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The Public Affairs Research Institute

About Us

The Public Affairs Research Institute is a Johannesburg-based organisation that studies the effectiveness of state institutions in the delivery of services and infrastructure. We generate high-quality research to better understand the drivers of institutional performance in the public sector, and improve implementation of policies in relevant fields. We work with change agents in the public service to address institutional blockages or weaknesses in their departments.

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PARI was established in May 2010 to do research that promotes informed and realistic solutions to the challenges of governance in South Africa. This was at a time when the state was beginning to experience major governance challenges despite the idealism, intelligence and commitment of many political actors. Very little research was being undertaken to study the drivers of poor performance within government.

Over the past decade, PARI has produced volumes of material to understand the constraints to effective governance. These include the politicisation of the civil service – a development that is at odds with the managerial approach to civil service that the post-apartheid state had envisaged at the dawn of democracy.

In its work, PARI underlines the importance of institutions and institution-building. Our ability to get inside departments and agencies across government has provided unique insights into state performance