Journal of Public Administration - Volume 37, Issue 4, 2002
Volumes & issues
Volume 37, Issue 4, 2002
Author C. ThornhillSource: Journal of Public Administration 37 (2002)More Less
The Journal of Public Administration aims at publishing contributions by academics and practitioners covering a wide variety of topics related to the public sector. These contributions are mostly topical and contain new developments in the discipline or any of the sub-disciplines of Public Administration and Management.
Public policy-making and policy analysis in South Africa amidst transformation, change and globalisation : views on participants and role players in the policy analytic procedureAuthor N.L. RouxSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 418 –437 (2002)More Less
Since 1993/4 South Africa has been characterised by comprehensive political, constitutional and socio-economic transformation and change. South Africa was also provided the opportunity to break away from the boundaries of isolation and to re-enter the global village. Reforms of such a magnitude inevitably leads to change and transformation in almost all spheres of government and administration, and consequently public policy. This in itself placed a much heavier burden on policy makers, and consequently those involved in the assessment of policies, because national policy to facilitate transformation and change, now also has to align with international global requirements and demands.
For public institutions to survive, grow productively and render quality services to the public, the ability to effectively formulate policies for change and on a continuous basis also assess or analyse such policy initiatives, is of paramount importance. This would imply that awareness, knowledge and skills are needed at all levels in order to implement sound policies and 'make change happen'. A better understanding of the public policy-making process, the stakeholders involved, as well as the role and responsibilities of those involved in policy assessment could ensure a greater degree of professionalism when public policies are formulated and the implementation of such policies considered.
Author G.S. CloeteSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 438 –452 (2002)More Less
The objective of this paper is to summarise the need for and potential applications of selected user-friendly, state of the art electronic policy decision support tools to promote more successful strategic policy decisions that in turn will improve sustainable service delivery outcomes in the public sector.
Recent international research findings on good governance indicate inter alia the following trends : a general acceptance that a strategic management approach focused on committed actions to achieve realistic implementation objectives, is needed to improve service delivery outcomes; this necessitates inter alia effective information use and management; a dramatic world-wide increase in the availability of digitised policy related data and high power capacity computer systems to manipulate that data; a resultant dramatic increase in the reliance on electronic management information systems in well developed and relatively successful policy systems to monitor, co-ordinate and implement and assess the effectiveness of policy implementation programmes, and an increasing reliance on more user-friendly and less technically complicated and more visual and command driven electronic decision support systems to optimise multi-criteria policy decision-making in order to promote effective policy implementation and service delivery.
In many developing countries, the current state of affairs with regard to the above strategic trends in more developed countries, is not good. The main problems are : frequent incidences of policy failure, attributed primarily to ineffective or bad policy implementation; weak policy implementation capacity and service delivery results; low levels of policy decision-making-related knowledge, experience and skills, especially electronics and management information systems, and low appreciation of utility and potential of such aids; information gaps and uncertainties cause a general policy paralysis which should be transformed into policy activism in order to improve policy implementation and service delivery results.
In order to improve the positive impact of public policy outputs in developing states, the success of public policy-related decisions in government need to be significantly increased. The experiences of different nations where electronic decision support tools have been used or are in use, to achieve a better success rate with public policy design and implementation, are important in this regard. Complex policy decisions with multiple policy objectives that may be contradictory, need to be prioritised in terms of different, potentially perhaps even contradictory decision criteria. The adoption and use of more user-friendly but effective electronic decision support systems will not necessarily guarantee policy and service delivery success. It is assumed that these decision aids will, however, maximise the potential for improved or more successful results if they are applied appropriately and effectively.
Elementary electronic decision support tools can be used effectively to improve the success rate of public services delivery, by increasing the nature and scope of accurate information available to inexperienced policy decision-makers about strategic choices regarding policy-related issues, problems, options, strategies, costs, benefits, risks, probabilities and/or priorities. No integrated package of this nature currently exists. If developed, it could be beneficial to public policy outcomes especially in the developing world, to expose such officials to the utility of DSS tools.
Skills training : a prerequisite for the changing position and status of public servants in South AfricaAuthor Hendri KroukampSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 453 –474 (2002)More Less
Transformation and reform brought about profound challenges and changes to service delivery in the South African government. It also confirmed global experiences that, in order to manage this process, a knowledgeable, skilful and dedicated workforce is needed. South Africa is experiencing major difficulties in this regard.
To overcome this situation, skills development to inter alia increase productivity need to be instilled in the public sector. Particular objectives are therefore set to facilitate focus and prioritisation, and pursue equity. In this endeavour, the public servant plays an important role. It is furthermore of utmost importance to attract, develop and attain capable public servants to ensure that those policies that have been formalised in policy documents, can be implemented in an efficient and effective manner.
Author Robert CameronSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 475 –491 (2002)More Less
The 1996 South African Constitution introduced an innovative intergovernmental relations system. The hierarchical apartheid intergovernmental relations system that had persisted through the interim constitutional phase was replaced by a non-hierarchical model. Reference was no longer made to levels but rather to spheres of government. The 1996 Constitution vested local government with significant functions and powers, as well as considerable functional autonomy, and circumscribed the ability of both central and provincial government to intervene at local level.
Despite this constitutional protection of local government, there are different views of decentralisation within the state. Some central government actors are committed to decentralising power to local government while others favour more centralised forms of governance. These different views are reflected in this article. It will be shown how a Department of Finance-inspired constitutional amendment in 2001 would have given central government the power to make executive and legislative policy at local sphere. This had the potential to reduce local government financial powers substantively. After concerted opposition this bill was withdrawn. A truncated version of the amendment bill was introduced in 2002, but it still has the potential to undermine local government autonomy.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 492 –506 (2002)More Less
The challenge which local authorities face entails the establishment of appropriate partnerships between communities and municipalities. Research conducted as part of Integrated Development Planning (IDP) has shown through needs assessment that social exclusion is one of the challenges to be addressed.
Social exclusion is a concept which encompasses forms of social disadvantage that people, especially in developing countries, are exposed to. It relates to most aspects of poverty and includes the broader issues associated with public participation, capacity building, empowerment and sustainable development. In this context, the lack of basic human needs is considered part of social exclusion.
This Bloekombos case - study was conducted in two settlements in a peri-urban area to determine whether communities are capable of identifying their basic needs and prioritising them; whether the provision of housing, as a basic need, to the poor helps them to overcome the stigma of being socially excluded and whether housing in this area was the most pressing need, the provision of which could lead to other development gains and therefore alleviate social exclusion.
The case-study reveals that communities are capable of prioritising their needs and expound on the reasons underlying their priorities. The findings show that the basic need for housing is one of the priorities in socially excluded communities. It is argued that public participation is crucial in the implementation of development projects and that the level of social exclusion drops with the provision of housing.
Addressing social exclusion through the housing delivery process is part of the challenge of Developmental Local Government. Integrated Development Planning (IDP) and planning partnerships between communities and municipalities will lead towards a "new" local government which establishes the "building blocks of development", i.e. public participation, - social learning, - capacity building, - empowerment and sustainability.
Comments on the Viewpoint of F.D. Deacon : "Civil Governance of South Africa's territorial waters, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf : a provincial perspective"Author F.H. SmitSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 507 –509 (2002)More Less
Before commenting on the viewpoints of the writer, it is necessary to once again consider the past trends and the future scenarios. At a first glance, reading the title, one is inclined to think "not another institution in an already bloated public service". However, in the abstract and the introduction the writer highlights the problems of coastal states set by factors such as globalization and the rapidly advancing marine technology necessitating such a step. These factors contribute to increasing exploration and exploitation of the sea. This situation calls for action by the authorities of the coastal states to address the matter of governing their adjoining seas. The writer argues that the Republic of South Africa (South Africa), a coastal state with offshore possessions has jurisdiction over vast areas of ocean and suggests a provincial type of government to govern the ocean adjacent to the South African mainland and the offshore islands.
Civil Governance of South Africa's territorial waters, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf (F. D. Deacon)
A provincial governance perspective : commentsAuthor E.J. Van RooyenSource: Journal of Public Administration 37, pp 510 –511 (2002)More Less
The viewpoint in which the author expressed some comments on the necessity to restructure and improve sea-governance in South Africa and the region, explores an important yet neglected aspect of public administration. South Africa is partly encompassed by a substantial coastline. The strategic global positioning of the Country and its coastline renders it an important role-player in international affairs. It is after all the reason why the Dutch East India Company decided to establish a halfway station in the Cape in 1652. The considerations that applied in 1652 are even more apposite within the present reality of international trade, global terror and crime, and information and communications technology!