INTRODUCTION

A policy is a set of guidelines that a government or organisation uses to achieve rational outcomes. It is a statement of intent and is a basis for making decisions, in politics, economics, or business entity. It is imperative for government to use policies to solve societal problems through effective service delivery, support government institutions and encourage active citizenship.(Hill & Varone ,2017)

Public policy features include:

  • Which approaches to use to realise them
  • The goals for their formulation
  • Contents for the policy
  • Tools contained in the policy for easy implementation

Policies are therefore intended to achieve goals and purposes intended, which ultimately helps to solve societal challenges. Policy may also be used to correct an undesirable situation (discipline), improve an existing suboptimal situation or motivation of employees. (Almeida & Gomes, 2018).

The Republic of South Africa also uses different public policies which are sarcastically referred to as the best in Africa and better than in most countries world-wide. This sarcasm is a result of poor and many a time  non-implementation of these policies. Public policies focus on a specific sphere of society e.g., health, education, safety and security etc. thus, poor implementation of these policies by almost all government departments and institutions are the main stumbling blocks to good service delivery in South Africa. A policy uses tools or instruments in the content to resolve challenges or target certain outcomes in the public sector. Tools normally used are taxes, regulations, services, budgets, information or grants.

The question still hoovering the minds of many South Africans is whether the government can meet the envisaged 2030 Millennium Development Goals within a spate all the challenges it faces as a result of this poor implementation of the very instruments that were meant to realise these goals. Challenges facing South Africa include poverty, crime, unemployment to mention but a few. What happened to the Reconstruction and Development Policy (RDP), Growth Employment and Redistribution, Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative in  South Africa (ASGISA), and New Partnership for Africa’s Development? All these policies had good intentions to resolve the many issues the country faces but, does the lack of visible progress as a result of the construction of these policies? To the contrary, the main issue leading to failure of all these good , well composed policies was caused by only one thing, poor implementation of these policies. 

SERVICE DELIVERY PROTRESTS

Since the year 2019, South Africa has experienced many service delivery protests by communities in municipalities. The protests are mainly as a result of lack of water, issues with sanitation, lack of electricity supply, poor maintenance of the road infrastructure and many more community grievances. The Municipal Systems Act (MSA), Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) are good policies with good intentions that if followed to the letter, could help municipalities to avoid many of the protests they face almost monthly. Municipalities however, annually receive negative audit reports most of which resulting from non-adherence to policy stipulations as demanded by the MFMA. This negatively affect the budget allocation to municipalities. Municipalities fail to follow the policy on supply chain management.

South Africa experienced almost over 900 service delivery protests in just six months according to SA Police minister, Mr. Bheki Cele in response to a parliamentary question from  the Freedom  Front Plus Member of Parliament (MP) Mr. SF Du Toit. All these, as a result of no implementation of available policies by municipalities. Poor implementation of policies like

the White Paper on Local Government (1998) which emphatically entrust  municipalities with the right to have access to adequate sources of revenue so that they may be financially viable. This enables them to undertake responsibilities assigned to them. Failure to do this will undermine their financial viability.

POLICY AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT 

Public expenditure of budgets allocated to municipalities need to prioritise solving of problems experienced by these entities.(Park, Park & Maher, 2018) Since resources are scarce, municipalities need to use financial resources efficiently. This is in order to satisfy as many unlimited needs of society. Municipalities use a mechanism called supply chain management(SCM). A Supply Chain Management policy is a system to manage the procurement and deployment of goods and services for solving of problems experienced within an organisation like a municipality.(Amber,2016). This mechanism is useful in enhancing service delivery in the public sector. However, questions often asked by communities is whether municipal officials follow correct SCM Policy guidelines? Often corruption is the buzz word used to express poor implementation of policies on SCM.  SCM policies can actually enhance service delivery capabilities of municipalities.

Although a number of studies have been conducted on the concept of SCM in both the private and public sectors, there does not seem to be any work done on the impact and challenges of implementing an SCM policy in the public sector, much less within the context of law enforcement.

Skills needed by policy makers 

As we continue to try improving service delivery within our public sector, it is very imperative that we look at equipping the staff that will be responsible with the implementation of policy for that to become more effective in their roles.

Understanding the goals of the policy will help the implementers understand the expectations and capabilities required so one can align themselves to the objectives. There are various skills that we can teach these individuals which are given below but not limited to the ones suggested:

  • Data analysis – ability to dissect complex information and interpret it
  • Critical thinking and creativity – good thinking, questioning of information and being innovative can be used to aid decision making especially in an environment where less supervision is required
  • Persuasive communication – Learn how to convey information in a clear and engaging manner both written and verbal
  • Collaboration – have an understanding of working in groups and how best to manage output of each member
  • Research – ability to conduct independent research through in-depth reading and collection of information

TIPS FOR CREATING AND IMPLEMENTING EFFECTIVE POLICY MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

The could be more effective and efficient community engagement by involving a wider base of relevant stakeholders who may be, directly or indirectly involved.

A greater level of consultation with stakeholder will create a more inclusive culture tp policy adoption and enabled more buy-in to the policy formulation and implementation processes.

The policies need to be linked to the Integrated Development Plan to ensure that the policy creates the inputs which are correctly transformed into the key deliverable areas to ensure the best possible outcome is attained.

There need to be clearly defined obligations for all the parties involved in the policy development and execution to ensure the effective and efficient policy execution.

The policies need to be realistic linked to the Integrated Development Plan to ensure that the policy creates the inputs which are correctly transformed into the key deliverable areas to ensure the best possible outcome is attained.

More training around policy making could be implemented from a secondary school level to ensure the links and integration of policies to grow the country and terms of delivering the key strategic outcomes.

Key strategies to enhance policy implementation and enforcement include building community members’ and local leaders’ understanding of their responsibilities in implementing community conservation policies and increasing the capacity of government policies.

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Author

Co-Authors: Donald Block (Lead author). Dr Dennis Mark Laxton; Blessing Zvikomborero; Lebogang Kamohi; Donald Block; Fulufhelo Ramashia, Lala Kanwa; Ngwako Stephen Mashatola; Thabo Keith Bob; Tapiwa Moyo; Andrew Semenya, Dr. Barry Van Der Westhuizen.

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