Journal of Public Administration - Volume 44, Issue 2, 2009
Volumes & issues
Volume 44, Issue 2, 2009
Skills deficit and development in the South African public sector : a training and development perspective, Journal of Public Administration : Special Issue, 44 (1) : pp 15-29 : erratumSource: Journal of Public Administration 44 (2009)More Less
Author C. ThornhillSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 291 –292 (2009)More Less
South Africa has had its third democratic elections on 27 April 2009. The elections have been certified free and fair by the South African Development Community's observers. It could, therefore, be argued that the so-called "democratic experiment" conducted since 1994 had been a success in South Africa. However, the real test of democracy is not only found in the election itself, but also in the events following the process.
Evidence-based policy analysis in South Africa : critical assessment of the emerging government-wide monitoring and evaluation systemAuthor F. CloeteSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 293 –311 (2009)More Less
The paradigm of evidence-based policy analysis is an increasingly popular paradigm for public policy analysis. It is still in an emerging state in South Africa. Until recently, no coherent system of systematic policy monitoring and evaluation existed in the South African Public Service. This, state of affairs, however, changed in 2006. The Presidency is currently co-ordinating the implementation of a massive implementation programme known as the Government-wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (GWM&ES). This programme is intended to establish a uniform system of monitoring and evaluation across all spheres of government, as well as including the business and voluntary sectors of South African society. If the implementation of this programme is successful it will have huge potential for the improvement of public policy outcomes and impacts in this country. Successful policy implementation, however, depends on doing the right things right. The article firstly summarises the evidence-based approach to M&E, and then assesses the nature of M&E as a higher order management function. It then summarises the emerging properties of the GWM&ES as a complex adaptive system (CAS) and critically assesses the emerging GWM&ES. Positive and negative trends in the development of the GWM&ES are also identified and assessed. The paper concludes with a summary of recommended strategies for optimal implementation of the GWM&ES in order to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness for purposes of evidence-based policy assessment.
Author P.A. BrynardSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 312 –326 (2009)More Less
The amount of time required to define a certain policy proposal, as well as the policy problem itself, is logically determined by the particular issue at hand. Issues that are complex and value-laden generally have higher and more varied levels of involvement by various stakeholders. In some instances, the courts may influence policy content and processes, which sometimes renders this complex phenomenon more shapeless and fluid. The support for, or opposition to the issues involved in the policy-making process, or even in the implementation of the policy, further shape and form the final policy to reflect differing values and ideological positions. The final policy involves an extremely complex set of interactions over time. It is therefore important to realise that successful policy-making requires democratic decision-making. Besides the elected policy-makers, the presence of an informed citizenry and self-organised groups may contribute valuable pieces to the final policy. Successful implementation of the policy again requires other critical elements like recognising citizens' expectations, participation, and continual political engagement. This article focuses on aspects of citizen engagement and relates these aspects to the child support grant in South Africa in particular. The child support grant addresses the issue of child poverty.
The South African presidential participation programme (imbizo) : a mechanism towards participatory governanceAuthor O. HartsliefSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 327 –340 (2009)More Less
The South African Presidential Participation Programme (imbizo) encapsulates an active reciprocal participatory programme through which South African citizens provide feedback on policy delivery. The imbizo, in its traditional form, has constituted an important aspect of the African political system for many centuries, especially in South Africa. It is only during the presidential term of Mr. Mbeki, the former President of the Republic of South Africa, that the concept was revived to a position of importance in the contemporary lexicon and formal governance setting. This deliberative approach is in line with the dominant discourse of alternative policy-making processes as encouraged by the United Nations in the field of public administration and management internationally. This article, explores the imbizo as a South African indigenous participatory programme, uniquely driven by the President of South Africa. It highlights the challenges and opportunities this programme offers and re-positions the imbizo in the prevailing debate on public governance.
Author R.H. NengwekhuluSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 341 –363 (2009)More Less
Two decades after the advent of a new and democratic South Africa, the exuberance that marked the dawn of a new South Africa has been replaced by growing signs of despair regarding the inability of government to provide the services that the majority of the people waited for. Whilst government has performed far much better than the pre 1994 government, poverty, poor health services, acute shortage of housing, falling education standards, etc still dog the post 1994 government. Shortage of skills has been blamed for the slow pace of service delivery, poor quality of services being rendered, etc. But whilst the shortage of skills does occupy a central position in the delivery of public service, skills shortage alone cannot however explain public service delivery inertia, other factors such as corruption, nepotism, interference in the day to day management and administration of departments by political principals, such as ministers and MECs, the Weberian organisational structures of departments, etc must also be considered. These issues must also be urgently addressed if the public service is to improve its public service delivery record.
The slavish focus on skills shortage alone will not necessarily lead to improved performance. Indeed some of the worst performers in the public service are people with impressive skills. The problem is, however, not that the country suffers a shortage of skills, but also that it suffers from the shortage of quality skills. The quality of matriculants and graduates from tertiary institutions has declined to the extent that some private sector industries are not willing to employ graduates from some universities. But the decline in the quality of skills cuts across almost all tertiary institutions. Improving public service delivery will also depend on the quality of skills of those employed to provide public services. Finally it is important to note that some services will not be provided within the foreseeable future because of resource constraints, for the public expectations always surpass national resources. More importantly also is the fact that some of the expectations cannot be achieved within the contours of a capitalist society such as South Africa, for socialist demands are not compatible with the logic and the laws that govern the essence and motion of capitalism. Improving public service delivery records will therefore require a multifaceted approach, for improving skills alone will not necessarily lead to the improvement in the performance of the public service.
Promoting a culture of learning and institutionalising a learning organisation in the South African public sectorAuthor V. GovenderSource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 364 –379 (2009)More Less
The challenge facing managers in the South African public sector is to promote a culture of continuous learning if they want their diverse employees to succeed in reaching their full potential and thereby enhance organisational effectiveness. This requires a systematic, multi-level approach to institutionalise an infrastructure for creating a learning organisation. Understanding the notion of the learning organisation provides managers and other stakeholders in the public sector with the skills to develop best practices and to sustain the learning process.
This article addresses some effective mechanisms and strategies to institutionalise a learning organisation. Various and debates on what constitutes a learning organisation are presented. The concept of a learning organisation is contextualised within an integrated and systematic framework. It is significant that a multi-level approach is required to create a learning organisation. The fundamental role of some of the building blocks required for the institutionalising of a learning organisation, are highlighted. In addition, the value of an integrative relationship between the employee, employer and the various components of the organisation is described. The role of the manager in communicating and developing a culture of learning is emphasised.
Source: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 380 –395 (2009)More Less
There has been a lively debate in the last few editions of the Journal of Public Administration. This article focuses on one of the key issues raised in the debate namely the influence of the Minnowbrook and Mount Grace conferences on the discipline of Public Administration. Both of these conferences were held in times of turbulence, Minnowbrook in the United States and Mount Grace in South Africa.
This article examines the similarities and differences between Minnowbrook and Mount Grace. The final section of the paper tries to gauges the extent of influence of Mount Grace's influence on contemporary South African Public Administration. The paper concludes that while Minnowbrook and Mount Grace have both been influential but there were crucial differences between them. Minnowbrook's major contribution was to enrich Public Administration as an academic discipline and to improve scholarship. It also appears to have had some influence on practice. Mount Grace's emphasis was on professional education and training. It has led to the enrichment of Public Administration as an academic discipline and also appears to have had some influence on practice. However Mount Grace appears to have had little impact on the development of academic scholarship in South Africa.
Community participation in the Integrated Development Plan : a case study of Govan Mbeki MunicipalitySource: Journal of Public Administration 44, pp 396 –409 (2009)More Less
In order to eradicate the legacy of the past, the South African democratic government adopted a developmental approach to local government. This necessitated a commitment on the part of local government, through the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), in facilitating community participation by finding sustainable ways of meeting their social, economic and material needs and improving their quality of life. A study of the role of community participation in the IDP process in the Govan Mbeki Municipality revealed that the community had participated in only the first of five phases of the IDP, i.e. needs identification. The study concluded that the municipality had not created an enabling environment for meaningful community participation, and had consequently limited the impact of community engagement on the IDP. Guidelines are proposed for community participation in all the phases of the IDP process.