n Journal of Public Administration - Policy development for service delivery through community development workers programme in South Africa : exploring the implications of placing a cart before the horse

Volume 45, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The democratic government's commitment to a people centred and people driven model of development has meant that the new policies had to be (re)designed and crafted to reflect a non-racial and non-sexist society underpinned by democratic ideals and principles such as equality, social justice, transparency, accountability and good governance. Programmes at national, provincial and local sphers were spearheaded by the new government in order to balance reconstruction and development. The imperative of envisioning was based on redressing the legacy of separate development hence the reinforcement of dynamics between basic needs provision, economic growth, rigorous civil society participation and initiative and democratised state servicing the needs of all citizens (UNDP Report, 2000). Community Development Workers Programme (CDWP) was introduced as a national mandate to fast track service delivery and development in various local municipalities. The inception of CDWP in 2003 was preceded by policy development hence being regarded as placing the cart before the horse. CDWP was regarded as an alternative to conventional policy model and a panacea to service delivery backlogs. The implementation of CDWP before policy formulation however provides critical learning for practitioners while on the other hand exposes the programme to structural barriers and resource scarcity which create bottlenecks. This article undertakes a critical appraisal of a public policy model in relation to CDWP development model by making use of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analytical framework to locate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the model. It is discovered in this article that the implementation of CDWP without policy backing and direction provided a neutral ground for both community development policy makers and practitioners to reflect on their experiences which could be useful towards policy formulation on one hand. The operation of the programme on the other generated challenges such as role confusion, lack of support, financial and human resources as obstacles to the smooth running of the programme.

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