n Journal of Public Administration - Network governance for service delivery : lessons from South Africa and Uganda

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



All government spheres in multi-level governance systems face challenges of co-ordination and alignment of scarce resources for the common good - while retaining their distinctiveness and independence. Within a decentralised system, the challenges of poverty and inequality require a co-ordinated response by all spheres of government, and it is considered that network governance may provide a useful model for co-ordinating a joint response to such complexity. This article examines network governance using two case studies. The first is South Africa's KwaNaloga Games, an annual sporting event run under the aegis of KwaNaloga (the KwaZulu-Natal Local Government Association) and the second is Uganda's Nutritional and Early Childhood Development Project (NECDP), which aims to improve the quality of life of children below the age of six years. The programmes are a microcosm of active network governance and their success is attributed to the role played by network governance in co-ordinating the interaction of divergent governmental and nongovernmental entities. We draw from previous research on these case studies and use document analysis to show how the various systems deal with challenges of decentralisation by drawing on bureaucratic and non-bureaucratic; formal and informal structures. We conclude that in a decentralised system, network governance can indeed contribute to service delivery amidst resource-poor units of local government - especially if there is strong and effective collaboration across the different spheres of government, the private sector, and civil society.

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