Journal of Public Administration - Volume 39, Issue 1, 2004
Volumes & issues
Volume 39, Issue 1, 2004
Author C. ThornhillSource: Journal of Public Administration 39 (2004)More Less
Since its establishment in 1965 the Journal of Public Administration promoted the study of the discipline of Public Administration as well as the practice of public administration. Various issues have been devoted to debates on the raison d'être of the Discipline and what Nicholas Henry calls the locus and the focus of Public Administration. However, the proceedings of conferences and seminars were also published to publicise current issues in the public sector. The Journal has never become involved in party political debates on the quality of service delivery or on the morality of public administrative or managerial issues.
Author Jacobus S. WesselsSource: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 168 –184 (2004)More Less
This article attends the South African masquerade of scientific contributions to Public Administration, trying to distinguish contributions with true scientific spirit from ones with no scientific spirit. As these distinctive characteristics do not seem to be so obvious, this article tries to identify some of these characteristics and apply them as a password to identify the true scientific spirit behind the masks. As the author has realised that these characteristics are only of limited assistance in distinguishing the guests who deserved to be there from those who had sneaked in by virtue of their convincing masks, he starts using what Polanyi calls his skill of "tasting like a connoisseur". This allows him to "taste" the conversations of co-guests and to draw a boundary between the tastes of the conversations of those with a true scientific spirit and those with very convincing masks.
Author H. KroukampSource: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 185 –199 (2004)More Less
Traditionally, government programmes and services were for the most part delivered through government departmental organisations. Fragmentation and the lack of appropriately coordinated government services were widely considered to be costly, impeding effective and efficient government service provision. However, this is no longer the case as governments are increasingly entering into networking arrangements with more independent agencies to deliver public goods and services to improve the general welfare of inhabitants. They are going beyond contracting out the delivery of service and increasingly involving other levels / spheres of government, the private and / or the non-profitable sectors in policy formulation, planning and design and decision-making regarding how and to whom government services are delivered. Network management therefore aims to produce practices that improve the quality of life of all inhabitants.
In this article the focus is on the local government sphere in South Africa and how networking can assist them to deliver effective services in a New Partnership for Africa' Development (NEPAD) environment. NEPAD themselves can learn from this scenario to capacitate Africans to determine their own destinies.
Author C. TapscottSource: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 200 –211 (2004)More Less
There is considerable unevenness in the administrative capacities of both provincial and municipalities in South Africa. In its efforts to ensure the even transformation of South African society, the government has pursued a uniform 'one-size-fits-all' approach in its system of devolution at both provincial and local spheres. This problem is most acute at the local sphere; whilst some municipalities clearly have considerable administrative capacity, others are struggling to function. Thus, although the Constitution, 1996 makes provision for three categories of municipal government (metropolitan, district and local), these are determined largely by geographical area and demography rather than by any consideration of the administrative capacity of these structures. This, in large part, explains why so many municipalities are failing to deliver even basic public services despite the fact that they are increasingly charged with responsibility for local sphere development. While the national government's immediate response to these shortcomings has been to legislate greater powers of oversight and intervention, this article argues for a more asymmetrical devolution of power to the local sphere. Following the Spanish model of differentiated devolution, a case is made for the progressive assignment of powers to local authorities, according to demonstrated capacity. In this way, it is argued, the ideal of decentralised authority and of taking government to the people will be preserved for the long term.
Author N. SteytlerSource: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 212 –221 (2004)More Less
Metropolitan cities - large conurbations in excess of a million people that are socially and economically integrated, though not necessarily legally recognised as single political entities - are found in most federations. Four models of governance can be discerned: i) a layered government consisting of two levels of local government - a number of local authorities are joined in an overarching co-ordinating structure, but without sacrificing the existence or powers of the constituent members; ii) a conglomeration of single purpose, metropolitan-wide structures, created for public transport, pollution control, water and sewage system, fire protection and so on; iii) a unified local government structure; and iv) governance by state or provincial government, wherein metropolitan areas are kept balkanised and to a large degree the state assumes responsibility for them. Each of these governance structures presents difficulties of its own, which will be explored in this paper.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 222 –245 (2004)More Less
The responsibility of the South African government to urgently address the state of national health care places great pressure on its limited resource base, particularly against the background of its extensive portfolio of transformation priorities. These facts ensure that any approach taken in the past will be problematic and incomplete. Despite this, allegations are often made of supposed incompetence of various provincial hospitals to provide health care in line with South African Constitutional and Patients' Rights Charter imperatives.
The article reviews the evident catastrophic state of the National Health Services (NHS) from the point of view of a transforming South African public service and the ostensible concomitant improvement of public service delivery. Forging a marriage of public administration and marketing insights, the article seeks to contribute towards the alleviation of the apparent national health care dilemma in at least two ways : First, by focussing on a representative sample of hospitals in the Pretoria Metropolitan Substructure, (Gauteng Province), it defines and gauges patient expectations and the perceived performance of hospitals in relation to pertinent service encounters that have bearing on efficient public service delivery. Second, based on these and other empirical findings, the article concludes with expectation-based proposals for improvement of health care from the point of view of patients as citizens and as consumers of hospital services. The foundation principle underlying the principles articulated in the White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery (Batho Pele), viz., improved public service delivery, serves as primary motivation for the research.
Comments on : J. S. Wessels : Public Administration research ... a South African masquerade : commentsAuthor M. KirchnerSource: Journal of Public Administration 39 (2004)More Less
The author uses the metaphors of the 'masquerade' which can be decribed as a "social party composed of persons masked or costumed" and where "guests wear masks to disguise their identities" (Funk & Wagnalls, 1968). Within this context the use of the concept of 'tasting like a connoisseur' to judge the merit of the guests is applicable as long as the 'tasting' conforms to scientific criteria and does not become simply an objective opinion. The author sets out a set of objective assessment criteria which is used as the tool with which to undertake the 'tasting'.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 39, pp 247 –251 (2004)More Less
Lekgotla (assembly, dialogue) seems to fit into the debate on local management strategies that has been going on in South Africa over the past ten years. Authors like Christie, Lessem and Mbigi (Christie 1996, Lessem & Nussbaum 1996, Lessem & Mbigi 1994, Mbigi & Maree 1995, Mbigi 1997, Mbigi 2000) have published about 'African Management' and 'African Business Renaissance', whereas Koopman has written about 'transcultural management' (Koopman 1991). In these works, the authors refer to specific positive elements from 'African culture' and to traditions from African precolonial society, which fit into the popular image of collectivism. Communal meetings in an open atmosphere, where there is room for everyone to make his or her point, with the chief hearing the different points of view and then deciding on that basis, seems to be an important characteristic of the way traditional African culture is depictured in De Liefde's book. The phenomenon of ubuntu is considered crucial to this idea of lekgotla.