The state reform programme is centrally focused on the relationship between politics and the state administration. It emerges out of a particular analysis of South African politics. Research by PARI and others has shown that large parts of the South African state are currently afflicted by a politics that is destabilising and paralysing state organisations, directing attention and resources away from public programmes towards factional debates focused on private advancement. The effect, in some parts of the state, has been to crowd out concern with developing and implementing transformative policy aimed at building a more just and equal society. Shortfalls in service delivery have also resulted, with the poor and marginalised, who are more dependent on public services, particularly affected. Public confidence and trust in state institutions has been severely reduced.
A project of state reform is necessary to reduce the influence of corruption and patronage on South African politics, and to develop a public administration that better serves its democratic mandate.
This programme provides practical, evidence-based recommendations for reforms in key regulatory and administrative institutions with the aim of strengthening them, while reducing possibilities for improper political interference.
The programme also aims to explore and support public and scholarly debate on the relationship between politics and the state administration; and related questions, including the relationship between politics, money, and the state.
Lead: Dr Florencia Belvedere