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Closing date for applications: 8 December 2021

The Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) is seeking to appoint a Programme Lead/ Senior Researcher, to support a multi-year EU funded project on local government in South Africa.

The project aims to enhance local government service delivery and accountability by improving the systems for planning and public participation in municipalities. The project will be implemented in 12 participating municipal sites over four years, as well as seeking to support the work of national policy setting institutions. This is an exciting and innovative project which aims to experiment with new ways to enhance local government functioning.

The Programme Lead will be responsible for the management of the project, which includes leading and managing the team – coordinating all activities related to the project (planning, monitoring, and execution of deliverables), negotiating access to institutions and assigning tasks to team members, analysing data and reporting. Research functions are supported by a research team. The Programme Lead will help to adapt the methodology for the project based on ongoing monitoring of implementation, manage a small team, ensure oversight of project spending in line with the budget, work with a senior technical expert in producing project outputs (research reports, case studies, and remedial tools for planning), and work with implementing partners on training/capacity building for citizen-based monitoring. She/he will be primarily responsible for ensuring sound relations with the stakeholders and the donor through appropriate reporting, attendance and engagement in relevant donor supported and stakeholder forums and presenting and making the case for the impact of the project.

The team will be based in Johannesburg, with travel to participating municipal sites a few times a year.

PARI offers a competitive salary package.

Applicants should have:

  • A Master’s degree in the Social Sciences, Planning, Development Studies, or related fields.
  • Graduates with considerable project experience who have not completed a Master’s degree will be considered for the role.
  • A proven track record in applied research and implementation in the fields of development, planning, or related, with at least ten years’ experience in this regard, at least three of which should be in a leadership/senior implementing role.
  • A proven track record of project managing large projects – at least three years’ experience in this regard.
  • Some of this experience should include experience managing a team of researchers/ practitioners and overseeing a substantial budget.
  • Good understanding of the socio-political context in South Africa, including a good understanding of the broad framework for government service delivery in the country.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with a strong knowledge of the local government system and operating environment, including the IDP process, and planning systems within municipalities.
  • Ability to build and manage relationships with institutions such as SALGA, CoGTA, etc.
  • Familiarity / experience with reporting procedures to donors/clients/stakeholders to ensure compliance with internal governance and controls and external reporting requirements.
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills.
  • Excellent communication skills. Fluency in spoken and written English is essential, and familiarity with a local African language would be a plus.
  • The applicant should be willing to travel to locations outside of Gauteng – approximately five week-long trips to other provinces will be required per year as part of the role.
  • Having a driver’s license is also essential.
  • The applicant should be able to provide proof of having been vaccinated against COVID19.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter outlining their suitability for the job and an approximately 4-page CV to Jessie Turton at by close of business on the 8th December 2021.

The CV should include:

  • Basic biographic details.
  • The applicant’s educational qualifications.
  • Employment history.
  • Applicants should list in detail the programmes or projects they have supported, and what function/role they have played.
  • Last, please include 3 references with contact details and a note outlining the relationship of the referee to the applicant (e.g., previous employer, or client). At least one of these references should be able to vouch for work the applicant has undertaken in the last two years.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

For more information about the work that PARI undertakes, visit