n Journal of Public Administration - Administrative culture of the South African public service : a finity of transformation

Volume 50 Number 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The new democratic government in 1994 inherited the apartheid public service, which combined the so-called former "independent" states, homelands and Bantustans, which all had distinct administrative cultures. Even though genuine attempts have been made since 1994 to transform the apartheid-inherited public service, by democratising it, making it developmental, effective and accountable - changing its - the results have at best been uneven. A key part of the post-1994 transformation reforms of the public service was a strong emphasis on changing the racial make-up of the public administration, not only to make it more representative, but also to transform the racially discriminatory developmental outlook of the state. The organisational culture of the ANC, South Africa's dominant governing party, has had a strong influence on the administrative culture of the democratic public service. In the post-1994 era, some of the apartheid and Bantustan administrative cultures have been entrenched in the democratic public service and have been reinforced with undemocratic aspects of the ANC's liberation movement organisational culture, which have come to dominate the party since it took power. The article will argue that the ANC government has mostly succeeded in transforming the racial make-up, but that it has not transformed the administrative culture of the public service into one that is democratic, developmental and accountable. The inability to transform the administrative culture of South Africa's public service is the root of its poor performance. Given the ANC's dominance, to transform South Africa's public service's administrative culture, the ANC's organisational culture will also have to be overhauled.

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