n Journal of Public Administration - Complicating complexity in public administration practice within the democratic South Africa : stuck in the world of modernity

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The purpose of this paper is to put forward a conceptual debate that in as much as South Africa has transcended beyond the democratic dispensation during the 1994 transition, its state of public administration practice is still stuck in the dominant modern conception that sought to complicate the complex phenomena that came about through the philosophy of dominant rational science. It is argued that in as much as there is a need for theory for the development of Public Administration in a maturing democracy like that of South Africa, very little has been done since the dawn of democracy to engage on a theoretical discourse that would have suitably respond to the complexities that manifested themselves in practice. Such has eventually open space for the purported new democratic public administration practice to remain within the rational logic of modern discourse that sought a simplistic approach to complex problems. Consequently that opened up the practice to be invaded by practitioners from other disciplines that regard the phenomena as a common sense compatible arena. Instead complexities that accompanied the practice of public administration necessitate a need to have analysis and draw inferences beyond complicated explanations that remain dominant within modern scientific discourse. Therefore the practice of public administration is not an open for all career advancement like it is appearing to be in a democratic South Africa. The conclusion therefore is that the practice of public administration in a fragile democratic state like that of South Africa, need to be preceded by necessary acquiring of the relevant discipline of Public Administration as the arena of practice out there is complex especially if it is evolving towards a capable developmental state.

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