Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
DPME Banner


Date and time:                      30 October 2017, 6pm

Venue:                                   Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni 

Programme Director

The Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Municipality, Honourable Cllr Mzwandile Masina

Accounting Offers and Heads of Bodies

Invited guests and delegates to the Africa M&E Indaba

Distinguished Guests



Good evening.​ 

It gives me a great sense of honour and gratitude to welcome delegates from fellow African countries, multi-lateral bodies and development partners, as well as participants from all spheres of South African government, civil society and the private sector. 

The Government of South Africa has declared 2017 as The Year of O.R. Tambo, in honour of our liberation struggle icon, Oliver Reginald Tambo. Tambo is the longest serving President of the ruling party – the African National Congress (ANC), which he led at the height of the struggle against Apartheid oppression.

OR Tambo mobilised the international community to support our struggle against the Apartheid regime; the campaign that influenced bodies like the United Nations General Assembly to formally declare Apartheid as crime against humanity in 1973.  OR Tambo also led key processes from the 1989 Harare Declaration that contributed to the development and adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

South Africa is today a constitutional democracy founded on the principles of human dignity and equal rights for everyone because of OR Tambo’s leadership. We are building on his legacy to create a society envisaged in the Freedom Charter and Constitution.  The world continues to marvel at our transition from pariah state to an admired democracy through the fearless and tireless sacrifices of OR Tambo and his fellow Freedom Fighters, as well as many fellow African countries and the global community led by the United Nations.

We must, therefore, continue to document, monitor and evaluate progress in terms of how we are meeting the ideals of human rights, freedom, peace and development that revolutionary leaders like OR Tambo fought for so that we can ensure that we continuously improve the quality of life, especially in our beloved continent, Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, this Indaba has a very important theme which is about ‘opportunities and challenges for using monitoring and evaluation evidence to accelerate economic growth and employment in Africa’.  I am aware that robust debates have already been started by the leadership panel that shared insights on a range of critical matters that affect our continent and humanity. Allow me to add a few insights drawing from our experience of implementing planning, monitoring and evaluation programmes in South Africa.

The National Development Plan Vision 2030

South Africa is implementing the NDP Vision 2030 as the country’s overarching plan. The NDP dedicates the whole chapter on matters of international relations, with a strategic intent to ‘create a better South Africa, contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world’.  We are also putting measures in place to ensure that as we implement the NDP we effectively align our work and contribute meaningfully to the realisation of the aspirations embodied in the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development championed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

I trust that through deliberations in this Indaba there will be cross-fertilisation of ideas and peer-learning from each other to ensure that our local and international development agendas do not become mere rhetoric, but are used effectively as an opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives in our respective countries so that we collectively move Africa forward. 

Monitoring and evaluation generates evidence that informs us about the progress we are making in terms of implementing these development agendas; the challenges we are facing; and options that we should consider in terms of interventions to improve the quality of our policymaking and decisions.

One of the critical measures that we have put in place is to ensure that we are able to measure the progress we are making in implementing these development agendas through producing credible evidence in the form of statistics as coordinated by Statistics South Africa. However, much more still needs to be done and as South Africa we stand to learn more from peer countries that are present in this Indaba.

Monitoring the NDP

Ladies and gentlemen:

In South Africa we have a range of monitoring initiatives that are aimed at generating information that helps us know if we are on the right track towards the attainment of our development goals. Just to mention a few:

·      Firstly, we monitor the implementation of the National Development Plan Vision 2030 through the 5-year Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).  In this regard, Cabinet engages with monitoring evidence via reflection on the government programme of action (the POA) at least 3 times a year. During these engagements, Cabinet dedicates an entire week discussing each of the 14 priority outcomes and makes strategic decisions regarding interventions that must be implemented to improve policy implementation in specific targeted areas.

In the economic sector, for instance, government engages with matters of radical economic transformation wherein some of the key interventions relate to how government can move the economy forward by utilising key levers at its disposal such as transformative procurement spending, development focus by the Development Finance Institutions and State-Owned Companies, and better management of mining and other licencing.


We have also adopted improvement plans like the 9-point plan and Strategic Infrastructure Projects to reignite economic growth and also address structural constraints in order to turnaround our economy to be more inclusive.   We believe that through these strategic interventions we will overcome the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality that the NDP seeks to address in the long-term.


·    Secondly, we provide delivery support to special areas through Operation Phakisa, which is a ‘hurry up’ methodology adapted from the Big Fast Results approach of Malaysia. Through Operation Phakisa we undertake detailed operational planning and monitoring with key stakeholders in society drawn from the private sector, civil society, public entities and all spheres of government in what we refer to as the Operation Phakisa Delivery Labs. 


So far we have successfully initiated and implemented 7 such delivery labs.  These are: (1). Oceans Economy; (2) Scaling up the Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance Programme; (3) Leveraging Information Communication Technology (ICT) ICT in Basic Education; (4) Galvanising Growth, Investment and Employment Creation along the Mining Value Chain and Mining Related Communities; (5) Biodiversity; and (6) Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and (7) Chemicals and Waste.  

For example, through the Oceans Economy delivery lab, a total of R24,5 billion has been unlocked in investments. This global figure consists of R15,6 billion of investments by government and R9.1 billion of private sector investments, as well as R1,25 billion of private sector investments in the process of being secured. A total of 6 517 jobs have been created.


·   Thirdly, we regularly engage communities through Izimbizo (community meetings) and other frontline monitoring programmes to ensure that we are listening to our people and take their lived experiences as evidence to improve the quality of public services. We monitor development progress at the coal-face of service delivery such as in hospitals, clinics, schools, police stations, water reticulations points, transport, housing and other infrastructure projects. This type of monitoring is also important for ensuring the use of monitoring to bring about hope to the people that government is indeed caring and has put plans and systems in place to improve their quality of life.


We are inspired by the incisive words of the great revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral, who once said: “Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes or failures. Claim no easy victories.”​


We have established a National Evaluation System to produce more in-depth and objective analysis of our policies, programmes and systems to sharpen their design, efficiency, effectiveness, value for money, impact and sustainability. 


So far we have 59 evaluations in the National Evaluation Plan covering about 10 billion US dollars’ worth of government expenditure. Provinces and departments are also undertaking their own evaluations as part of institutionalising the practice across government, with over 400 evaluations planned over a period of three years.


These evaluations allow us to go beyond what are sometimes superficial monitoring reports to take a deep dive into what is really happening in our programmes and services. I regularly present findings of evaluations to Cabinet and just in the last month Cabinet has considered evaluations on government action around Violence Against Women and Children, Social Housing, Upgrading of Informal Settlements, and the National School Nutrition Programme – illustrating a range of important policies and programmes being evaluated.


This work does help us make informed decisions on how to improve our policies and service delivery in specific areas and to improve government effectiveness.

Strengthening M&E and Ensuring Consequence Management

Evaluation is a relatively new practice and we would like to continuously develop it to meet our needs. There is still a gap around using evaluations at municipal level, and some of the constraints relate to cost and time it takes to undertake large and rigorous evaluations. We are also exploring flexible, rapid and yet credible evaluative approaches to facilitate ongoing decision-making.

Most importantly, I would like to see evidence from monitoring and evaluation used to hold management to account and enforce corrective measures. There must be proper consequent management where there are transgressions. I hope that through this Indaba we can gather ideas on how to strengthen this aspect of using evidence to ensure consequence management, whilst also managing the negative unintended consequences of punitive measures by providing better incentives.

As a lawyer by training, I believe that good legislative instruments can go a long way to address this aspect and ensure systematic institutionalisation and sustainability of monitoring and evaluation practices in our countries.​

Concluding Remarks

The use of evidence does not happen in a vacuum. Good leadership is fundamental for giving direction and ensuring that decisions are informed by sound evidence. Through leadership, countries and multilateral bodies are able to build sound institutions and bring along people in their development path through participatory mechanisms that value collective wisdom, fairness and equity. Important bodies like the UN, the AU and others emerged out of decisions by leaders who realised that collective wisdom is the key solution to improve our lot. This 1st Africa M&E Indaba might be one of those key turning points in our journey of ensuring that monitoring and evaluation makes a difference in the lives of our citizens.

I like insights from the most recent ‘World Development Report (2017)’ produced by the World Bank, which summarised three principles for rethinking governance for development, namely:

1.        “Think not only about the form of institutions, but also about their functions… Commitment, coordination and cooperation are the key functions that underlie policy effectiveness…;​

2.        Think not only about capacity building, but also about power asymmetries…Power asymmetries can lead to harmful consequences and undermine the core functions of institutions through exclusion, capture and clientelism (as we say in South Africa, Batho Pele or People First);

3.        Think not only about the rule of law, but also about the role of law…The report discusses three roles of law: in shaping behaviour, in ordering power, and in providing a tool for contestation.” As the legal fundis say, it’s not only about the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law.

It is against this background that I welcome all of you to this ground-breaking event, the 1st African Monitoring and Evaluation Indaba. It is starting small, but the partners present here are big enough to chart a way forward that can change the quality of life in our continent for the better.

Lastly, I would like to reflect on some of what I believe are the critical success factors that could help ensure that decision-makers do use M&E evidence, namely:

·        Keep it simple. Sometimes the challenge is that information is presented in a manner that is very technical and not digestible to a decision-maker who has many other things to do. So, the simpler the presentation of evidence, the better the chance of its appropriate use for decision-making.

·    Make it fit-for purpose: recommendations and options for improvement should address the problem in an intelligible manner that is linked to the strategic agenda.  For instance, it becomes easier to take seriously evidence that is linked to the strategic and developmental agenda of government than information that is merely academic in nature.

·         Do balanced analysis: political decision-makers are sometimes viewed as people who only want to hear good news. However, if analysis is rigorous enough and shows a balanced view of the situation, evidence is likely to appeal to the decision-makers as unbiased. In that way we inculcate a culture of ensuring that problems are not hidden, but are addressed based on credible information.

·         Time is of essence: Pressures to make key strategic decisions are very high. So it is imperative that evidence producers, including M&E systems, should gear themselves to service the needs of decision-makers more comprehensively by producing just-in-time quality evidence. Innovations in the field of modelling of social media data and the 4th industrial revolution are providing opportunities for solutions in this regard that complement traditional approaches like evidence from research studies, evaluations, official statistics and administrative data.


Ladies and gentlemen, I trust that this Indaba will not be a mere talk-shop, but a serious opportunity to start a dialogue on critical matters of common interest among the African countries and development partners. I am pleased to note that there is provision in your programme for time to collectively reflect on practical actions that will be taken forward post this event. This is very commendable!


I thank you for taking time to join us this evening and I wish you all the best in your deliberations in the course of this two-and-a-half days. In those few words, I hereby launch the 1st Africa Monitoring and Indaba!


I thank you!​

Copyright © DPME     Terms & Conditions | Disclaimer | Legal | Privacy Policy | Webmaster