unresolved. This context makes it imperative to investigate the possibility of utilising the productive capacity of the economy to bail South Africa out of the daunting socioeconomic challenges facing the country. This article is triggered by the National Development Plan (NDP) and examines the contribution of economic growth in alleviating poverty and unemployment. In this article, the linkage between these fundamental objectives and economic growth is determined using the Granger causality test and correlation analysis. This statistical and econometrics methodology is useful in the sense of directing the use of scarce economic resources and for planning purposes. The findings of the analysis reveal that the correlation between economic growth and the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality is statistically insignificant. The Granger causality results show that economic growth does not significantly influence poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Author Lere AmusanSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 293 –305 (2016)More Less
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa calls for equality for every citizen in the country. However, 22 years into democracy, there are perceived injustices in the public service at all levels of government. This is laden with a plethora of interpretations as shown by the introduction of South Africa's Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Affirmative Action, where previously disadvantaged people are now employed by the government, in most cases, without meeting the relevant requirements. These developments bring techniques and tools for achieving effective human resources management into question. The same also questions all available behaviourists' paradigms of maximising the roles of bureaucrats towards development in the country. This brings into focus the need to contextualise the twin concepts of spoils and meritocracy in appointment, recruitment and promotion in government departments and parastatals. Because some people, or their families and loyalists, are believed to have contributed greatly to the political liberation of the country, they have been unduly absolved of the hierarchy of the public service, regardless of their educational qualifications and relevant experience.
Implementation of a performance management development system : the case of the provincial planning and treasury department in the Eastern Cape, South AfricaSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 306 –321 (2016)More Less
The article deals with the implementation of a performance management development system in the public sector. The focus is on the Provincial Planning and Treasury Department in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. A number of organisations are continuously searching for methods that can be used to improve performance. One such method entails implementing a performance management programme. However, despite a growing body of research that supports the positive impact that effective performance management can have on an organisation's performance, evidence suggests that organisations in South Africa and elsewhere, are not implementing the practices that are recommended by the theory of best practice in human resource and performance management (Kock, Roodt & Veldsman, 2002:83). The institutionalisation of performance management in the South African Public Service after 1994, came as a result of the need to change the legacy of poor performance of the Public Service (Malefane, 2010:1). The overall aim of this article seeks to examine the effectiveness of the implementation of performance management. The qualitative method has been used. A purposive sampling technique was used to select participants from the Provincial Planning and Treasury. The respondents were between middle and top management. The following are some of the key findings: there is no clearly defined purpose of performance management; it is ineffective in raising the performance of employees; performance management is unable to assist subordinates to grow; some feel that performance management is not a developmental tool; the current rating system does not serve its intended purpose and, therefore, it should be replaced.
Making It Happen: Selected Case Studies of Institutional Reforms in South Africa, Asad Alam, Renosi Mokate and Kathrin A Plangemann (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Mashupye H. MaserumulemSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 322 –328 (2016)More Less
Launched at a high profile panel discussion at the University of South Africa's School of Business Leadership (SBL), Making It Happen - World Bank Group's publication - is a well-organised narrative on the making of the post-apartheid state, focusing on institution building for democratic governance. Lurking in this is transformational leadership as a strategic imperative for institutional reforms. In other words, the publication is about institutional reforms as much as it is about leadership and transformation. However, the latter is not explicit in the title. The content of the publication is disaggregated into twelve chapters. Its thematic essence is self-explanatory in the subtitle, Selected Case Studies of Institutional Reforms in South Africa. Adorned with the South African flag, the dust cover of the publication is eye-catching. A salient traction for a curious reader is the blurb, Directions in Development - Public Sector Governance.
Fundamental Principles of Supply Chain Management, Samson Mbanje and Johanna Lunga (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Mphihleng P. MagoroSource: Journal of Public Administration 52, pp 329 –333 (2016)More Less
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is increasingly becoming a subject of interest, with books and journal articles written to add to the surging body of knowledge about it. This book is one of those. It is well-written; its chapters are logically arranged for a coherent discussion. It seeks to enable readers to understand how SCM impacts on all areas and processes of an organisation, and how improvements can be made in the various processes through the application of the practices it discusses. The importance of the book in the industry of knowledge lies in the fact that Supply Chain Management is becoming increasingly widespread across different industries in the public and private sectors. "Both small and large enterprises benefit from effective SCM" (p.v). As defined by Ambe and Badenhorst-Weiss (2012), SCM is "the function whereby public sector organisations acquire goods, services and development and construction projects from suppliers in the local and international market, subject to the general principles of fairness, equity, transparency, competitiveness and cost-effectiveness". It includes all those activities ranging from routine items to complex development and construction projects that support the service delivery of government entities. It is seen as one of the key mechanisms enabling government to implement policy and government's commitment to quality service. From the perspective of the public sector in South Africa, the significance of SCM is underscored in the institutionalisation of the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury (South Africa, 2015).