South Africa is a country which suffered a lot of maladministration prior to 1994 and segregation of race in the decision makings. However, 1990 represent the initial tip of departure for a turning point. The release of the former president Nelson Mandela, act as an indicative change in South African governance. In addition, the 1994 elections acted as a testimonial to these changes in governance.
As a result, the African National Congress (ANC) came to power. Their mandate was to build a nation which is non-sexist and non-racial. As a result, the Reconstruction Development Program (RDP) was introduced and it was seen as a bold step to reconciliation process.
For some reasons, it was eradicated in 1996 and replaced by the Growth, Economic and Redistribution program (GEAR). This program was introduced because it was argued that in order to have a successful redistribution process one ought to grow the economy first. This program was alleged to be initiated by the former President Thabo Mbeki who was later replaced by Jacob Zuma. As a result, South Africa has altered from the more rigid governance to a more flexible hence, a developmental state in the making which caters for any individual no matter the race, class and gender.
His administration is seen as the one pushing for a Developmental state mandate as a result, the National Development Plan was document was drafted in 2011. This document was drafted to provide a coherent planning of how the government is going to execute their mandate and what needs to improve from the current performance thus it provided some recommendations on how such task will be executed.
This article will undertake to critically discuss the five recommendations on how the South African state can improve the management and the capacity problems of its institutions. These recommendations will be drawn from Chapter 13 of the National Planning Commission’s National Development Plan drafted by the office of Presidency which is lead by the Trevor Manuel. This task will be carried out by referring to several scholars and research institutions. The recommendations are as follows:
Firstly, “There is a need to stabilise the political –administrative interface” (NDP, 2011: 4). This is the idea that the must be a precise demarcation in references to the public servants roles, responsibilities and their political powers. This will assist public service in aggressive serving interest of the government hence fulfilling the democratic mandate (Naidoo, 2011). However, this has been obstructed by the pitiable ideals since most public servants are employed on the foundation of their political affiliation. The demand for professionalism and improvement of skills can unravel this problem. One ought to note that improving skills is closely related to professionalism thus, altering the way in which the public servants are being recruited can serve as a rescue strategy. Therefore, a call for recruiting public servants in the basis of merit but not political affiliation is the way forward in ensuring effectiveness.
The circumvention of political affiliation may come handy in ensuring an adequate and efficient way of enforcement of legislation. In South African context, it would also be necessarily to avoid recruiting or employing public servants because they were in exile or not. In addition, Jay Naidoo (2010) argues that there were people who felt that they are entitled to power or seats in the government after 1994 because they perceived that exiles have contributed to the struggle and those who were not in exiles we seen as individuals who lack the ANC tradition. Getting rid of such perceptions will vital to the form a management that is capable of addressing social and economic needs. Therefore, there is a need of a strong public Service Commission in order to strengthen the recruitment procedure is based on merit not political grounds role (NDP, 2011). This will assist in ensuring that the public servants are of high calibre. However, creating monitoring bodies is crucial in the process of effectiveness and encouraging strong coordination amongst departments. Lastly, the NDP (2011) argues that the clarity on who reports on who, and who is accountable to who and what is the responsibility of each public servants especially leaders is essential. In doing so, also the promotion of decentralization of powers to the senior mangers of municipalities from higher levels of government will be will be vital (NDP, 2011).
Secondly, “Make the public service and local government careers of choice” (NDP, 2011: 9). If one were to recall Scholars such as Max Weber and Woodrow Wilson who contributed so much in the knowledge of Public Administration. Max Weber inscribed six principles of the modern system of bureaucracy. One of those factors was that an administration is a specialist occupation meaning that individuals ought to be hired or recruited on the basis of merit (Hughes, 2003). On the other hand, Woodrow Wilson (1887), well known as the father of Public administration argued that Public administration is a field of study hence; the government is the subject of study which should be formally studied in higher institutions. I addition, public servants should be separated from the political mandates.
According to Wilson (1887), if administrators act in a political manner, it unties the paths for corruption and political beneficiation. Therefore, those who make policies should be separated from those who implement them in order to construct a system of governance that allows accountability. On the other hand, Jay Naidoo (2010) argues that one of the challenges they encountered in the Mandela administration which is still a problem even now is the lack of qualified project managers due to the high rate of unskilled public servants. He argues that “across government departments rolling over form year to year funds set aside for capital projects, due to lack of management expertise” (Naidoo, 2010: 239).
However in making a Local government a career choice, it is necessarily to create a more dignified graduate recruitment pattern which will be entail the a local government career alleyway which will instigate by a robust and educational training on management within the first year of recruitment (NDP, 2011). Therefore, this will ensure that that within a local government there is satisfactory capacity to contrivance essential governmental precedence and in doing so, provide a quality basic service to communities. For this to succeed, a good management is required meaning that to current managers, they should be a training provided to improve their management skills and expertise.
Thirdly, “Develop technical and specialist professional skills” (NDP, 2011: 18). It has been highlighted in several times that many South African graduates leave the Country after they have attained their degrees which results in lack of specialist in South Africa. Many doctors take the route to Cuba after they get their degrees to attain greener pastures. As a result, documents such as the Skills Development Act were established in South Africa to simply improve the skills of the people of South Africa. This document was established to eradicate the shortage of skills in South Africa and in doing so prepare more individuals with skills by introducing programmes such as the Learnerships (NSDS iii, 2010).
According to the National Skills Development (2010), the shortage of skills is predominant in the local governments where lack of Engineers to build and maintain the infrastructure is prevailing. This is a problem for a developing country such as South Africa because without the expertise to develop, it is impractical to develop. This queries the State`s role in developing technical skills thus, a speedy respond is necessary.
In order to meet these objectives, the role of the state is to be reinforcing and developing technical skills. This is only practical with the correct strategy for training and recruitment. In addition, such mandates can be established with a cooperative paradigm among institutions of governments in a long run (NDP, 2011). The National Skills development argues that the shortage of specialist and technical in South Africa is due to the government too much dependence on outsourcing most of its duties to the private sector as a result, the need for developing skills was not seen necessary.
According to the National Development Plan (2011) it also essential to preserve professionals, those with great capability should withstand as practitioners deprived of having to dissuade to management careers. In addition, it is also over emphasized that Authority should be decentralized from high levels of government to low levels of government in order to permit line managers to yield responsibility for tasks and in doing so, gain some management experience.
While delegating power, it is also important to over emphasize the concept of accountability to promote democratic management, even the executives to be held accountable. This also means that power should not be over concentrated on one branch of government thus it should decentralized amongst the three spheres of government namely, National, provincial and Local government.
Fourthly, “Improve relations between the three spheres of government” (NDP, 2011: 23). There has been some concern about the relations between the three spheres of government namely, National, Provincial and Local government as Identified in chapter 3 off the Constitution. In Addition, These spheres of government are independent as well as ought not to exist or be perceived as hierarchical (DPLG, 2007).Consequently, “the spheres of government are distinctive, inter-related and inter-dependent” (DPLG, 2007: 9). Likewise, they are obliged to carry out their mandates according how the Constitution, laws and policies made by national Parliament stipulated.
However, there have been some concerns between these three spheres of government. According to the Intergovernmental Relations, there has been an issue of the local government being not sufficiently presented and poor communication amongst these spheres. In addition, Some Ministers don`t pitch up for meeting leaving those with lower authorities having to decide or have to postpone the meeting (DPLG, 2007). As a result, the Intergovernmental Relations was comprehended as an instrument to solve these disputes.
This instrument was established because of the emphasis the South African problem with coordination and cooperation thus, it is required to resolve those disputes among the spheres of government. In addition, this was seen as a way to solve effectiveness and performance problems among these spheres.
In contrast, Pierre de Vos (2009) argues that the government is bearing in mind the scrapping of the South African Provinces. However the opposition party DA appear dismayed about this decision even though it is still not finalised. It is a big concern for the DA since their monopolizing the Western Cape Province and if the rethinking of provinces goes through, the might lose their leadership in the province.
However, the focus is on the need to improve the performance within the existing system of governance in order to established effectiveness. According to The Foundation for development of Africa (2010), the first step in Building relations is to reconsider the one- size- fits- all approach in moving forward. This approach has to be scrapped because unalike municipalities have to cater for different social and economic settings with distinct performance intensities and sustenance necessities. As a result, their faced with different challenges thus, they cannot be functional under solitary way of doing things.
The NDP (2011) argues that there must be a clear clarity on functions ought to be carried by each spheres of government in order to fight the confusion that exist at the current moment and in doing so, the disputes will be dissolved hence relations the three spheres of government will be established.
Lastly, “The developmental potential of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs)” (NDP, 2011: 31). Pienaar and Geldenbloem (2008: 40) argue that SOEs enterprise refers to “entities owned by the state which preforms functions that no private investor would be willing to perform, either as sole share holder or majority with decisive control of enterprise”. As a result, this entities need to be developed because we are leaving in a globalised world where structures that used to in use are now obsolete. These entities are seen as tools which can contribute hugely on the South African economic and social infrastructure (NDP, 2011).
In addition, “In 2030, South Africa needs to be served by a set of efficient, financially sound and well governed SOEs that address the country`s developmental objectives in areas were neither the executive arms of government nor private enterprises are able to do so effectively” (NDP, 2011: 393). However, as it has been over stressed that the SOEs mandate has to set spotless and in doing so, promote transparency for accountability purpose (Pienaar and Geldenbloem, 2008). One concern that needs to be addressed is the capacity constraints within the SOEs and again, the clear governance structures will enable that mandate to be success and it will also halt the liability of inadequate human and financial resources. The issue of skills and a long term reliable strategy has also been over emphasized as vital above thus, their also vital in the success of the SOEs in South Africa. “In order to be effective, the SOEs must endeavour a steadiness between socio-economic goals; between collectivism in terms of the social space they occupy, and the corporate individualism”(Pienaar and Geldenbloem, 2008: 41).
These recommendations stressed too much the idea of recruitment procedure which is a good thing in fighting corruption and developing a strong management and capacity to meet social and economic goals.
In conclusion, these recommendations highlighted in the National development from Chapter 13 of the National Planning Commission are very critical to the South African government on how they can improve management and capacity of institution because to build a social and economic transformation successfully, a very strong and effective state management is a necessity.
The avoidance of political affiliation within the administration will be essentially towards creating skills and professionalism where public servants will serve the government not a certain political party. This idea of developing skills and professionalism can only be attained if the way public servants are recruited can be altered. If there can be a push for recruiting public servants base on merit basis where the public service and local government could be seen as carers of choice. While this has been established, it is an obligatory to improve relations between the three spheres of government. In addition, making responsibilities clear and decentralizing some authority is also crucial. Lastly, the main state owned enterprise (SOEs) must be provided by pure public interest obligations and straight onward authority edifices that assist them meet social objectives.
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