n Journal of Public Administration - The social origins of the developmental state : reflections on South Africa and its local sphere of government

Volume 42, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The developmental state in South Africa has become a matter of great concern and urgency to all practitioners at the three spheres of government. The government has, since its inception in 1994, promoted economic growth and development through a variety of mechanisms, including policy implementation and the promulgation of legislation. In the local sphere of government provision has been made for national and provincial intervention to maintain the national standards of service delivery. However, since 2004 the protests, sometime violent, against the inability of municipalities to deliver their services have increased exponentially. This article argues that realising the developmental state cannot be considered without taking into account both the social origin of the concept as well as its bureaucratic content. The spate of violent confrontations between municipalities and communities led to renewed calls for an interventionist and distributive state. However, the balance between developmentalism, interventionism and democracy has to be maintained. The new developmental state is one where equal emphasis is given to the concepts development through performance, managerial, technical and bureaucratic efficiency and effectiveness and institutional rationalisation and transformation, while maintaining the democracy which provides a voice for the poor and marginalised, protects and accrues the rights of citizens, promotes institutional separation of powers and functions, transparent decision making, accountability and effective monitoring and control.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error