The Department of Public Service and Administration runs training programmes for all public servants. This is complemented by the University of Cape Town, which offers executive training on the topic for senior policy makers.
In addition, the Department of Science and Technology (which has now been merged with the Department of Higher Education and Training) supports a range of evidence-based policy making initiatives.
All of this, along with a few other initiatives, has meant that South African civil servants are increasingly able to develop and maintain rigorous evidence-bases to inform their policy decisions.
Build and adapt
In the coming months, President Ramaphosa’s administration must maintain what has worked so far in evidence-based policy making. The focus should not shift to selected expert opinions and external consultant reports. After all, the country boasts many robust, proven systems within the civil service already.
The new administration can draw on and expand these existing efforts to build a civil service that is skilled at policy making in complex and rapidly changing local, national, and regional contexts. This is key to building a modern developmental state that’s capable of implementing the National Development Plan, a blueprint for the next decade.
Laurenz Langer : Senior Researcher, University of Johannesburg
Promise Nduku: Researcher, University of Johannesburg