n Journal of Public Administration - Evidence-based policy analysis in South Africa : critical assessment of the emerging government-wide monitoring and evaluation system

Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



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.

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