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September 2005

BEE at the heart of S&Tís corporate social responsibility

BEE at the heart of S&Tís corporate social responsibility imageThe purpose of a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy is to ensure that the business supports the sustainability of the social environment and the framework in which it operates. The policy should ensure that the business works for the overall benefit of society. A business needs to demonstrate core business strategies that are linked to internal management systems and key performance indicators aimed at promoting the social upliftment, development and poverty reduction of its staff and the communities in which it operates.

In the South African context, black economic empowerment (BEE) is an important aspect of any such policy. The government defines BEE as "an integrated and coherent socioeconomic process that directly contributes to the economic transformation of South Africa and brings about both significant increases in the number of black people that manage, own and control the country's economy as well as significant decreases in income inequalities." (Department of Trade and Industry, 2004)

The three components of broad-based BEE are:

  • Direct empowerment - comprised of equity ownership and management of the business.
  • Human resource development - comprised of employment equity and skills development.
  • Indirect empowerment - enables and encourages the business to facilitate broad-based BEE in entities and within the communities with which it interacts.

S&T's BEE

In terms of direct empowerment, S&T is defined as a black empowered enterprise -one that is at least 25,1% owned by black persons and where there is substantial management control by black people. We are currently 40% black owned and managed, with 20% interest in the company held by our black female CEO. Similarly, our employment and staff development policies place significant emphasis on diversity, employment equity, fair labour practices and the development of human capital.

In the arena of indirect empowerment, S&T plays a crucial role in creating market access for black entrepreneurs and individuals. In a survey project, fieldwork is usually the largest single line item: we believe it should not be a way to increase profits, but to spread resources. This is achieved either through partnering with black-owned fieldwork companies or using unemployed people as fieldworkers. This creates short-term employment for unemployed people, providing much-needed financial input; and we impart skills that may prove useful to future attempts to find jobs.
An important aspect of indirect empowerment relates to corporate social investment, which can be viewed as the business' external contribution to social responsibility. This investment is based not only on sound principles of management but in a desire to do what is right. Corporate social investment, underpinned by a strong developmental approach, is undertaken for the purpose of uplifting communities.

The principles underlying our investment include:

  • Being a function that is driven by the business' mission.
  • Funding projects that have a logical fit with the business.
  • Professionally managed.
  • Regularly evaluated and updated as required.

The allocation of resources to corporate social investment sets the parameters in terms of what is achievable. The target (as per government's proposals on broad-based black economic empowerment) is that expenditure on social investment should be 3% of net profit. We are proud to report that our current social investment projects for the 2006 Financial Year far exceed this target.

S&T's current social investment projects

We are currently providing technical assistance to the HIV/Aids programme of St Peter's Anglican Church, based in Auckland Park. The programme, based in the rural communities surrounding Matatiele in KwaZulu-Natal, is a home-based care initiative run by a retired nurse and her network of volunteer caregivers.

S&T has assisted St Peter's in drafting a business plan for strengthening and expanding the current services offered by the caregivers. The overall aim for the expanded programme is to provide comprehensive home-based care for those individuals infected and affected by HIV and Aids in the target area. To this end, the specific objective is to provide ongoing sustainable support to the area via the network of volunteer caregivers. This objective is to be attained through:

  • Strengthening and building the capacity of the network to respond to the needs of the communities.
  • Providing immediate relief and resources to the communities.
  • Providing input and resources to assist the communities to help themselves.

S&T has committed itself to designing a monitoring and evaluation system as well as training those individuals within the programme who will have responsibility for particular monitoring functions. We will also play the role of independent evaluator of the programme at key moments as it unfolds.

S&T has been approached by Dr Lulu Gwagwa, former CEO of the Independent Development Trust, to assist with her "plough-back" project in Kromhoek, her home village in Umzimkulu. The project is aimed at collecting comprehensive household data in the village of Kromhoek in order to profile the level of need in the community and potential developmental interventions.

S&T has been involved in the design of the instrument for data collection. S&T will also assist in training a team of interviewers who will be responsible for data collection in Kromhoek. Once data has been collected, S&T will also assist in supervising the coding and capturing of the data, as well as producing a brief report for Dr Gwagwa.

 

After the 2002 transition in Kenya:

After the 2002 transition in Kenya: imageIn December 2002, voters in Kenya went to the polls and voted out the Kenya African National Union (KANU), Kenyaís ruling party since independence in 1963. Mainstream opposition political parties and pressure groups hurriedly cobbled together the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and won the Presidential, Parliamentary and Civic Elections. But the formation of the coalition and mobilization of support against KANU was not the result of efforts by political parties alone. Civil society had laid the foundation for opposition unity and put pressure on opposition politicians to form an alliance against KANU. Civil society founded the political organisation on which NARC was anchored.

Some commentators interpreted the triumph of opposition political parties (via NARC) as largely a victory for civil society in general and for human rights organisations in particular. In their view, the organic relationship between civil society and opposition political parties had one important consequence after the elections. The new government, NARC, became increasingly identified with civil society; the NARC government was synonymous with ‘a civil society government’. Furthermore, some argued that the tensions, suspicions and mistrust that characterised relations between government and civil society during the KANU regime would be a thing of the past.

Karuti Kanyinga is a Political Scientist and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is a partner in South Consulting, a leading consulting and research firm on governance and development in Eastern Africa region. Karuti has written extensively on civil society in Kenya.

Two and half years later, relations between civil society and government appears to be deeply strained. This article analyses the current state of civil society in Kenya, the mood and the possible direction of the sector before the 2007 elections. Before discussing the current state of the sector, however, there is a need to outline the main features of civil society prior to the 2002 political transition.

Civil society before the 2002 elections in Kenya

Civil society contributed to the democratization process in two important ways before the 2002 elections. First, from the early 1990s, civil society organisations (CSOs) mobilized against the one party regime and demanded a return to multi-party democracy. In 1991, government gave in to these demands and repealed the relevant sections of the constitution to allow for political pluralism. However, there were no significant changes in the constitutional framework to allow for a deepening of the new democratic space. Consequently, the ruling party won both first and the second multi-party elections in December 1992 and 1997 respectively.

Second, CSOs continually monitored progress towards democratization after the introduction of multi-partyism. Civil society groups organized and articulated demands for comprehensive constitutional reforms and provided a framework around which opposition politics was organized. With respect to constitutional reforms, civil society identified ‘bloated presidential powers’ as a major obstacle to democratization in Kenya and demanded constitutional reform to spell out how presidential powers would be devolved to other institutions. From then on, a movement for constitutional reform began, and soon had a civil society identity. Through the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change (4Cs), later the National Conventional Executive Council (NCEC) and several other groups, civil society convened National Conventions to debate reform. The movement to change the constitution grew rapidly and received support from both rural and urban areas including the urban lumpen, peasantry and middle classes.

The birth of the movement for constitutional reforms led organically to the second requirement: provision of a framework for the operation of opposition political parties. It is important to note that after their defeat in the 1992 elections, mainstream opposition parties fragmented along ethnic and personality lines. This fragmentation became a characteristic of political society throughout the period between 1992 and 1997 elections. The fragmentation deeply weakened the political parties and constrained their ability to articulate national issues.

In the absence of strong opposition parties, civil society rapidly filled the gap. Individual politicians had to turn to civil society to find a platform to address or articulate social-political issues. Civil society and opposition parties began to articulate similar demands using common platforms. Civil society became increasingly politicized; opposition political parties became increasingly weak.

Politicization of civil society on the one hand and weakening of opposition parties on the other had an important consequence: it established the basis for an organic relationship between civil and political society. This had another implication: it formed the basis for building alliances and coalitions among the various opposition political parties and pressure groups, many of which straddled the civil/political divide. How this gave rise to NARC is a subject we now turn to.

Civil society as a base for NARC

Immediately after the 1997 elections, civil society groups increased their demands both for comprehensive constitutional reforms and for unity among the mainstream opposition political parties. In their argument, a flawed constitutional framework had enabled KANU to win and to fragment the social basis of support for opposition political groups. What was required therefore was a review of the constitution in order to reconstruct the institutions of the state and enhance the space for democratic change. They also argued that divisions among opposition parties - particularly ethnic divisions - had become a crevice through which KANU won. They worried that failure to unite and form alliances would pave the way for another defeat by KANU and another five years of waste, corruption and bad governance.

The demands for unity and alliance building were given urgency by the marriage between KANU and one of the mainstream opposition political parties at the time - National Development Party (NDP) of Raila Odinga and whose ethnic base of support was among the Luo ethnic group. Immediately these two parties formed an alliance, opposition groups began to make attempts at unity. Civil society guided them to this end. Civil society identified the constitution review process as an issue that could create unity and provide the basis for merger. Opposition groups and CSOs took the demand a step further by establishing a reform process of their own, independent of the government. This led to the formation of the People’s Commission of Kenya or what came to be known as the Ufungamano Initiative.

The birth of the Ufungamano Initiative led to several attempts at unity among opposition parties which, through their MPs, joined to mobilise support for the Ufungamano Initiative. They formed ‘Muungano wa Mageuzi’ (Kiswahili for Movement for Change) to drum up support for reform. Because of the support they received – even in KANU’s heartland – government banned their activities. In March 2001, at the urging of CSOs, opposition parties made another attempt to work together. They formed a national unity group, Umoja wa Wakenya (Kiswahili for Unity among Kenyans). Ukenya was meant to counter the KANU/NDP merger by providing the basis for opposition unity. But the group failed to agree on which other parties to bring on board, and remained inactive.

CSOs continued to demand opposition unity. In response to these demands, leaders of the mainstream opposition political parties, with the support of human rights groups, formed the National Alliance for Change (NAC). NAC constituted a forum where opposition unity could be discussed. Again civil society provided leadership in the formulation of a vision and programmes. Under the leadership of civil society, NAC developed a Memorandum of Understanding which all participating parties had to sign. As a show of commitment to political change and with a view to demonstrating that it would not centralise power around the presidency, the ‘alliance’ developed a new structure with the position of a Prime Minister. They established a secretariat and formally joined the National Party of Kenya (NPK) after which they changed their name to the National Alliance (Party) of Kenya (NAK). The new party, NAK, became an umbrella group of 13 political parties and two civil society groups – NCEC and Progressive People’s Forum.

NCEC’s CSO networks in the countryside became key entry points for mobilisation of citizens. Religious organisations also became channels for communicating the agenda of the new political force. Civil society groups continued to provide intellectual and other inputs to bolster opposition unity. Civil society became the intelligentsia of the opposition.
On 14 October 2002, divisions within KANU splintered the party into two factions. One faction, the Rainbow Alliance, walked out of KANU to join NAK. Together they became the National Rainbow Coalition operating under a Memorandum of Understanding crafted with the help of civil society groups.

Clearly, civil society founded the coalition of political forces and contributed to the defeat of KANU. Civil society achieved this by providing ‘knowledge’ to opposition parties. It was within civil society that thinking about opposition unity took shape, later transmitted to the political arena through meetings convened by parties and/or civil society groups. Secondly, opposition unity was achieved through concerted efforts by civil society groups. Civil society provided ‘shuttle diplomacy’ by carrying ‘messages of dialogue’ from party to party and by providing a programmatic vision to all the parties that formed the Alliance.

NARC won the December 2002 elections and formed a new government. Relations between what was seen as a civil society government and civil society itself is a debate that is still running.

The NARC government and civil society

Civil society got into government through two main routes. Firstly, NARC formed a new government including some individuals from civil society, particularly those with whom they had collaborated while in opposition. Secondly, some individuals from civil society were parliament. This was in line with the pre-election visioning. Civil society had mobilized many individuals to engage the political space in a positive manner by fighting for parliamentary seats. This was meant to ensure that there were enough ‘reformers’ in parliament to champion reforms - if they won.

The organic relationship between civil society and the new government, ironically, became the basis for akening civil society, and for tensions between government and civil society. To begin with, the new ernment started to speak ‘civil society’ language, the language of rights and democracy. Government also designed programmes similar to those of human rights and good governance CSOs. Over time, these developments created a crisis of legitimacy and relevance among CSOs. With government engaging on issues such as corruption, past human rights abuses and correction of historical wrongs, civil society found itself ‘irrelevant’.

Added to this was the fact that few CSOs were ready to criticize government - or their friends in government – so they adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Personal relationships between CSO members and individuals in government accounted for this. It led to reduced vigilance of government by civil society. Few were critical of what was happening; others were waiting to be appointed to government positions. The result was silence from many CSOs, while others battled to identify and understand their roles and responsibilities in the new political dispensation.

While the organic relations between civil society and government weakened civil society, it produced similarly negative tendencies in government. Those in government became oblivious to the role of civil society and intolerant to the critical eye of civil society. Initial attempts by CSOs to point out wrongs were met with cynicism and contempt from those in government whose own origins lay in civil society. They claimed that civil society did not know how government works, and/or argued that it was too soon for civil society point fingers. Intolerance gradually grew to become open outbursts against civil society. Civil society was itself still too disorganized to develop a common front or collective strategies for dealing with government.

Membership of civil society structures

Survey respondents belonged to a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs). Among the most popular are traditional – tribal or clan - structures alongside burial societies and women’s groups. Analysed by province, it is clear that CSOs are not evenly distributed across Kenya. Membership is also uneven. Men (29%) were more likely to belong to clan/tribal organisations than women (19%); they were also slightly more likely (24%) to belong to a burial society than women (20%). Men predominated among those belonging to youth groups, sports clubs, business groups, savings clubs, unions, neighbourhood watches and local development committees. As we see below, faith-based structures are key in reaching women in Kenya

Where are we now?

Civil society appears to be divided in two main factions: those opposed to working with the government, and those willing to do so. Those opposed have divisions particular to them: some are ethnic while others are ideological. The ethnic divisions, though obscured and hidden from easy observation, are fused to divisions around the constitution review process and the vexed question of how to deal with presidential powers in the constitution. Significant here is the realisation that pre-election ethnic deals have not been honoured by the ethnic elites. NARC evolved in haste after ethnic elites agreed to a establish a new structure of political power if they won the election. In the new structure there was to have been a President and an Executive Prime Minister and their respective deputies. These positions were meant for the various ethnic elites; they agreed to a coalition after ensuring that each ethnic elite would be at the centre of power. After the election, the agreed structure was not put in place. Some interpreted this as an attempt by one ethnic group to lock out others, and some civil society groups opposed to working with government are allied to the excluded elites.

Membership of political parties

Almost half (45%) of respondents told us they belonged to a political party, an extremely high proportion. Membership was unevenly distributed – men are considerably more likely than women to belong to a party. Importantly, however, rural respondents were more likely than their urban counterparts to belong to a party. Membership is uneven across the 8 provinces. Rift Valley respondents were most likely to belong to a party (61%), while those from Coastal province (27%) were least likely to do so. Overall, however, political parties have a significant membership base, and should be important partners in civic and voter education campaigns.

CSOs opposed to working with government argue that NARC came to power on a reform platform and promised to provide a new constitution that drastically reduced the powers of the president. In their criticism of government’s approach to the constitution-making process, they observe that there is no longer interest in providing a new constitution – other than a constitution that guards the interests of those in power. The implication is that the state has not changed; its institutions have remained the same and remain opposed to a reform agenda. For this faction of civil society, the struggle for democratic reform must remain embedded in the country’s social-political life regardless of the transition. Civil society, in this view, cannot be on the same side as government; civil society must lead the struggle and constantly keep government in check.
Those CSOs opposed to government for ideological reasons are relatively few and lack coherence in their approach to issues. An on-going theme in their oppositional discourse is the ‘watchdog’ approach – the need to keep the government on its toes to ensure delivery of services. Some are concerned about basic services, others seem critical of government for the sake of taking an oppositional stance.

Those CSOs willing to working with the government are relatively few, and do so based on the argument that you can only correct government if you know how it operates, and believe they can influence government from within. Within this group, there are also significant differences. On the one hand, there are groups with close ties to people in power. Because of personal relations, they have found it difficult to be critical of the government, and some have opted to sit on the fence. Others have opted to support government for ethnic reasons – they are aligned with the ethnic elites in power.

The small group of CSOs willing to work with government is un-coordinated in its approach to national issues. They have not openly taken strong pro-government positions, perhaps because civil society in Kenya has always been known to be anti-government; a pro-government position may easily erode the social basis of support.

On the whole, civil society is deeply divided along several lines. Its fractures have weakened it with regard to pursuing national issues. One manifestation of this weakness has been the inability of civil society leaders to address the question of internal governance within the National Council of NGOs, the umbrella body for registered NGOs. The Council has had an internal governance problem for some two years but CSOs, because of their divisions, have failed to bring new life to the Council, as they have failed to address the main challenges facing the sector. These divisions continue to erode the legitimacy of civil society. It is possible that by the time of the 2007 elections, civil society will not be in a position to put together a coalition similar to that which contributed to the foundation of NARC or to the birth of a constitution reform movement.

Religion and religiosity

Faith-based organisations are a key component of civil society. 88% of respondents were Christian, 9% Muslim, 1% traditionalist and 1% atheist. In 7 of the 8 provinces, Christians predominated among respondents; in North Eastern Province, however, just 3% of respondents were Christian, the remainder Muslim. Just less than one in ten (8%) respondents (excluding atheists) attend their place of worship every day, while three-quarters (74%) attend on a weekly basis. In other words, faith-based organisations are able to ‘reach’ 8 in 10 (82%) respondents every week. Clearly, they form a critical mechanism for communicating with the broad mass of the Kenyan population.

We saw that women were less likely to be found in CSOs than men; here we find that 78% of women attend their place of worship every week, true of 67% of men. Faith-based organisations can thus play a key role in reaching women, where most CSOs have low levels of female membership. Urban and rural respondents can both be reached via faith-based organisations: 80% of urban respondents attend a place of worship daily or weekly, as do 82% of rural respondents.

CSO outreach



Civil society includes a wide range of non-state and non-business bodies. NGOs, CBOs and the like have a limited membership. Tribal or clan structures are sizeable, but in terms of outreach capacity, faith-based organisations are enormously important. If we add all these together we find that just 3% of Kenyans belong to no CSO or attend no religious services. This is an extremely positive finding: if civil society acted in unison, it has the potential to communicate with 97% of the adult population.
 

Equity Development Programmes Part 2: 'Just as you start to grow they cut you down'

Equity Development Programmes Part 2: For the past three years S&T have been tracking the progress participants have been making in equity development programmes (EDPs) at four South African higher education institutions. The EDPs have taken many different forms, but they typically have the central objective of developing a new generation of female and black academics. Programmes differ significantly in terms of duration, management, funding and focus although they tend to recruit participants who are either at the post-graduate or post-doctoral level and the programme usually supports the participant for the first couple of years of their academic career to ensure they are retained (Cloete & Galant, 2004).

For the past three years S&T have been tracking the progress participants have been making in equity development programmes (EDPs) at four South African higher education institutions. The EDPs have taken many different forms, but they typically have the central objective of developing a new generation of  female and black academics.  Programmes differ significantly in terms of duration, management, funding and focus although they tend to recruit participants who are either at the post-graduate or post-doctoral level and the programme usually supports the participant for the first couple of years of their academic career to ensure they are retained (Cloete & Galant, 2004).

In the previous edition of Phatlalatsa (April 2005, 7.1) we provided a short summary of the participants' overall impressions of the EDP experience. In this article we focus in more detail on the following aspects of EDPs - Planning; Institutional Co-ordination and Administration; Recruitment and Selection; Supervision and Mentoring; Teaching and Research; and Future Plans. In so doing we will share several lessons gleaned from our observations of these programmes.

Planning

One of the major criticisms of these programmes in the South African setting is that rather than committing themselves to participants in EDPs, institutions play a "wait-and-see game". Thus it is not always a given that once a student, for example, has successfully completed a Masters programme, that opportunities will be provided to allow that student to study further. Even though institutions have become more responsive to this problem there are still few mechanisms in place to ensure that those in the temporary EDP posts remain at the institution once the contract has expired.

Effective planning ensures clarity of purpose. However, even when institutions have rigorous staff equity development plans in place there is often a disjuncture between the institution's vision for equity, a faculty's vision and a specific department's vision. In practice this has often meant that the goals and/or needs of a department are different to those of either the Faculty or the institution. If EDPs are to flourish within an institution there needs to be a clear and implementable institutional plan, which has been cascaded down through the institution

Not only must there be a unified institutional approach to equity development, but there must also be a coherent plan for each participant in an EDP. Without individual "professional development plans" (PDPs) for those receiving funding inappropriate expectations often arise amongst both the participants and those managing and supervising the programme. Findings from the tracking study suggest the need for better planning and co-ordination, which in turn will assist with better management of the expectations of participants. A means to achieve this is a PDP. A coherent PDP should outline what is expected of both the person receiving the funding (in particular, research and teaching expectations) and what is expected of the person either supervising and/or mentoring the participant. In addition, the PDP should contain well-defined and mutually acceptable milestones in order to assess the progress being made by the participant. A PDP could, for example, contain the following:

  • Povide details of the responsibilities of the institution (including what support the institution will provide to the participant).
  • Provide details of the responsibilities of the supervisor/ and or mentor
  • Provide details of the responsibilities of the participant
  • Provide details, where applicable, of the management, organization and financing of the overseas component of the award
  • Outline the expected research and/or teaching outputs, within an appropriate timeframe, which the participant will deliver
  • Identify the success indicators linked to future career options for the participant1

Institutional co-ordination and Administration

Dissatisfaction with the administration of the award by the respective institutions appears to have been a common experience for many participating in EDPs. Some participants are of the opinion that their poor treatment is a form of racism rather than simply a product of weak administration.

Our findings suggest that a dedicated, centralised co-ordinator of the EDP is essential. Her/his management functions must include co-ordinating all stages of the programme (e.g. recruitment, appointment, funding etc.). Too often, even in institutions where there have been co-ordinators, different aspects of the programme are decentralized. EDPs appear to work best when an institution dedicates a staff member to oversee all aspects of the programme. The peculiar nature of EDPs, with their specific focus on staff equity development, means that when institutions treat EDP participants as simply scholarship winners or as post-graduates then problems are likely to arise. In addition, co-ordination also requires establishing an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system. If co-ordinators are to make appropriate management decisions they require up-to-date information. Too often institutions appear to be making ill-informed decisions about participants as they have insufficient information on them.

Recruitment and Selection

Evidence suggests that a "happy set of coincidences" motivated the majority of the participants applying to an EDP. Motivation was most likely to have been sparked by a supervisor1, typically she/he drew the participant's attention to the programme and encouraged the participant to apply.

Most participants entered the respective EDPs as a result of already knowing academic staff in that particular department. On the one hand this meant that the environment was particularly familiar to participants, on the other hand it suggests that many participants in EDPs are being recruited from within the institution as opposed to from without.

Supervision and Mentoring

Participants had typically entered their respective EDPs as a result of their relationship with a supervisor in their respective academic departments. It is therefore not surprising that participants are generally happy with the supervision they receiveSome institutions have put in place mentorship programmes in order to support EDP participants as they view mentoring as different to supervision. Whereas supervision deals with the academic component of the programme (e.g. supervising the masters or doctoral thesis), mentoring is seen as providing support to ensure social integration into a department/ faculty, giving advice on career options, sharing ideas with regards to the skills and capacities necessary for academia and ultimately helping the person become more effective in their current position.

The key distinction between the two is that whereas the supervisor is defined in terms of the institution's hierarchy the mentor is not bound by that hierarchy. In many instances the mentor might not be linked to either the department or the faculty within which the participant is based. Rather mentors are selected because of their interpersonal skills, and ability to, for example, transfer tacit knowledge, be supportive, and provide objective advice to those they are mentoring.

Teaching and Research

Research, as opposed to teaching, appears to be the primary reason why participants are currently in the position they hold at their respective institutions. As noted above, participants are typically extremely pleased with the research support they had received. Evidence also exists which suggests that having participants work in "teams" or laboratories makes for considerable success, as they tend to have far more contact with supervisors and other colleagues than those doing research on their own.

Teaching on the other hand has been more problematic for participants. Typically participants have rated satisfaction with this aspect of their EDP lower than with research. Generally, participants feel under prepared when required to teach and they also feel they have to teach more than they had been led to believe when entering an EDPA key concern for participants is that they are not sufficiently confident that they have the appropriate competencies to become "good teachers". Many spoke of a strong desire to acquire teaching skills as part of the programme. However, there were those who had enjoyed the experience, especially as they had found that students were generally fairly supportive of new lecturers.

From the perspective of those who have participated in an EDP, successful EDPs should have the following components:

  • Clearly defined guidelines regarding teaching loads for those participating in an EDP.
  • Clearly defined guidelines regarding depart-ments' expectations of participants with regard to research outputs as well as the support departments intend to render in order that participants can meet these expectations

Future Plans

Judging by the fact that participants are enthusiastic about EDPs in general it comes as no surprise that many would like to remain in academia if they were given the opportunity2. Whilst some of the participants have either been or are about to be "main streamed" into their faculties, others spoke about their funding ending shortly and that there were currently no available academic positions for them at their respective institutions. However, there was nevertheless a sense among a number of participants that institutions had not thought out very clearly as to what would happen to participants once the funding had ended.

This point illustrates the fundamental challenge facing EDPs, namely how to ensure that the expectations of the participants are in line with the objectives of the programmes. Evidence gathered by this Tracking Study suggests that there seems to be a sharp disjuncture between the participants' expectations and the objectives of these EDPs. In order to bridge the gap the objectives of the EDPs need to be more clearly articulated and institutions will need to make a more serious effort to manage the expectations of participants. Institutions will therefore need to consider, for example, how best to make it clear to all participants the distinction between providing opportunities and guaranteeing jobs.

 

Transforming the fragmented state

Matthew is currently working with a number of different provincial governments to help them improve their service delivery. In this article he outlines some useful lessons that can be learnt from other countries who have improved the delivery of services to citizens.

There is growing realisation within government at all levels in South Africa that there is an urgent need to accelerate the delivery of services to all citizens. President Mbeki emphasises this message constantly, but he is also aware that the public sector does not necessarily have the capacity to bring about his vision for the creation of a developmental state.

Key features of the developmental state include “working with citizens rather than working for them”, building partnerships with non-state actors to enhance delivery, it intervening to protect marginalized and vulnerable groups, practicing good governance, and delivering effective and efficient services1. Transforming the much maligned and fragmented public sector into one that achieves these features and thus becomes integrated, cooperative and responsive is clearly going to be an enormous task.

There are lessons that can be learnt from other countries who have attempted to create both vertical and horizontal integration within government departments. Not all the lessons, however, are positive but we shall return to these below. Since the early 1990s a number of countries (including South Korea, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA) initiated processes to ‘reinvent’, ‘transform’ or ‘reengineer’ their public sector. Reasons for these initiatives included:

  • A strong desire to overcome fragmented coordination and implementation at different levels of government.
  • Wanting to improve the effectiveness (particularly timeliness and quality) of the public service
  • Fiscal ‘belt-tightening’, which in turn led to a greater need to improve the efficiency of service delivery
  • Citizens pushing government to improving bureaucratic accountability and thus become more responsive to ensure ‘citizen-focused services’
  • Growing realisation that government’s priorities cannot be met by single departments

The critical challenge for those driving these changes was the observation that it is the day-to-day realities of trying to work across different departments that pose the real challenge to integrating government. So whilst it is helpful to have a clear vision of what one wants to achieve by the transformation process it is quite another to change existing practices within departments.

Three key change levers used by those their public sectors were:

Building a Supportive Culture: This was achieved by emphasising the role of leadership in shifting attitudes and behaviour, focusing on staff’s expertise and relationships as opposed to their status/rank, and by maximising information sharing at all levels.

Improving governance and incentives: This ranged from governments reforming their Public Service Acts, implementing a code of ethics and revising salary structure, reward and promotion systems. It also involved putting in place performance management systems that actually worked, that embraced the notion of 360° reviews, and used appropriate indicators which held managers to account.

Introducing new ways of working: This involved making sure that the right skill sets and capabilities were developed amongst staff and by focusing on flexible team processes rather than on structures and rules.

With these three change levers in mind, most successful attempts to improve the public sector have typically used a variant of the following model:

Level

Key Features

Individuals     

Change attitude & behaviour: Impart knowledge, develop skills, promote ownership, build morale

Organisation

Focus on overall performance & functioning: Develop mandates, tools, guidelines, information systems

System

Create enabling environment: Improve regulatory & accountability framework, and relationships & processes between institutions

Nevertheless, change has come at a price in these countries. Three common phenomena observed were:

  • Stressful work environments: e.g. lines of responsibility/reporting can be blurred if there is confusion over who is the lead department
  • Job insecurity: e.g. jobs are often cut as processes are streamlined
  • Fragmented service delivery: e.g. When governments chose to contract out services, such as health provision and pension payments, accountability can become problematic
Ideas taken from the Western Cape’s IkapaStrategy, 2004.
 

Snippets

S&T assisting Dr Lulu Gwagwa in Umzimkulu District

S&T is assisting Dr Lulu Gwagwa with her plough back project in her village Krom Hoek, Umzimkulu District. S&T designed the instrument for the household survey. The team of interviewers were trained on questionnaire administration as well as sampling at the S&T Johannesburg office.

S&T's new arrival

S&T is very proud to anounce the arrival of Jamie Denby Smith to Matthew Smith and Katherine Denby. Jamie was born on 19th August 2005 and apart from keeping his parents awake at unseemly hours, is giving them great joy. Congratulations!

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