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December 2003

A decade of democracy: South Africa in review — Part One

A decade of democracy: South Africa in review — Part One imageDavid Everatt reviews the 10 years since the democratic general election of 1994. Part 1 of this 4 part series.


In early 2003, South African President Thabo Mbeki presented the annual State of the Nation address in which he declared: "the tide has turned". The currency was strong, GDP stood at 3.1% and the economy had grown every year in the preceding decade. Debt was down and savings were up. "Our task", Mbeki told the nation, ‘is to take this tide at the flood, further to progress towards the achievement of the goals for which so many of our people sacrificed’. A few weeks later Finance Minister Trevor Manuel made his budget speech in which he raised social spending, cut taxes and promised greater support for programmes in key areas including skills development, land restitution and job creation.

The critics, however, present a very different picture, sharing to a greater or lesser degree hostility towards government's neo-liberal economic policies, its stance on HIV/AIDS and the provision of anti-retroviral therapy, centralising tendencies ascribed to the Presidency and personality defects ascribed to the President himself. There was talk of the African National Congress (ANC) having sold out its revolutionary ideals, dropping its (supposed) support for socialism in favour of enrichment for a tiny black elite and cosying up to local and international capital at the expense of the working class and rural poor. The 'demobilisation' of civil society is blamed for leaving the political playing field to the ANC with no real opposition in sight; and in its place 'social movements' are eagerly looked to as the source of popular opposition. (Social movements will be discussed in more detail in Part Three.)

Since the democratic general election of 1994, commentators have veered between describing South Africa either as a 'miracle' — the triumph of common sense over prejudice, where visionary leadership steered the country away from an apocalyptic race war into the global capitalist order; or as an elite sell-out by conservative nationalists, largely drawn from formerly exiled ANC leaders, intent on developing the national bourgeoisie rather than promoting the interests of the working class.
Truth, one suspects, may be found in the messy reality that lies somewhere between the 'miracle' and the 'sell-out', both of which have an element of truth but neither of which gives a very broad or accurate picture.

Crisis? What crisis?

Commentators at either end of the spectrum have one thing in common — the frequency with which they identify crises, whether economic, social, health-related, governance-related, in foreign policy, or among national and party leadership. The removal of apartheid was, for South Africa, 'the end of a history', but it seems also to have wiped historical memories clear. Contemporary analysis is seldom balanced with an assessment of the massive challenges facing the country in 1994 or the gains made since then. As the 10th anniversary of the 1994 democratic general election approaches, these tendencies are likely to reappear in newspapers and books. Few recall that South Africa, just a decade ago, was on the brink of cataclysmic events such as occurred in Rwanda, Yugoslavia and the Middle East.

Rustow Dankwart makes the point that democratic evolution is neither a steady, nor a linear process. South Africa in 2003 is a vibrant, exciting, and challenging place. Every issue — from regulating plastic bags to poverty — is fought with passion and zeal, the energy of the anti-apartheid struggle is still seen in communities, NGOs and others, and South Africans (and the South African media) swing between demanding perfection to crying crisis with scarcely any space between the two poles.
It may be useful to note that democratic transitions are not uniform processes involving the same actors, strategies, issues or periods of consolidation. It took Britain just under 400 years to manage its transition to liberal democracy. Sweden began the process in 1890 and took another 30 years before the process settled. At the aftermath of Ireland's independence from the United Kingdom, the country was underdeveloped, and through a variety of policy options it is now poised to become the third largest economy in Europe, a process which has taken around 80 years. The lesson for South Africa is clear: a decade is little more than a step in the overall history of the country.

South Africa is a complex society, with a damaged past and an uncertain but positive future, constrained by local and global forces but bursting with vitality — and paradoxes. Advances in one area are undercut in another. Rights are extended to all citizens, yet women remain economically and socially subordinate. Fractiousness pervades social relations, yet integration has permeated every aspect of South African life. Non-racialism is a national goal, but race-based measures are put in place to achieve it. There are no clear markers that will inform South Africa when 'transition' and 'transformation' end and signal the onset of the normal. Tensions, challenges and problems exist, but they do so alongside the very real possibility that South Africa can take the democratic project further than thought possible anywhere in the world.

The ANC came to power in 1994 with 62.7% of the vote, and Nelson Mandela became President. The ANC election manifesto, The Reconstruction and Development Programme, was premised on creating a better life for all South Africans, with particular emphasis on the poor. The second democratic election in 1999 saw the ANC increase its majority and embark on its second term under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki who had been Deputy President under Mandela after spending most of his life in exile. Despite its increased majority, the ANC was aware of mounting pressure to deliver on promises of a better life for all. With the struggle for political freedom realised in the first democratic election and cemented with the adoption of the Constitution, government focused on delivery.

Reflecting the new emphasis on delivery, the Programme of Action announced by President Mbeki at the opening of Parliament in 2000 contained the following:

  • building a nation united in action for change
  • moving to a faster job-creating economic growth path
  • investing in human resources
  • more effective, integrated and efficient government
  • rural development and urban renewal
  • eradicating poverty and broadening access to social services
  • fighting crime and corruption, and
  • African recovery.

The period immediately after the 2000 State of the Nation address was marked by economic austerity; government implemented a financial strategy based on tight fiscal discipline but the economy shed formal sector jobs and failed to attract significant foreign direct investment (for more on the economy, see Part Two). The tripartite alliance that is made up of the ANC and the more left-leaning Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and South African Communist Party (SACP) was beset by disputes over economic policy, which soon spilled over into the public arena.

By 2003, however, the economy was growing and social spending rose, and in his State of the Nation address, Mbeki highlighted the following "necessary realistic tasks" for the year ahead:

  • expanded service provision
  • improvements in public service efficiency
  • increased social and economic investment
  • black economic empowerment
  • attention to human resources development to help reduce unemployment
  • improving the criminal justice system
  • moral renewal
  • expanding relations with the rest of the world
  • accelerating formulation and implementation of the first NEPAD projects ; and
  • advancing the African Union agenda.

The Constitution

One of the most important achievements during the ANC's first term in power was the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in 1996. The South Africa that emerged from the negotiation process, and which is enshrined in the Constitution, is a sovereign, democratic state founded on the following values:

  • human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms
  • non-racialism and non-sexism
  • supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law
  • universal adult suffrage, a national common voters' roll, regular elections, and a multi-party system of democratic government, to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.

The Constitution is considered one of the most progressive in the world, and enshrines a wide range of socio-economic rights. The vast majority of South Africans accept the legitimacy of the constitution-making process and the Constitution itself, and more and more activists now use legal mechanisms in the struggle to realise socio-economic rights. For example, commenting on a landmark judgement in the Constitutional Court in a case between the Treatment Action Campaign and government, Geoff Budlender of the Legal Resources Centre noted that:

"… the case also illustrates just why social and economic rights are essential in a country such as ours. Rich people do not require these rights. They can afford what they need… Social and economic rights are poor people's rights. They balance the constitutional protection of existing rights with the obligation on the state to transform our country so that the basic needs of all its people are met. They compel the government to keep its focus on the most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged... In a constitutional democracy, the exercise of all power is accountable. The exercise of all public power must conform to the Constitution…"


From 1994 onwards, a number of factors defined and drove South Africa's political culture, particularly the following:

  • a transition from the zero-sum political environment to one of negotiation and mutual accommodation
  • the public emergence of an imaginative cadre of political leadership across the political spectrum
  • the management and alteration of the stalemate and the balance of power
  • the emergence and management of confidence-building mechanisms
  • an essential attribute of leadership, at both macro and micro level, became the management of difficult trade-offs
  • the emerging human rights culture combined with the weakening of the justice system.

The ANC — regardless of its former image and status — is a social democratic party, which has become the custodian of liberal values. The New National Party has shifted from a custodian of apartheid values to a Christian democratic party. The Democratic Alliance still contains a liberal core, and is simultaneously the only mainstream party trusted by the right wing. At the level of public office South Africa is ruled by an ANC-SACP-IFP-NNP coalition government — put another way, communists, socialists, liberals, traditionalists and monarchists are all working together in government. A further important point to note is that "the electorate, one-fifth of whom are illiterate, show mature voting behaviour that is another source of democratic consolidation and stability."

The ANC and democracy

While there is no doubt that the ANC will win the 2004 general election, it is unclear whether it will increase its share of the vote from that of 1999, a strong possibility given the fracturing of the opposition and the failure of the DA to attract African voters.

Three aspects of ANC practice merit mention for their impact on democracy.

  • The generation of ANC leaders of the 1950s and 1960s has retired by choice, with the current top leadership drawn from the 1970s and 1980s generations — in contrast with Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF and Namibia's SWAPO party, which are still led by their founders, after 40 and 43 years respectively.
  • South Africa boasts three ex-Presidents still alive, honoured with high pensions and paid body-guards. This is normal in the old industrial democracies, but still rare in Africa. Two of the three retired leaders presided during the apartheid era.
  • The third factor relates to the voting behaviour of ANC grassroots membership. The National Executive Committee of the ANC is elected by secret ballot on a one branch, one vote basis. The overwhelming majority of voting conference delegates tend to be Africans in their 20s or 30s. At the 1994 and 1997 national conferences, the top ten NEC members, with the highest number of votes, included a significant number of white and Indian leaders, disproportionate to the country's demography, and markedly disproportionate to the percentage of ANC members from those groups. This suggests that the ANC core takes non-racialism seriously, and avoids ethnic or racial bloc voting.

It is likely that in a second ANC term, the focus on meeting basic needs will continue — government has already committed itself to an Expanded Public Works Programme and similar measures seeking to create short-term employment and provide useful infrastructure. However, government cannot continue to build roads and dams and initiate development projects, and other interventions are required, where direct foreign investment increases, and job creation becomes a reality. The government's Skills Development Strategy has provided skills training to over 15% of all workers in just 2-3 years. It has been accompanied, however, by rising unemployment and widening inequality (to be discussed in more detail in Part Two) and for government to significantly change this, South Africa must be taken to a new economic and developmental plane within a decade.


South Africa is a multi-party democratic state with a progressive Constitution, and general knowledge of the Constitution appears high. A recent survey indicated that almost three-quarters of adult South Africans had a good knowledge of the Constitution, while over half of respondents in a recent national survey of adults had heard of the Bill of Rights.

While generic knowledge of South Africa's political system appears high, engagement with the political process appears to be waning. In the recent Municipal Elections of 2000, national voter turnout was only 48%. While this may be high when compared to local government election turnout in countries such as the United Kingdom or United States, the trend is distinctly downward from the first democratic election in 1994.

It is commonly accepted that a strong opposition is a necessary part of consolidating democracy. Given the ANC's electoral power and the limited formal opposition, some commentators highlight the dangers of what they characterise as a de facto one-party state in South Africa. While the electoral and political dominance of the ANC is likely to remain intact for some time to come, it also reflects the quality of opposition parties in South Africa. The ANC has an alliance with the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) nationally and in KwaZulu-Natal. During 2002 it negotiated an alliance with the New National Party, which allowed it to oust the Democratic Alliance as the Western Cape provincial government.

Opposition parties have not been successful in forming robust alliances among themselves, even where there are apparent ideological congruencies. The parties that grew out of the black consciousness movement remain small and separate, as do those representing sections of the white population. In part this reflects the skill of the ANC leaders in political manoeuvring. At a deeper level, opposition parties have failed to articulate their ideological differences with the ANC or to develop a significant support base among African voters.

The question is whether countervailing power exists in South Africa; where it is located; how much power it has; and how to nurture it. There is general agreement that while countervailing power exists, it is limited; and also that opposition parties are not a source of strong countervailing power; their value seems to lie in serving as a repository for political identities rather than playing a more active or interventionist role. This is not ideal: the political system should furnish a robust and sizeable parliamentary opposition that can win broad-based (and predominantly African) support, but this seems unlikely to happen until an opposition party emerges from the Congress tradition and provides a left alternative to the ANC. It is important to note that much countervailing power resides within the tripartite alliance.

It is often issue-based, but can be powerful, signalled for example by Mbeki publicly withdrawing from the public debate on HIV/AIDS generated by his apparent support for AIDS dissidents and their views.


President Mbeki lies at the centre of a culture of suspicion and hostility that has been nurtured by a number of critics who regard themselves to the left of the ANC, accusing Mbeki of ‘systematic dishonesty’ which they extend to cover his key ministers and advisors. As a result, Mbeki's own words are disregarded by former sympathisers and others who see ANC policy shifts in negative terms and seem unwilling to accept any other motive than mendacity. As if the damnation of former friends were not enough, a former advisor to the apartheid presidency recently accused "…a new 'distributive coalition' … forged over the past decade between the old white elite and the new black elite" of ensuring that "a comprehensive redistribution programme on behalf of the poor is not possible.”

Despite the way in which Mbeki is portrayed by critics, he commonly provides more eloquent arguments about the problems of poverty eradication than either the movement he leads or its critics. He has spoken about the restricted sphere of movement available to developing countries, also true of the ANC during negotiations and in government. He has described the way in which the rules of the game “serve the purposes of our rich global neighbours”; the impossibility of autarky; and his wariness of market forces.

This does not mean that all criticism is misplaced: the Mbeki presidency has been marked by a strong degree of centralism, including structural changes, the diminution of the National Council of Provinces (the second chamber) and portfolio committees, and so on; and a dislike of criticism coupled with attempts to stifle debate, often accompanied by stinging attacks on enemies both real and imagined. Despite privately expressed opposition, for example, few Cabinet ministers are prepared publicly to express the most mildly dissenting view, even on key issues such as HIV/AIDS.

The negative tendencies of the ‘authoritarian clique’ in the ANC leadership have been criticised in many quarters. COSATU, with the most organised constituency in the alliance, has been at the receiving end of a number of attacks from senior ministers over its opposition to GEAR, its national strike called in opposition to privatisation, its views on HIV/AIDS, and other issues. It has noted that "Government seems particularly angry about popular mobilisation, irrespective of the cause or source". In a shrill speech, COSATU and the SACP were accused by Mbeki (and subsequently by ministers) of housing 'ultra-leftists' intent on breaking the alliance and wresting power. COSATU replied that "an ultra left exists [but] it does not pose a threat to our people or our movement." The gap between COSATU's sober assessment and the President's apparent sighting of enemies partly explains the increasing wariness of and concern about Mbeki since he assumed power.

The real concern in many quarters is about a general stifling of debate by Mbeki's 'henchmen', coupled with attacks on left-wing elements within the ANC and the tripartite alliance more broadly. This seems unnecessary, given both Mbeki and the ANC's grip on power. COSATU, having described the 'conspiratorial and military' style of a clique of Mbeki-supporting former exiles in the ANC, warned recently:

“There can be no question that the majority of ANC leaders find [their] tactics distasteful. Nonetheless, the influence of this grouping is on the rise. Its divisive tendencies will do more to weaken the democratic movement than any amount of disagreement over economic policies. If members of this group win more power, we can say goodbye to the NDR [National Democratic Revolution], the alliance, the ANC traditions of openness and serving the poor, and indeed to our democratic victory.”

COSATU has nonetheless committed itself to remaining in the alliance. In part this is the result of circumstance and limited choice: beyond the ANC, "the predominantly black parties", COSATU has noted, "have no clear programme except to gain power". It should be added that few if any of those parties have any sympathy for the union body's avowed socialism. But COSATU is no weak hanger-on in the tripartite alliance. It clearly exerts not inconsiderable influence, despite locking horns with some of Mbeki's main supporters whom COSATU terms an "authoritarian clique".

Part Two of this essay will look at foreign affairs, the social and economic costs of violence and conflict, the widening gap between those who have and those who do not, and examine the economy and GEAR.
Part Three will consider social movements, constitutional democracy and socio-economic rights, and delivery.


Evaluating Victim Empowerment Projects

Evaluating Victim Empowerment Projects imageNobi recently successfully tendered for an impact analysis of the Department of Social Development's (Socdev) Victim Empowerment Projects (VEP). This significant initiative by Socdev was born out of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), first implemented in 1996. The VEPs have been implemented in all nine provinces, all of which aimed to address the diverse needs of the victims of violence and crime.

The focus of the VEPs were primarily provincial, even though funding was managed at a national level. Thus provincial projects first submitted proposals for funding to the provincial departments of social development. Those projects deemed appropriate by the provincial co-ordinators for the VEP were then submitted to the national Department of Social Development.
The impact analysis has three specific objectives, namely, to:

  • identify and evaluate whether the needs of the victims were met through the implementation of each business plan
  • identify the constraints to effective implementation,
  • make recommendations for better implementation or for the replication of the identified best practice models.

In order to meet these objectives S&T will first need to establish whether the projects exist; then consolidate a database to draw a sample frame of respondents from the projects.

The challenges facing S&T are particularly daunting, especially since most projects had applied for funding as far back as 1999. Experience has taught us that there is typically a high turnover in these types of projects. When funding is uncertain it comes as no surprise to discover that when we do follow-up studies most people had left the project to explore other employment opportunities.

The first phase of the evaluation saw Nobi conducting interviews with project managers or co-coordinators to establish how well the projects were functioning, to obtain their biographical data as well as the type of services that they offer.
In the second phase, Nobi will visit a random sample of 16 projects nationwide. The stratified sample was selected based on the amount of funding each project had received. The purpose of the second phase is to conduct interviews with those involved in the actual running of the projects and to also observe the projects in action. A full report on this study will be available by the end of 2003.


Updating the Atlantic Philanthropies' 'Annual Review'

S&T has a long-standing and fruitful relationship with Atlantic Philanthropies (AP), as readers of Phatlalatsa will know. Earlier this year, we were asked to update the Annual Review for AP, a first edition of which had reviewed 2002. For the 2003 update, the Review had to cover not just socio-political, economic and human rights issues, but was extended to cover key issues in the public health sector.

S&T partners David Everatt and Matthew Smith co-authored the study. Once again, we brought together a group of analysts to brainstorm issues and give us guidance regarding content and approach. These included Cathi Albertyn of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Geoff Budlender of the Legal Resources Centre, Steven Friedman of the Centre for Policy Studies, as well as AP's Gerald Kraak, Mike Savage and Zola Madikizela.

After the brainstorm session, a wide range of primary and secondary data were analysed, in order to try and capture the vibrancy and bustle of South Africa as well as the key fault-lines in our society — and all of that in a brief report!

The first part of the review argues that South Africa is a very young democracy, still yet to reach 10 years of age. Yet it is nevertheless a complex society, stretched between a damaged past and an uncertain but more positive future, constrained by local and global forces but bursting with vitality — and paradoxes. The growing pains of democracy are reflected in the intense debates that attend virtually every aspect of transforming society from apartheid to democracy. It is important to retain the capacity to see beneath posturing and disputation and identify the real issues at stake.

In the second half of the Review, we explored how the present government is faring in terms of addressing the burden of disease (namely chronic diseases — of which HIV/AIDS is the most prominent — poverty related conditions and trauma related injuries); implementing policies which will ensure the provision of equitable health care to all; and resuscitating and replacing human resources in the public health system. We also comment on the ever-increasing divide between the public and the private sector.

The Review was completed in time for the international teams visiting AP this year, as Atlantic finalises its South Africa programme.


A week of castles, snow, free beer …

A week of castles, snow, free beer …  imageS&T partner David Everatt was a Fellow at Session 413 of the Salzburg Seminar, on 'Engaging youth in community development'. The Seminar takes place at Schloss Leopoldskroon, a palace renovated in the 1930s and the setting for the film 'The Sound of Music'. The Scholl has acres of ground, its own lake, and lies in the foothills of the Alps. More importantly, it has its own beer cellar, open 24 hours a day, where the local Stiegel brew is consumed. The Schloss is a couple of kilometres from Salzburg, birth-place of Mozart and (like much of Austria) a place of postcard beauty at every turn.

S&T partner David Everatt was a Fellow at Session 413 of the Salzburg Seminar, on 'Engaging youth in community development'. The Seminar takes place at Schloss Leopoldskroon, a palace renovated in the 1930s and the setting for the film 'The Sound of Music'. The Scholl has acres of ground, its own lake, and lies in the foothills of the Alps. More importantly, it has its own beer cellar, open 24 hours a day, where the local Stiegel brew is consumed. The Schloss is a couple of kilometres from Salzburg, birth-place of Mozart and (like much of Austria) a place of postcard beauty at every turn.

Some 70 participants from 38 countries attended Session 413. A week of hard work and hard playing ensued, while stories were swapped from youth engagement from Peru to Malawi, from Palestine to Kazakstan, from Hong Kong to KwaZulu-Natal. What was clear was the commonality of problems: youth being shut out of decision-making processes, commonly seen as a 'problem' rather than part of the solution, and blamed for social ills. Many innovative programmes were described, but as ever: youth development must be both holistic and localised. Assumptions cannot be carried from one area to another, let alone across national borders.

After a week of plenaries, working group sessions, informal optionals, poetry readings, a classical recital and some more beer, the seminar drew to a close with a banquet in the Great Hall.


S&T wins competitive tender to evaluate services standards in the Public Service

S&T were recently awarded a 13-month contract by the Public Services Commission to evaluate services standards in every single government department including the President's office. This critically important job will see S&T staff visit 130 national and provincial departments across the country.

The rationale for the study is relatively straightforward; by evaluating service standards we will assist each department measure to what standard services are being delivered. Moreover, the study will also be assessing whether the delivery complies with the Batho Pele principles.

The study will comprise three phases:

  • we will determine current standards of service delivery
  • we will make recommendations regarding the benchmarking of these standards and
  • we will develop a common understanding within the public service of how best to use these standards in the management of performance.

In theory, the service standards we will be assessing should comply with the eight Batho Pele principles, namely:

  1. Consultation, i.e. the extent citizens have been consulted about the quality and choice of services on offer
  2. Service standards, i.e. citizens should be informed as to the quality of the services they will receive
  3. Access, i.e. citizens are entitled to equal access to services
  4. Courtesy, i.e. citizens should be treated in a courteous and dignified manner
  5. Information, i.e. citizens should be fully informed about the services they are entitled to receive
  6. Openness and transparency, i.e. citizens should be informed as to how both national and provincial departments are run, how much they cost and who is in charge
  7. Redress, i.e. citizens are entitled to redress if the service delivered does not meet a promised service standard
  8. Value for money, i.e. services offered to citizens should be done so effectively and efficiently to ensure that citizens get value for the taxes they have paid.

From the outset in this study we will distinguish between service standards and benchmarking. For us service standards are indicators of the best level of service delivery a department can realistically provide given the resources available. Typically, whilst good service standards are meaningful to citizens and developed with citizen expectations and input in mind they also need to take into account the resources and the mandate of a particular department.

We view benchmarking slightly differently. For us, benchmarking is the search for best practices that can be applied with a view to achieving improved performance.

Benchmarking is a systematic and continuous process of measuring and comparing an organisation's business process against those of leaders anywhere in the world, to gain information which will help drive continuous improvement (Owen, 1999).

Benchmarking typically would involve the following steps in a department:

  • the identification of the area of operation to be benchmarked
  • identification of ‘best practice’ in selected organisations or sections of organisations
  • collection and analysis to determine the common characteristics of this practice
  • development of best practice indicators (i.e. service standards) and levels to be achieved on these indicators.
  • Simply described, the establishment of benchmarks attempts to answer the following questions:
  • Who is doing best?
  • How do they do it?
  • How well are we doing relative to the best?
  • How good do we want to be, relative to the best?

In more formal terms benchmarking development has three consequences for a department, namely the targeted identification of best practice and a consideration of whether this practice applies to the department; a thorough, sustained programme of external analysis and investigation; and the ability to reduce the findings of best practice to indicators which are meaningful as a management tool within the organisation.

Thus by evaluating service standards being used by each department S&T will ensure that by the end of this study each department will have indicators that:

  • allow the development of a common language in understanding what to measure and what constitutes good or bad performance
  • do away with ambiguity and subjectivity in performance assessment and evaluation.

Anglo Platinum Research Project

Anglo Platinum Research Project imageAnglo Platinum has established a Collective Partnership Forum (CPF), which has established a Wage Agreement, and a Standing BCEA Committee to ensure future compliance to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). Strategy & Tactics have been commissioned to undertake a quantitative and qualitative research project to support the work of the BCEA Committee.

Background and context

Anglo Platinum operates a group of platinum mines. Many of its employees work according to an Eleven Shift Fortnight (ESF) System. This system forms part of the broader economic and social value creation system that is Anglo Platinum. Anglo Platinum, together with its union stakeholders, is required to bring about changes to this system in order to ensure future compliance to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

To that end (as well as others) it has established a Collective Partnership Forum (CPF), which has established a Wage Agreement, and a Standing BCEA Committee. A project to pilot the workability of an Alternative Shift System (Five-Day Work Week System) has been executed. This pilot project delivered mixed results. Subsequently the BCEA Committee was given a mandate by the CPF to:

  • study and evaluate the BCEA — Pilot Project's final report
  • identify both negative and positive outcomes from the BCEA Pilot Project
  • interview relevant employees and management at Union Section (a Business Unit)
  • explore other alternatives to the Eleven Shift Fortnight (ESF) system
  • make final written recommendation on shift configurations to the CPF Steering Committee.

Against this background, and following an intensive procurement process, Strategy & Tactics have been commissioned to undertake a quantitative and qualitative research project to support the work of the BCEA Committee. The objectives of the research project to:

  • understand from all employees working an ESF arrangement, their needs, preferences and interests (based on a representative sample), with respect to working shift arrangements in the light of business unit requirements
  • understand from the relevant Business Units their requirements, constraints and interests from a business perspective of alternative shift arrangements
  • understand how employees were impacted by the change in work schedule during a five-day week pilot project at union section
  • understand what are the current shift working practices in respect of similar mining operations
  • develop a draft evaluation criteria matrix against which the alternative shift arrangements developed by the stakeholders can be assessed.

Research and project methods

In short the project method consists of four primary phases as follows:

Phase 1 — Immersion: A process by which researchers immerse themselves in the context of the subject primarily to inform the design of research instruments.

Phase 1 — Instrument Design: The design, prototyping, piloting, refinement and final development of primary research instruments (data gathering methods - processes and tools) including those for Quantitative Closed Surveys, Qualitative In-depth Interviews and Qualitative Focus Groups.

Phase 2 — Data Gathering: There are several data gathering exercises:

  • Literature survey
    • explore experiences/alternatives from other mining operations with respect to shift arrangements
  • Quantitative data gathering
    • 1 600 survey interviews (5% of workforce)
    • generate representative data (per mine and employee level)
    • target managers, supervisors and operators at each mine
  • Data/documentation from company databases
    • mine plans and appropriate achievement/performance measures per mine, covering safety, square meters, primary meters, target stoping widths, target sweeping, direct costs and labour plans
  • l Qualitative data gathering
    • 60 in-depth interviews targeting managers, supervisors and operators at each mine
    • 20 focus groups to provide for group dialogue targeting management, union leadership and combined group at each mine.

Phase 3 — Analysis: The processing and coding of information and data to emerge preliminary finding across the respective gathering streams.

Phase 4 — Formulation and Production: The comparison of findings across streams and the synthesis of findings to reveal primary conclusions. The production of a conceptual model (draft evaluation matrix) against which the alternative shift arrangements developed by the stakeholders can be assessed.


Implementing the Balanced Scorecard

Implementing the Balanced Scorecard imageIn the August Phatlalatsa, 5(1) Matthew and Iole Matthews from the Independent Projects Trust (IPT) explained how they were using Balanced Scorecard methodology to shape the monitoring and evaluation framework for IPT's work with the Public Prosecutors in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN PPA) . In this article we update readers on how we have embedded the Balanced Scorecard to assist management within the PPA as they strive to become more effective and efficient.

Readers will be familiar with the concept behind the Balanced Scorecard, devised by Kaplan and Norton in the 1990s, namely that organisations are best viewed and measured from four perspectives:

  • the learning and growth perspective which measures issues such as staff development
  • the business process perspective which measures issues such as the case management procedures being used by the prosecutors
  • the customer perspective which measures, for example, the satisfaction levels of clients when they interact with the prosecutors
  • the financial perspective which measures the financial aspects of the prosecuting authority including the efficient use of resources.
  • Typically, when assessing whether the scorecard is balanced or unbalanced for an organisation there are several generic steps that need to be taken. These steps include:
  • defining the objectives for the organisation in terms of the four perspectives
  • determining the measures that will be used to assess whether the objectives have been met
  • defining the targets (milestones) for each measure (typically an organisation sets monthly or quarterly targets for each overall measure)
  • outlining the initiatives that are necessary to ensure the organisation meets the objectives it has set itself.

In part because of the nature of IPT's intervention and in part because baseline data was not readily available for the accurate definition of measures for all four perspectives, we decided to develop a scorecard for the KZN PPA that took into account both quantitative and qualitative measures. This meant in practice that not only would we be looking at issues such as court hours, number of cases on the court roll, numbers of awaiting trial prisoners and absenteeism rates, but that we would also measure issues such as staff perceptions of internal communication and the quality of initiatives to improve case management.

In order to systematise this process and also to ensure that the system will produce reliable data which is reflected upon regularly, we have implemented the following steps:

Step 1: Established the initiatives to be undertaken in each cluster, selected the measures which would be used to assess the progress of the initiatives and allocated resources to facilitate the initiatives.

Step 2: Developed a system for data collection, analysis and reporting. This involved designing a standardised reporting form which each cluster manager completes on a monthly basis. The form requires each manager to report on initiatives, against each objective, undertaken during the month. The manager is also required to reflect on those initiatives and comment on the steps she/he plans to undertake to rectify actions that deviate from what was previously planned.

Step 3: At the same time that the managers complete their monthly reports we also collected monthly quantitative data that speaks to issues such as court performance and absenteeism rates.

Step 4: Prepare scorecard report based on the information gathered from the previous two steps. The report outlines, with regards to each objective:

  • the achievements of the KZN PPA during that month (e.g. implementation of a client satisfaction survey or decrease in the number of awaiting trial prisoners)
  • areas identified for improvement (e.g. absence of a coherent media strategy or decreasing court hours)
  • the learning moments (i.e. what can we learn from the initiatives implemented this month? e.g. successful initiatives for sharing information with the public)

Step 5: Conducted a new style of monthly management meetings at which the scorecard report is presented in order for the managers to reflect on the information in the report and to then take decisions to address issues raised in the report. In addition, the meetings provide an open forum to focus on performance shortfalls, discuss possible solutions and to learn from each other.

Step 6: We are now tracking on a monthly basis whether or not decisions taken at the monthly meeting are being enforced.
In reflection, what the past six months have shown us is that whilst the Balanced Scorecard was devised by Kaplan and Norton for the private sector, it does have some resonance in the public sector. Moreover, it has taught us that it is possible for a government organisation to incorporate customers, employees and stakeholders into their efforts to improve performance. To do so, such efforts must be shaped in such a way as to achieve some balance between the needs of these different groups and the aims and objectives of the organisation.


GTZ commissions S&T to assess the impact of the Africa Drive Project

Strategy & Tactics have recently been commissioned by the Africa Drive Project (ADP) to provide technical support to the project in the form of monitoring and evaluation services. The ADP was established by the Department of Education in the Northwest Province, in a Public Private Partnership with the University of North-West, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation), SAP Corporate Research, Siemens Business Services, the Department of Finance of the Northwest Province, Paragon Development Forum, eDegree, Duxbury Networking and Network Appliance.

The project was set up to address the serious shortage of suitably qualified primary and secondary school educators (teachers), particularly in the strategically important learning areas of Mathematics, Physics, Technology (ICT — including Computer Literacy), Biology and Business Studies (Entrepreneurship). Recent research by EduSource and the HSRC found that approximately 50% of the Mathematics teachers and 42% of the Science teachers in South Africa had specialised learning area subject training. Moreover, there has been a sharp decline throughout the 1990s in the number of teachers in training. This state of affairs has resulted in a major shortage of suitably qualified graduates leaving the educational system with skills, knowledge and competencies to participate in the technology orientated local and global economy.

The abovementioned crisis, as well as the call of President Mbeki for development efforts to be focussed on educators' education and training and the introduction of ICT in learning and teaching resulted in the founding of the ADP initiative.
Using ‘blended learner-centred’ and e-learning strategies, ADP hopes that in-service educators will improve their knowledge and skills (competencies), and ultimately that they will have the capacity to integrate ICT into the delivery of learning to their learners.

The approach used in this project draws from international developments and experience in the areas of education and training, particularly the SAP AG experience in Germany with the LifeLong e-Learning (L3) Project and the Dassie Project in the Western Cape Province of SA. The later project has the important objective of developing a solution appropriate for, and applicable to, a developing society.

S&T will play a critical role in assessing whether or not the ADP fulfils its primary objective of improving the quality of Mathematics and Science teaching in the province. More specifically we will be assessing aspects such as:

  • appropriateness of the blended e-Learning model
  • effectiveness and efficiency of delivery of the model
  • the nature of the technology being used and whether it meets the needs of the end users
  • the cost-effectiveness of the technology and whether it is appropriate to the environment it is being used in
    • changes in attitude and behaviour of the participants in the project
    • the sustainability of the project.


Hamba Kahle Phindi

Hamba Kahle Phindi imageOur ever cheerful colleague and friend Phindi tragically passed away on 20 October after a long illness. Phindile Magwaza was with S&T almost from its inception and played a significant role in seeing us grow into one of Africa’s leading research and facilitation consultancies.

Phindi was born on 17 October, 1972 in Limehill Location, Wasbank, where she grew up and attended school. She matriculated from the Junior High School in 1990. Despite spending the early part of her life in Wasbank, Phindi retained a strong link with her rural roots in Northern KZN and it is in Osizweni where Phindi was laid to rest on 25 October.

Phindi joined S&T initially as an office assistant with no qualifications, but through hard work and dedication became a fully fledged member of the S&T team. Even though Phindi was working full-time and raising two daughters she managed to complete a range of secretarial and ICT courses, which contributed to her becoming a highly qualified receptionist and data base manager.

S&T will sorely miss Phindi’s warmth and caring approach and we will also miss her firm but gentle manner in which she managed our reception area. To her husband Clement and her two daughters Nokwanda and Noluthando, S&T and all the readers of Phatlalatsa send their deepest love and sympathy. Hambe Kahle Phindi.



The [real] State of the Nation

The Real State of the Nation - South Africa After 1990, was launched at the SAB World of Beers in Newtown Johannesburg on 17 November 2003. This collection of critical essays, edited by S&T partner, David Everatt and corporate affairs director of SAB, Vincent Maphai, reviews the first decade of freedom in South Africa. Speakers included Minister of Minerals & Energy, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, NAIL CEO, Saki Macozoma and Murphy Morobe, chairperson of the Finance and Fiscal Commission with Judge of the High Court, Dennis Davis as Master of Ceremonies. The audience were also treated to the sounds of Jonas Gwangwa and Zim Ngawana, who performed a moving rendition of Nkosi Sikelel ‘iAfrica together on stage for the first time.

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