Source: Wandile Sihlobo, The Conversation, 5 September 2021, photo credit: First Citizens Bank
Governments can build credibility over time through consistent commitment to implementing policies efficiently and effectively. South Africa hasn’t done well on this score. As a result of the poor record of policy implementation, investors and the general public have become sceptical of government policy pronouncements.
Recent examples of this credibility gap include its handling of two major policy initiatives. The first is the National Development Plan launched in 2012. The second is the National Treasury’s 2019 economic policy paper titled “Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an Economic Strategy for South Africa”. Neither was ever fully implemented.
Once unveiled, it was up to government departments to pull ideas from them to enhance their strategies. But this wasn’t done.
The factors that lie behind poor policy implementation are varied and complex. They range from conflicting ideologies, a lack of capacity within the state and its institutions, corruption, and poor governance at local municipalities.