The review of related literature has assisted in establishing the... administration in government and in managing relations between countries. The

The review of related literature has assisted in establishing the... administration in government and in managing relations between countries. The



The review of related literature has assisted in establishing the main role of public administration in government and in managing relations between countries. The topic of the literature reviewed includes: the role of public administration in governing; the organization of foreign policy in public administration; the origin of the concept of diplomacy as a means to implement foreign policy; the impact of globalisation on the profession and the process of diplomacy; and the challenges diplomats have to contend with to promote and defend South Africa’s foreign policy objectives in a global context. The literature also reviews South Africa’s bilateral and multilateral relations, objectives of the country’s foreign policy and the capacity challenges to implement its foreign policy. The related literature reviewed establishes that for the implementation of the foreign policy of a country, diplomats need to be multi-skilled with relevant public administration skills to efficiently and effectively execute their mandate.


Public administration plays a central role in any situation of the daily lives of the inhabitants of the world. Public administration is responsible for governments governing, and without this institution, an elected government will not be able to provide services. Hughes (1998:22-30) points out that the characteristics of public administration in governance were set out in 1920 by the German sociologist Max Weber and later supported by the American Woodrow Wilson.

The characteristics are as follows: there should be a clear separation between politics and administration because each has a distinct role to play in government; administration should be ongoing and predictable; operating under written guidelines and simple rules; administrators should be appointed on the basis of qualifications and should be trained professionals; the organization of

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public administration must reflect a functional division of labour and a hierarchical arrangement of tasks and people; resources should belong to the organization and not the administrators; and the principal motivation for administrators should be a sense of duty and a sense of public interest, which should override organizational or private interests. To the present day, these principles, as spelt out by Max Weber in 1920, still form the basis of public administration throughout the world (Hughes, 1998:22-30).

In support of the above views, Brasser-Pereira (2005:1) points out that the strength or capability of the state organization depends on the quality of its public administration. Brasser-Pereira (2005:1) further argues that the strategic core of government must rely on professional senior civil servants of the highest quality working closely with politicians in making government decisions and implementing them. Brasser-Pereira (2005) in support of Peters and Pierre

(2003:1) point out correctly that legislators and political executives may promulgate legislation and regulations destined to change the conditions of their society, but unless these laws and policies are administered by public administrators, they will remain on paper with no proper implementation.

According to Peters and Pierre (2003:1) the main role of public administration is to implement government laws, with this implementation shaping government policies that result in or from these laws. Public administrators act as advisors to politicians who are formally mandated by the government to be responsible for policy and law in a specific sector (Peters and Pierre, 2003:2). May (2003:222) also points out, correctly, that policies enacted by governments do not only contain intentions or goals, but also the following elements: a mix of instruments or means of accomplishing the intentions; a designation of a governmental entity or entities mandated to implement those intentions; and the allocation of resources for the requisite tasks. All these elements require public administrators with the relevant leadership and policy management skills for successful execution and proper public administration organizations.

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According to Bryner (2003:300), the traditional role of public organizations such as the DFA is to implement policies promulgated by their respective governments. The success in the implementation of government policies is dependent on the capacity of public administration (Bryner, 2003:300). Despite being responsible for the implementation of government policy, public administrators have also been at the centre of policy making. Public administrators work closely with politicians in the policy making process which include, according Bryner (2003:301), the following facets: identifying problems in society, formulating governmental responses or policies, organizing administrative mechanisms to implement policies, and evaluating the extent to which policy objectives are achieved. In summary, public administration covers the civil service, government budget, public investment, accounting, auditing and other financial management, services, strategic planning, evaluation and monitoring, economic management, the structure of agencies; and the executive decision making systems (United Nations, 1995:8) .

Brasser-Pereira (2005:7) argues that in contemporary democracies, public administration is an essential tool for good governance and achievement of overall well-being of citizens and economic development. In order for public administration to achieve these objectives, it has to be guided by certain principles that could be summarised as following: the government will provide direct services through its statutory civil service that involves the use of state power and resources; public administration will be composed of professional and high-level civil servants recruited according to merit and trained according to the ethos of public interest; public officials will be committed to effective and efficient functioning of the state organization and rule of law by putting into practice classic principles of public administration; and public officials must be accountable to the state organization and to society in all their activities through classic mechanisms of administrative supervision and auditing (Brasser-Pereira,


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3.2.1 Public Administration in Government Policy-Making Process

May (2003:222) points out that the objective of any public policy is to create a framework of action to address societal problems or for providing goods and services to segments of society. Starling (2002:21) explains public policy as a purposeful course of action undertaken by any government in dealing with a social or economic problem. Despite the fact that policy making is a territory for politicians in any government, Real (1997) argues that in the policymaking process there are roles and inputs for both politicians and public administrators.

The role of both the politicians and public administrators differ only on the frequency and style given external environment of policy formulation (Real,

1997). Minogue (2001:5) argues that currently there is no clear separation of roles between politicians and administrators in the policy process in so far as both politicians and public administrators use a variety of policy making instruments. May (2003:225) identified and categorized the following fourteen policy implementation instruments: direct government provision; governmental corporations and sponsored enterprises; economic regulation; social regulation; government insurance; public information; charges and special taxes; contracting; purchase of service contracting; grants; loans and loan guarantees; tax expenditures; vouchers; and tout liability.

Real (1997) points out that public administration’s critical role in policy formulation is that: the administration is the holder of basic information necessary for policy formulation; the administration has different types of expert knowledge contributing to the analysis and prevention of problems and to the anticipation of solutions; the administration is also capable of forwarding-thinking through strategic thinking skills in its reservoir to minimize policy uncertainty about the future; and the administration is guided by values of impartiality towards the citizens and loyalty to the politicians, and by ethics that are visible in the behaviour and practice of public servants.

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In initiating policy, public administrators are expected, together with politicians, to identify social or economic problems in the whole of society or a certain segment of society that might be addressed by the enactment and implementation of new laws and policies. The identification of policy needs does not happen in isolation but is made in policy worlds comprised of multiple publics with competing interests (May, 2003:226). May (2003:226) further points out that in democratic states, highly fragmented interests groups called ‘the publics’, strategically engages with both politicians and public administration on policy matters in an attempt to ensure that policy decisions accommodates their interests. The purpose of these engagements is mainly to have the publics’ views dominate the process of political problem definition, policy formulation and implementation

(May, 2003:226). In dictatorial or non-democratic states unaccountable politicians and public administration decide on what they think is good for their society and independently formulate policies and legislation to address that, away from the publics. In other systems, the political class that is leading government will accommodate the needs of individuals outside government who are their sponsors or members of the same class in deciding on the nature of the policy to be formulated. The difference in democratic societies is interests groups who have no affiliation to the ruling party are also able to fully participate in the policy process by using their own resources to galvanize support, for example, by bringing in experts to ensure that their interests are protected when the final law or policy is adopted.

Once the problem has been identified, public administrators will have to use their policy making skills to define the actual needs that may resolve the identified societal problems and present these proposals to government. Bryner (2003:301) is of the view that any misperception of the identified societal problem directed at addressing the symptoms and not the root causes may result in the proposed policy response being unable to realise the desired results. This happens often in situations where public administrators have skill deficiencies in leadership and

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policy management in initiating and formulating policies in support of their political principals.

After initially identifying societal needs, public administrators will then proceed to formulate a government programme of action and ensure the proposed programme forms part of the policy agenda for the legislative programme of the governing body (Bryner, 2003:301). According to May (2003:222), the crafting of policies is a long process of analysis of given societal problems and options, creating balanced and politically acceptable courses of action, and finally obtaining/making an authoritative decision to present the proposed policy to the governing body for consideration and enactment. The governing body, on the advice of public administration that the proposed programme is the only viable means to address the societal needs, will then enact the proposal into policy or law. The enactment of the proposed programme into policy or law authorizes public administration to carry-out the policy and also the appropriation of funds that will be needed by the administration to implement the policy (Bryner,


As the policy is being formulated, until implementation, public administrators are expected to keep checks on the whole process through a monitoring and evaluation system. Even though the role of evaluating the success of a policy is of interest mainly to politicians, administrators are expected to make a politically neutral professional judgement of the impact of policy they are implementing

(Bryner, 2003:302). The process of monitoring and evaluation, which will be dealt with in detail in the following sections, entails the assessment of policy impact, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular policy, or the capacity allocated to implement such a policy. The outcome of monitoring and evaluation will assist public administrators in making the necessary changes if and when such a need arises to ensure that the desired policy objectives are achieved through targeted implementation.

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Structure and Strategic Planning

In order for the policy or law developed or enacted to be implemented, there is a need for well organized organizational structures which are mandated to undertake the implementation. Almost every country has a government, which is an organization responsible for coordination, the division of work and the conduct of relations between the components and the whole (United Nations, 1995:50).

The highest level of organization in a country is called the state or government

(United Nations, 1995:50). At this level, the organization is the product of the philosophical values and political possibilities of the country, rather than the application of technical principles of public administration (United Nations,

1995:50). Within the government or state framework, there is a lot of scope for the application of the technical principles of public administration, particularly at the lower levels of departmentalization and operations (United Nations, 1995:50).

A system of organizational structure of government is based on rational and technical criteria for the realisation of objectives, the design and implementation of management systems and the delivery of services and public accountability

(United Nations, 1995:50).

Organizational arrangements are among the most important determinants of the administrative and managerial capabilities of a government because they affect the general utilisation of human and physical resources to ensure the well-being of its citizens (UN, 1995:50). Egeberg (2003:117) argues that the organizational structure of any organization is a normative structure made up of rules and roles that indicate exactly who is expected to do what and where. The responsibility of organizations, whether in the public or private sector, is to provide for the assignment and grouping of personnel and resources for the realisation of desired objectives (United Nations, 1995:50).

The purpose of the organizational structure is to give meaning to the goals that are being pursued, taking into consideration the alternatives relevant given the

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environment in which the organization is operating (Egeberg, 2003:117). The large number of roles that the organization has to fulfil explains the public administration’s organizational structure and size. Egeberg (2003:117) is of the view that a big organizational structure means that the organization has the capacity to initiate a number of policies at the same time, develop policy alternatives when requested and implement whatever policy is enacted in its sphere of operation. Units that make up the complete organizational structure will always reflect the various societal concerns and policy interests that are accorded systematic and continuous attention and support in the policy process

(Egeberg, 2003:117).

The characteristic of organization of government is the multiplicity of ministries, departments, commissions, boards, administrations, authorities, agencies, holding companies and corporations tasked with implementing a vast range of government policies (United Nations, 1995:50). The picture gets even more complicated when one considers the different patterns and powers of various entities within the same field (United Nations, 1995:50). For example, entities responsible for health, agriculture, foreign affairs, defence, trade, transport and internal security may all be described as government departments; but there are major differences in the amount of powers each have been given in terms of political authority and central budget and personnel processes (United Nations,


Figure 3.1 is an illustration of the structure of the Department of Agriculture

(DoA), which provides a typical example of an organizational structure of a government department. Public administration institutions achieve results through proper organizational structure (United Nations, 1995:50). The exact organizational arrangements of a government agency will depend upon the national system of administration, the strength of different institutions and processes, and the inclinations of executive authorities and legislative bodies

(UN, 1995:51). The DoA organizational structure shows that the department

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stands on five main pillars that are expected to help in the formulation and implementation of agriculture related policies and laws: agricultural economics and business development; programme planning, monitoring and evaluation; agriculture production and resources management; operations management and governance; and financial management. Under these organizational pillars, there are supporting units and sub-units specialising in various areas. Externally focused units are relevant to the execution of its mandate, namely to render agriculture related public services. Internally focused units mainly provide a service that enables externally focused units to function effectively and efficiently, for example, human resources management and development, financial management, procurement and assets management, and so on.

Government agencies need the capability to undertake strategic planning and to integrate operational activities of its units to meet national goals (United Nations,

1995:51). Acquiring this kind of capacity is partly technical and partly a governance consideration. Brasser-Pereira (2005:4) argues that every government department must have the technical capacity for the strategic planning process in order to review and guide the implementation of its plans and includes the following elements: a definition of goals; their translation into targets; and the choice of the main policies that will be adopted to achieve them. As a government department, the DoA has a strategic plan namely the Strategic Plan for the Department of Agriculture 2004, which covers the period 2004-2007.

Table 3.2 is an illustration which shows the summary of DoA’s goals, targets and also measures. The strategic plan development was informed by the capacity of

DoA organizational structure to deliver on (DFA, 2004.

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Farmer Support and


Farmer Settlement





Trade and Business


Business and




Business and


Production and

















Management and



Water use and






Food Safety and

Quality Assurance

Agricultural Finance and Cooperative


Food Security and

Rural Development

Agriculture Risk and




International Trade




Research Unit

Animal and Aqua



Research and


Land and Soil


Plant Health

Animal Health

Plant Production

Office of the

Registrar of


Figure 3.1: Organizational Structure of the Department of Agriculture

(Source Department of Agriculture: 2004)

SA Food Quality,

Quarantine &







Planning, Monitoring,

Evaluation and





Information Services

Education and



Agricultural Institute




Monitoring and


Security Services

Audit Services





Administration and


Human Resources


Legal Services













Procurement and Asset





Management and



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Table 3.1: A Strategic Plan of the DoA: An illustration of a Strategic Plan of a Government Department

Sub-programme Output Measure/Indicator Target

Farmer Settlement 900 commercial farmers commercial farmers agriculture and rural areas

Reduced poverty and

Financial Services and Cooperative Development land transferred to the transferred to the previously inequalities in land previously disadvantaged

15 village banks disadvantaged

Number of village banks enterprise ownership

Improved community based

30 viable agriculture cooperatives agriculture co-operatives

Food Security and Rural 200 000 households linked




Marketing to IFSNP projects business partnerships people

Partnership developed food insecure and malnourished people

Four commodity action plans concluded

Targeted domestic market Number of farmers in rural 10 position papers, reports support development nodes reached opportunities and by marketing information constraints


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facilitated by DoA

Production and Resource Number of reports released 3 reports released by March

Economics 2005 opportunities within and impacting on the agriculture sector

Statistics Statistical Five publications for key performance of the sector stakeholders reflecting performance and trends in the agricultural sector by


Animal and Aquaculture Animal Production Financial year 2004 launch

Production Systems strategies and guidelines improvement policy livestock development strategy strategies and guidelines aquaculture projects Aquaculture programme is launched in 2004-2005 plant production

Plant Production Systems Plant Production Strategy Sustainable ad increased Farmers and rural communities accessing production guidelines in



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Strategy and policy on Increased funding for

Development and transfer and transfer

Increased agriculture research outputs focused on enhancing production capacity of emerging farmers

Management Act


Water Use and Irrigation A policy on alternative A draft policy on alternative March 2005

Development agriculture agriculture

Land Use and Sustainable Draft policy on expanded An approved policy on March 2005

Management LandCare Programme expanded LandCare


(Source Department of Agriculture 2004)


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In order to achieve the organizational mandate, activities in the public administration need to be properly planned and managed professionally.

Strategic planning and management has been adopted in public administration to enhance performance, efficiency and effectiveness and also ensure long-term consistent planning. According to Prowle (2000:33), strategic management occurs at two levels, the strategic and the operational level, as illustrated in

Figure 3.2. Strategic plans provide the long-term road map for public administration, whilst the operational plans cover the short-term activities undertaken by the units of public administration to achieve some of the objectives included in the strategic plans. The illustration shows that shorter-term operational plans in public administration are derived from the long-term strategic plans.

Strategic Level Operational Level

Strategic planning Operational planning

Strategic implementation



Strategic monitoring Operational monitoring

(Source Prowle: 2003)

Figure 3.2: An illustration of a Strategic Management Approach

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Technological changes

Changes in professional requirements

Changes in service demands

Efficiency improvements

Projected future demands for staff


Recruitment Retention


Current numbers and grades of staff

PSD mission and strategy




Training development



Expected staff turnover

Internal promotions

Staff retirements

Projected future availability of staff



(Source Prowle: 2003)

Figure 3.3: An illustration of Human Resources Management in Public Administration

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3.2.3 Human Resources Management and Development

There has been an enormous growth in the sphere and scope of public policies governments undertake and this has resulted in tremendous growth in public expectations of services from government (Bryner, 2003:300). These expectations have added more pressure on the capacity of public administration in implementing the policies that will enable government to realise their election mandate (Bryner, 2003:300). According to Prowle (2000:110) public administration employment has traditionally, and until now, constituted a large proportion of the total workforce of any country in the world. This has resulted in governments becoming the main employer. Public administrators recruited into public organisations occupy different positions according to seniority. Incumbents in the structures of the public organizations are expected to comply with organizational norms the moment they enter the organization. Prowle (2000:116-

147) points out that Human Resources Management (HRM) in public administration is focused on ensuring strategic human resource planning, recruitment of public administrators, retention of public administrators, appraising administrator’s performance, training and development, organizational development and change management.

Strategic human resource management focuses primarily on developing plans that are directed at improving service effectiveness and/or efficiency or consumer satisfaction. As indicated in the illustration by Prowle (2002:117) in Figure 3.3, strategic human resource planning process begins with a review of factors that may impact on staffing requirements in the short or long term, such as: technological changes, changes in professional requirements, changes in service demands and efficiency improvements, projections about likely demand of future staff, staff turnover, staff retirement and internal promotions, as well as future projections about the availability of staff without new recruitment. In developing on HR strategy to address the above issues, strategies to be developed will comprise a combination of the following: strategies to recruit sufficient staff to

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deal with any shortfall; strategies to retain staff such that the level of turnover is lower than that included in projections; strategies for training of the required number of staff to address future projected shortfalls; and strategies to outsource some of the functions that may need expertise in the private sector that is not available in public administration, in a cost-effective manner.

Currently the ability to recruit staff of different professions and levels of skills to successfully undertake activities of serving the public remains the biggest challenge for HRM in the public sector. The main factor is the ability of private companies to attract individuals with excellent qualifications and experience because of the remuneration and other benefits which are better than what public administration can offer. Prowle (2000:119) correctly points out that the recruitment of staff today is a very expensive business because of the costs that are related to advertisements, selection and induction. This has necessitated the development of employee recruitment policies and plans in public administration to guide and assist HRM practitioners to recruit suitable staff and retain those staff already in the organization. When a post becomes vacant in public administration or a new function is added to a unit of the organization, HRM practitioners will utilize the existing policy guidelines which provide options on how to deal with the new vacancy.

According to Prowle (2000:120), policy guidelines may provide the practitioner with the following possible options: merging the responsibilities of the vacant or new post with another existing post; sharing the responsibilities of the post among existing staff members in other posts; eliminating or reducing the functions undertaken by the incumbent of the vacant post; outsourcing the functions of the post; and recruiting a new person to the vacant post. When a decision is made and approved for the last option, HRM practitioners need to then write an advert which specifies what the job entails, the qualifications and experience required, contact details and response time. It is also important to note that whatever style is used in writing the advert, the style must be able to

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attract good candidates (Selden, 2003:64). Selden (2003:64) points out that some governments have streamlined hiring practices particularly for the ‘hard to hire’ occupations by using technological innovations to improve the selection process and introducing public relations strategies to improve their image. The choice of media is also critical in terms of available readership to attract good candidates. During the selection, through interviewing process, the criteria to be used by HRM practitioners to select the best candidate according to Prowle

(2000:122) might include physical appearance, qualifications, experience, skills and attributes, achievements and personal characteristics.

Employee turnover has also created many challenges for public administration because in many instances the staff who leave the organization are the most efficient and effective ones. Prowle (2000:123) points out that this might result in the following negative consequences: loss of organizational memory, high costs associated with recruiting, inducting and training of replacement staff; loss of continuity; disruption in service delivery; and general organizational disruption.

Public administration HRM practitioners will therefore use policy guidelines which are directed at employee retention through the implementation of an appraisal system that will make employees feel valued, training and development that will result in career progression, provide career development path for progression to the higher levels of the organization, implementing change management arrangements that may address some of the organizational cultures that result with high staff turnover, and providing better remuneration through introduction of a system performance related pay (Prowle, 2000:123-4).

Traditional public administration was never concerned with appraising of staff performance and linking that to their remuneration because there was no emphasis on individual performance. This has changed as both politicians and the general public demand better, cost-effective public services from public administrators. Furthermore, the challenge that the private sector has presented to the public sector in relation to its ability to recruit and retain candidates with

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good qualifications, relevant skills and experience has resulted in public administration modelling its HRM policies on those of the private sector as a means of reversing this trend (Selden, 2003:63). According to Prowle (2000:124), the purpose for the implementation of performance appraisal by HRM practitioners in public administration is three-fold: to promote improved performance; to facilitate career development and ensure appropriate remuneration. Selden (2003:65) points out that performance appraisal in public administration allows for joint determination of goals and objectives between supervisor and subordinate, identifying of strengths and weaknesses in an individual’s performance; and recognizing and rewarding high performance. HRM in public administration is responsible for developing performance management guidelines for the organization with rules and procedures unique to its needs, and ensuring that the guidelines support the overall strategies and goals of the government of the day (Selden, 2003:66).

Figure 3.4 is a schematic illustration of the employee appraisal process by HRM practitioners in public administration as proposed by Prowle (2000:125). The appraisal plan starts with the supervisor and the subordinate agreeing upon the appraisal objectives of the subordinate. After the appraisal objectives have been agreed upon, the supervisor and the subordinate use the appraisal form and interviews to develop the appraisal plan. The outcome of the appraisal process will result with the determination of an official’s remuneration, personnel development plan and career pathing. Staff recruitment is also an important human resources management function because it brings into the organization individuals with specific knowledge and abilities relevant to render public services

(Selden, 2003:63). The challenges that public administration is faced with, as indicated, such as performance improvement, cost efficiency, and the realization strategic objectives, confirms the need for public administrators must possess the relevant skills needed to execute their mandates. Prowle (2000:128) indicates that training and development in public administration includes education, training, and development. HRM practitioners will be expected to develop and

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implement policies that are directed at ensuring that the organization provides or outsources specific training and development programmes to equip staff with the relevant knowledge, skills, understanding and behaviour (Prowle, 2000:128).

After training, staff should be adequately skilled and competent, resulting in improved performance.

The aspect of staff remuneration raised is key in public administration HRM as it will determine whether an organization is able to attract and retain competent public administrators. Selden (2003:65) argues that in recent years governments have opted to introduce three different types of remuneration systems, namely, skills and competency based pay, performance based compensation structures, and market based pay rates. HRM practitioners in public administration will have to utilise existing policies that are directed at guiding their activities in the design of a competitive remuneration scheme, robust employee appraisal process and execution of an employee financial appraisal system (Prowle, 2000:137). Despite the varying size of the public administrations in different countries, governments have been able to enact legislation that has resulted in the creation of standards and norms for remuneration policies in different professions of the public sector.

The challenge for HRM practitioners in a government agency is to ensure that the existing government policies are applied with creativity to contribute to staff morale and also boost performance of the organization.

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Interim reviews

Individual remuneration




Appraisal objectives

Appraisal form

Appraisal interview

Appraisal plan

Individual T&D plan




Individual career development




(Source Prowle: 2003)

Figure 3.4: Appraisal Process in Public Administration

In ensuring that public administration has the relevant human resources, organized to effectively execute its mandate, HRM practitioners are also responsible for undertaking organizational reviews, referred to as ‘work study’.

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The reviews are directed at establishing whether the existing organizational structure has the capacity to deliver on its mandate. The need for organizational development may also arise externally to the organization, when new laws or policies are promulgated by parliament, resulting in added responsibilities for the public administration agency. Organizational development may take various forms, such as restructuring of the central function; de-layering; growth in managerialism; process re-engineering; and changes in the staffing mix (Prowle,

2000:139-141). Restructuring of the central function of an organization will be necessary when there are changes in mandate to either add or reduce responsibilities.

The last core function of public administration HRM is change management.

Change management, which may culminate in either organizational restructuring or re-engineering is necessitated by: technological developments implemented in public administration; socio-economic changes in the client base being served by public administration; changes in the national and local economy which impacts on the operation of public administration; as well as political and policy changes of the government of the day or changes in management, according to Prowle

(2000:144). In brief, in planning any organizational change, HRM practitioners must have clear objectives of what that change aims to achieve, ensure that enough resources are allocated for the change process, identify opportunities and threats for the planned change within an organization, identify training needs that will facilitate the change, and to use all the information generated from the listed activities to develop an organization change plan (Prowle, 2000:145-6). An organization change plan will take into account the nature of organization change and its objective, key aspects of the change to be undertaken, activities to be undertaken in implementing the change and the individuals’ responsibilities, timescale for the change process; means of monitoring and evaluating progress in the implementation process, and contingency plans in case of failure or collapse of the process (Prowle, 2000:145-6).

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3.2.4 Public Finance Management

Governments are expected to design and implement tax and spending policies and to understand how they influence the economy as their core responsibility, to create a socio-economic environment that caters for the wellbeing and the basic needs of their communities (United Nations, 1995:115). Public policy objectives such as economic growth and increased levels of income and employment have become the criteria for managing public finances, and financial analysis has become a tool for policy development (United Nations, 1995:115). All the laws and policies of public administration need financial resources for their implementation. Sound financial management techniques are needed in order for financial resources to be properly utilized. As indicated in Figure 3.1, the DoA has a branch called Financial Management which is responsible for overall financial and asset management for the whole Department. Government financial management generally includes budget planning and preparation, appropriation by the legislature, budget implementation, accounting and financial reporting, audit and evaluation (United Nations, 1995:4). Prowle (2000:58) points out that financial management technique include: capital investment appraisal - a careful evaluation and consideration before undertaking any capital investment in a public project; strategic financial planning resource forecasting, financial evaluation of strategic options and financial modelling; and strategic resource allocation - principles, approaches and trends of resource allocation. The objective of implementing financial management in public administration is to guide public administrators to apply appropriate measures to ensure that public resources entrusted to government are utilized lawfully, efficiently and effectively

(United Nations, 1995:5).

Budgeting remains one of the critical elements for policy making and implementation. Governments’ budgets are the most important economic instruments because they reflect the country’s socio-economic conditions by

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translating government programmes and political commitments into revenue and expenditures to deliver services (UN, 1995:7). informs Feedback plan (mandate from

Strategic plan DoA 2006 with clear priorities, KRA and

Cabinet) programmes


Programme Manager,

Feedback outcomes and KRA with

Strategic clearly-stated priorities


Informs Informs

Subprogramme Manager, Individual SMS performance outcomes and KRA with priorities clearly-stated priorities agreements with KRA and


Lower Level Operational

Plans (focusing on service


Informs Informs

Senior Manager, objectives and KRA for each directorate with stated priorities

SMS member and supervisor, quarterly review PA + plan,

KRA + CMC achievement

Informs Informs

Employee performance management (EPMS)

Individual DD + AD objectives and KRA for each subdirectorate

Annual appraisal of SMS member performance and



Supervisor post assessment actions: rewards, development or incapacity

(Source Department of Agriculture: 2005)

Figure 3.5: Framework for strategic and operational planning

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A government’s annual budget provides a picture of policy implementation decisions, resulting from laborious negotiations between the executive authority, line-function ministries and other government agencies (OECD, 1996:36). The reality in South Africa’s budgeting process is that it is part of the public administrative process and is continuous throughout the year, entailing many activities and dimensions, as is reflected in the DoA’s integrated planning framework and planning as seen in Figure 3.5.

Government use one of the three common types of budgeting, namely performance-based budgeting, multi-year programme budgeting, or zero based budgeting. Each one of these methods has its own advantages and limitations.

Performance budgeting, according to Geldenhuys (1996:516), is one of the oldest modern methods of budgeting which was first introduced in 1914 by the New

York Bureau of Municipal Research. This method of budgeting looks at the cost per activity in comparison with the performance of a service unit during the fiscal year. Unlike other methods of budgeting, performance-based budgeting clearly specifies the quantitative aspect of what an agency will deliver on (Geldenhuys,

1996:516). This method focuses on the supply of funds for the performance of government activity, including the establishment of norms and standards for each an every activity to be undertaken by an administrative authority. It is based on the following elements: activity classifications – for example, security service, social service, and so on; performance measurements – cost data for activity unit or man-hours; and performance measurement and feedback – auditing

(Geldenhuys, 1996:516).

The second method of budgeting in public administration is multi-year budgeting, multi-year budgeting system is used to assist with the analysis and evaluation of existing government programmes by decision makers (Geldenhuys, 1996:518).

Unlike performance-based budgeting, multi-year programme budgeting focuses on the outputs of government programmes. Characteristics of the multi-year programme budgeting are as follows: the budgeting process clusters together

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those programmes that will contribute to the same objectives; it causes government departments to compete for funding for their individual programmes; and identifies objectives, sub-objectives and quantifiable targets to be realized within a given time period and alternative ways of achieving the desired programme goals (Geldenhuys, 1996:518).

The last method of budgeting in public administration is zero-based budgeting.

This budgeting system was first implemented in the United States of America

(USA) in the late 1970s and early 1980s under the Jimmy Carter administration

(Geldenhuys, 1996:519). Zero-based budgeting allows government agencies to identify goals and objectives, make informed decisions, review their changing responsibilities and work loads during the preparation process of a budget

(Prowle, 2000:88). Characteristics of zero-base budgeting are as follows: it allows for the evaluation of all existing and new activities and programmes; it evaluates activities and programmes based on performance, outputs and accompanying costs; policy making is given precedence over budgetary figures; it relies on scientific analysis during the budget process; and it improves administrative efficiency and effectiveness (Geldenhuys, 1996:520).

Once government has decided which of the three methods of budgeting it will use, the process of budgeting preparations will commence. The budgeting process in public administration is a composite of the following stages: first, the establishment of broad goals to guide government decision making; second, the development of approaches to achieve goals; thirdly, the development of a budget consistent with approaches to achieve the set goals; and lastly, the evaluation of performance and making adjustments (National Treasury, 2005).

The output of the policy process is the establishment of broad goals to guide government decision-making which includes assessing community needs, priorities, identifying challenges and opportunities in the budgeting process

(National Treasury, 2005). Through the consultative process during the government policy formulation stage, citizens through interest groups, non-

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governmental organizations and the private sector are engaged through workshops or seminars with politicians and public administrators on the proposed policy (National Treasury, 2005). These processes afford citizens the opportunity to debate and make inputs (financial) to the type of priorities which they feel such a policy needs to address. In the national and provincial assemblies in South

Africa, public hearings are held to obtain public input and comments on what the final product of the policy must achieve. A Government Gazette is another tool used by the South African government to inform the wider community about a proposed policy and its intended impact on the community, and also to invite comment.

Public administrators will then commission a study to understand what the current status in the community with regard to the proposed policy is. An in-depth review process will be undertaken and its findings will be used in informing the focus and the priorities of the proposed policy and its programmes (United Nations,

1995:148). All the obstacles in the current programmes will be identified to enable the development of a strategy to eliminate them. The government having set-out its mandate, will then embark on the process to develop the policies informed by the consultation process. The policies will then be used as frameworks to guide the design of programmes for implementation. All the instruments of policy implementation, such as capital asset acquisition, maintenance and replacement will be captured in the programmes to enable proper planning in the budgetary process (OECD, 1996:36).

At the second stage of the budgeting process, the public administration identifies opportunities and challenges for government services, capital assets and management capacity for the proposed policy implementation (United Nations,

1995:148). A review framework will be put into place for all existing government policies to assess their viability, and obstacles and opportunities that have arisen during the implementation stages. The evaluation will also focus on the available government capital assets’ ability to deliver public services (United Nations,

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1995:148). Information generated through the review will assist decision makers in deciding whether replacements or repairs are required to ensure that the assets are able deliver on the new programmes. An in-house evaluation process will also be undertaken to determine whether the proper structures and sufficient human capacity is in place to ensure successful implementation of the programmes.

In order for the government to undertake its functions, it will need revenue which is raised through taxes and borrowing. To allow the smooth receipt and management of revenues, a fiscal policy needs to be developed, adopted and implemented (United Nations, 1995:115). Standard financial management policy in public administration includes the following aspects: taxation, stabilization funds; fees and charges on services rendered; debt insurance and management; use of revenue; balancing the operating budget; revenue diversification; contingency planning; and management of expenditure (United Nations,


Having developed the programmatic operating and capital policies above, this stage deals with the development of strategies and projects to implement the programmes which will focus on the following: projects to evaluate delivery mechanisms; options for meeting capital needs and evaluate acquisition alternatives; identification functions, programme and activities of organizational units; and the development of performance measures. Strategic workshops or seminars will be held by various public administration units to develop strategic plans for the implementation of the agreed programmes and projects will be guided by existing government priorities and policies. Table 3.2 presents the

DoA’s framework for strategic planning. For the planning process to arrive at an organization’s strategic plan entails the following steps: formulate strategies to facilitate the attainment of programmes and projects objectives and financial goals; set a framework for budgetary compliance (in South Africa, the Public

Financial Management Act, 1999 (PFMA)); and set the type, presentation and the

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period of the budget. The PFMA compels government agencies to report nonfinancial performance in statements of service performance which will be audited at the end of the financial year. The PFMA enables public administrators to develop non-financial performance measures in statements through the provision of a development of guidelines which includes the dimensions of quantity, quality, timeliness, location and cost in establishing measures for output classes.

Processes for preparing and adoption of budgets evolved around a number of stages. Figure 3.6, provides an illustration of the DoA’s planning cycle, which also includes the budgetary cycle. According to Prowle (2000:68-9) and OECD

(1996:36), resource allocation through the budgetary process to various agencies of government is based on the following general principles: equity, which means the allocation must ensure equal share of money available for services provided and ensure equality of access to the provided services across the country; objectivity, which calls for all stakeholders in the budget process to agree that the allocation is the best possible, given the socio-economic conditions of a country; simplicity, which means that the compiled budget must be understandable and easily interpreted by all the stakeholders; economy, which compels public administrators to undertake the budget compilation process as efficiently as possible with relatively little economic cost to the overall economy; and stability, which means that the budgetary allocations do not differ widely from one financial year to another because that may inhibit medium and long-term planning by government agencies.

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Year 0

Annual performance plan of year 0

Annual budget of year 0

Five-year strategic and performance plan

Three-year medium-term expenditure framework

Annual review and oversight processes of year 0

Monthly financial reports of year 0

Performance agreements of year 0

Update of strategic and performance plan for year +2

Annual report and annual financial statements of year 0

Year 1

Quarterly performance reports of year


Third quarter financial and performance reports of year 0

Update of strategic and performance plan for year +1

(Source Department of Agriculture 2005)

Figure 3.6: Linking planning, budgeting and reporting

The drafting stage includes, the issuing of instructions; reviewing of draft budgets; consideration of draft budgets by the executive authority; and submission of final

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revised draft budgets (OECD, 1996:36). In South Africa, the National Treasury issues instructions to all government departments and provinces, giving them a timetable stating when departments must submit their draft budget, a lump sum which must not be exceeded when draft budgets are compiled, guidelines on how the budget should be prepared and an indication of expenditure by priority.

As soon as draft budgets are submitted, a review of the draft budgets process will commence. This stage allows the financial practitioners in public administration agency to prepare draft expenditure on operational activities and justify why there is a need for the requested funding (United Nations, 1995:116). Budget experts in the public administration agency called the central budget office, or the National

Treasury in the case of South Africa will then review and decide whether the budget complies with the following important elements: policy directives; reasonableness; logic of contents; and directives of the executive authority

(OECD, 1996:36). Another important role of the National Treasury is to ensure that whatever resource allocations are agreed up on in a financial year are in line with the revenue that the government has projected to collect in that financial year.

This process is undertaken to attach credibility to the motivation provided by the agency requesting allocations (United Nations, 1995:116). At this stage, budget requests are cut by National Treasury whose priority is to minimise government expenditure reviewed and also to ensure proper allocation of resources based on substantiated request (thus practicing fiscal prudence) taking into consideration mandated activities of each agency (OECD, 1996:36). This is where the battle lines get drawn between the accounting officers (Directors General) in both the

National Treasury and the individual agencies because the latter may feel unfairly treated if their requests for financial allocations are not met by the former (OECD,


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After the review, the draft budgets will be forwarded to the executive authority

(Cabinet) for consideration. This stage will only commence after the National

Treasury has compiled all draft budgetary requests from all government agencies into a single document for tabling to the executive authority for consideration.

Ministers for each agency will then present the draft budget to the executive authority for approval. The executive authority will then deliberate on each agency’s budget, looking at whether the request is in line with the mandate of the agency and whether the contents are acceptable to the legislature. This is the stage where the Minister of an agency, if not satisfied with the allocation by

National Treasury, can consult with the Minister of Finance as a means to obtain a compromise on the shortfall.

After all the issues raised by all the members of the Cabinet have been exhausted, a draft budget will be adopted and recommended to parliament for appropriation (United Nations, 1995:148). After approval by Cabinet, the draft final budget will be compiled into a legal document by public administrators in the

National Treasury for tabling in Parliament by the Minister of Finance.

Presentation of the budget by the Minister of Finance to the legislature is a major milestone in the budget process, and the tax and spending proposals receive great interest from citizens, private sector and government operating departments

(United Nations, 1995:115). The content of the document tabled before parliament will include: an explanatory memorandum; a summarizing schedule of expenditure; budget vote schedules; and supporting and substantiating documents (National Treasury, 2005).

The Minster of Finance will announce the budget proposals in Parliament in his budget speech which is basically centred on expenditure and revenue for the government in that particular financial year (from 200x to 200x). In South Africa, the contents of the budget speech will include the following: status of the economy, political and social conditions; spelling out of economic factors that impact on the budget such as foreign trade and foreign trade balance; monetary

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policy aspects that impact on the budget such as exchange rates, interest rates and money supply; social aspects that impact on the budget such as service delivery needs, poverty, disease and unemployment; existing revenue and expenditure; debt commitments; tax proposals; economic development, income and expenditure forecasting.

After the budget speech, the parliamentary process allows for debate on the budget. Members of Parliament will be given an opportunity to study the budget.

Each member of the executive authority (Ministers) for each public administration agency (department) is also given the opportunity to present their allocations individually with motivations to the legislature for approval (UN, 1995:17-18).The speech presented by each Minister on his/her budget vote will indicate the achievements made in the last financial year and also set the stage for what is to be achieved in the new financial year if the presented budgetary request of their agency is approved by parliament. All the parties are then given the opportunity to propose amendments and question some of the allocations before approval is granted. The budget will then be approved by an ordinary majority decision recorded in the minutes of the parliamentary sitting. At this point, each government agency will be authorised by law to utilise the allocated funds for the purposes that has been stipulated in the budget document and the approved agency strategic plans. Table 3.2 provides an illustration of the budgetary process in public administration.

The approval phase is the last stage in the budgetary process where the budget is to be approved by the legislature (United Nations, 1995:117). Currently, the role of legislature remains negligible to the budget process in many countries

(United Nations, 1995:117). At issue is the legislative bodies’ ability to enforce budget discipline through a system of checks and balances on the budgetary process (United Nations, 1995:117). For many countries, the majority of government compromises the role of the legislative bodies because the budget proposed by the executive authority will not receive the same scrutiny but just

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‘rubber stamping’. This has given public administrators some level of autonomy on deciding where public funds have to be used. There is also a tendency in many countries to establish extra-budgetary funds as a means to escape legislative oversight (United Nations, 1995:117). Such practices have created the impression of impropriety, where set-aside funds are viewed as a way to divert resources away from public scrutiny for partisan political objectives (United

Nations, 1995:117).

The legislature’s constitutional role in the budget process in government is to ensure that public funds identified for the implementation of public policies are subjected to explicit and legal criteria (United Nations, 1995:117). In the deliberation processes, the legislature establishes whether the interest of the public has been taken into consideration before approval can be granted. The approval phase includes the budget speech, budget debate and the evaluation of performance and adjustments where necessary on allocations to various government agencies.

In South Africa, the final phases of the budgetary process are the performance evaluation and budgetary adjustments. After the budget has been adopted and implemented, this phase evaluates whether the budget has been utilised according to set government objectives and financial goals. The evaluation arises from submission of annual reports of the public administration and the Auditor

General reports. Directors General, as accounting officers to both the cabinet and parliament , are expected to table the annual reports and with their team of top public administrators and to answer any questions that may arise in the parliamentary committees. This process allows for corrective and punitive measures to be applied in cases were misappropriations of funds are identified.

In South Africa, the PFMA provides mechanisms to deal with matters that may arise out of this evaluation process. The process of evaluation also assists in the re-allocation of resources according to need, given the identified deficit and surpluses in the various units of government, through budget adjustments. This

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normally happens in the middle of the financial year in the South African budgeting cycle. The responsible government unit’s re-allocation will be authorised for implementation (DoA, 2005).

The declining nature of the role government wants to play in the well-being of its citizens has prompted many governments to practice some tight fiscal discipline.

This has resulted in the immense cutting down of the public sector both in terms of personnel and finance. This has led to many governments battling to restructure themselves to ensure that they operate in line with the budgets in a more economic, efficient and effective manner.

The challenge facing most managers in public administration today is their ability to manage and achieve their objectives, given the scarcity of resources caused by the fiscal containment resulting from the need to reduce government deficits and the repayment of debt by central government (Jackson, 1990:11). The challenge experienced, especially by financial managers, to date is to ensure that given the expanding demands and constrained resources, appropriate systems are developed and implemented to ensure that all the financial resources invested in the provision of a service or a good equals the output (Jackson,

1990:11). This is what is normally termed value for money.

In the past many governments ignored this aspect, and were mostly interested in ensuring that they have good financial reporting systems by complying with financial accounting procedures and regulations (Jackson, 1990:13). This exercise ignored producing comprehensive statements of performance, such as return on capital employed (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and

Accountancy (CIPFA), 2005). The result of this was that politicians, analysts, managers, the auditor, and the client or consumer have difficulty in realising whether there was any economic benefit, efficiency and effectiveness in the

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provision of goods and services by the public sector institutions (CIPFA, 2005).

Performance measures were therefore developed by governments as a means to promote more effective, efficient and responsive public administration (Heinrich,


Whatever policy government decide on, such as providing structures for implementation, and funding, it is imperative to develop performance measures that will be used during policy implementation to determine whether policy objectives are being realized. Developing performance measures or indicators require clarification, from the outset, of the objectives and effects of the activity

(Heinrich, 2003:29). This will ensure that officials who are responsible for measurement will be able to interpret the information and draw up conclusions and recommendations for decision makers (CIPFA, 2005). In public administration, performance indicators are used to determine the objectives to be achieved by the organization, and against which the organization’s success is going to be measured. This calls for joint definition of organizational objectives by management and all the levels of employees to ensure joint ownership of the process. This also plays a pivotal role in ensuring that administrators are motivated to work towards the achievement of the set objectives. The application of performance indicators as a mechanistic tool of management must not ignore the impact this will have upon individual behaviour within the organization due to its link to the incentive structure (CIPFA, 2005). This can result in bizarre or undesirable outcomes when individuals are aware that they are always under constant observation. The performance measurement tools must pay particular attention to context, especially if the decision environment is both complex and uncertain. This is because measuring some of the activities undertaken by directorates in the department such as human resources aspects tends to be very difficult to quantify and measure the benefit received from some of these activities. Performance measures in public administration are linked to inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes (Heinrich, 2003:29).

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Public administrators must ensure that whatever measures and indicators are used must give information on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of all activities undertaken by the department in fulfilling its mandate. The measurement tools must encompass issues like equity, quality of service

(excellence), entrepreneurship, effort, and expertise (CIPFA, 2005). This implies that issues of equitable distribution of services, level of service and innovation or creativity need to be recognised and measured. The measuring tools must be standardised in a way that external factors, which may have either a negative or positive impact, as well as the quality of inputs, can determine actual productivity

(CIPFA, 2005). It must also be ensured that each stage of production input, intermediate output and final output has the required quality of attributes that influence the potential productivity of the input and that must be incorporated in the indicators (CIPFA, 2005). For example, in relation to intermediate outputs the attributes must include: timeliness - speed of delivery of service; accuracy - delivering the correct service; and equity - delivering equal service to all or to those who need the service most (CIPFA, 2005).

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Table 3.2: Dimensions of performance measurement in the budget process

Agency level

Stage of budget process

Budget preparations

Budget preparation

Central Budget Office

Budget Approval

Executive Authority

Measures available Use of Measures to:

Agency strategic planning and performance Make tradeoffs between agency subunits to allocate planning

Cost Accounting

Performance measures outcome funds strategically

Built budget justification for submission to central budget office

Determine overlapping services within agency

Government strategic planning and performance planning

Cost Accounting

Performance measures outcome

Make tradeoffs between agencies to allocate funds strategically

Build budget justification for submission to the executive authority

Determine overlapping services between agencies

Implications of the proposed budget for achieving government strategic objectives

Budget approval


Budget execution

Audit and Evaluation

Performance measures, accurate cost estimates, and strategic/performance plans included in the budget justification

Agency and government-wide strategic plans

Cost Accounting

Performance measures outcome

Agency strategic goals

Actual performance data

Cost accounting information

Make decision on proposed budget

Determine allocations informed by performance implications

Compare costs to marginal effects on performance during legislative funding process

Make performance expectations clear as part of budget allocation

Use spending discretion and flexibility to allocate funds in line with strategic priorities and consistent with achievement of agency performance goals

Shift focus of audits/evaluation to include performance questions, rather than only financial compliance

(Source Joyce and Tompkins: 2002)


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Performance indicators must have a variety of characteristics, such as consistency, comparability, clarity, controllability, contingency, comprehensiveness, boundedness, relevance and feasibility (CIPFA, 2005). Both

Tables 3.1 and 3.2 provide examples of measures that are used in financial management in public administration. The measures or indicators should be consistent over time, and between units. This implies that, once the meaning of indicators or measures is outlined, any unnecessary changes need to be avoided, as this will create problems when drawing conclusions. Measures or indicators should be comparable which calls for comparing of like with like to avoid discrepancies. Measures or indicators should be clear, that is, simple, well defined and easily understood (CIPFA, 2005). This will ensure that public administrators use the measures or indicators easily. Measures or indicators should be controllable, ensuring that a public administrator’s performance is measured for those areas that he/she has control over. Factoring in contingencies in measures or indicators ensures that performance is not independent of the environment within which decisions are made and takes into account the uncertainty and complexity of the external environment (CIPFA,

2005). Comprehensiveness of measures and indicators should reflect those aspects of behaviour which are important to management decision making

(CIPFA, 2005). Boundedness in measures or indicators requires concentrating a limited number of key measures or indicators of performance which are likely to give the biggest pay-off (CIPFA, 2005). Many applications require specific performance measures or indicators that are relevant to their special needs and conditions (CIPFA, 2005). Lastly, feasibility measures or indicators ensure that targets that are set are achievable (CIPFA, 2005).

It is important to note that the benefit derived from developing and implementing effective performance measures or indicators in public administration has resulted in enhanced accountability, providing evidence of success or failure.

Secondly, they have assisted in active management by providing a basis for

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planning, monitoring, control and review. Lastly, they have assisted staff motivation by providing a basis for a staff appraisal system.

3.2.6 Public Policy Implementation

The preceding sections have discussed the role of public administration from policy development to development of performance measures. In summary, the discussion has focused in detail on the development of policy, public administration organization, human resource management, financial management and development of performance measures. This section will present a brief overview on policy implementation, which in many developing countries has remained the weakest link in the public administration’s policy process (United Nations, 1995:38). Many people still equate the announcement of a policy with its implementation (United Nations, 1995:38). O’Toole, Jr

(2003:234) defines policy implementation as a burden for public administration to transform general policy objectives in a number of rules, routines, and social processes that can translate policy aims into action. Implementation of government policy can take place through a single government agency, through coordination by a number of government organizations working together, or through government outsourcing to the private sector. According to May

(2003:229), the intermediaries that are mandated to implement policy, and how they share responsibilities, is a critical aspect that will inform the establishment of a policy implementation structure.

In the implementation phase of government policy, public administration assumes a much greater responsibility in that it will determine whether the government of the day is able to fulfil its election manifesto. Policy implementation mostly entails the redeployment of human, physical, organizational and financial resources

(United Nations, 1995:38). It may also entail new relationships among groups of citizens, or between them and the government on matters of common interest

(United Nations, 1995:38).

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According to Bryner (2003:302) the implementation process is very crucial, complex and long. The implementation phase includes: interpreting legislative intent; balancing statutory and executive priorities; creating administrative structures and processes; reviewing parliamentary debates on policy formulation as regulations are devised; and building political support for the enforcement of regulations (Bryner, 2003:302). Public administration is expected to ensure that the above process of implementation is managed properly because that may lead to policy implementation failure due to one or all of the following: lack of political will; lack of appropriate implementation structures; lack of funding; opposition by some pressure groups; and so on. (Bryner, 2003:302).

Policy implementation also refers to the management of everyday operations of the project or programme, which includes an overview of performance, implementation of a feedback system, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, and management of resources, such as administrative support on finance, supplies and personnel (United Nations, 2005).

Policy implementation is one of the most challenging aspects of the policy process in public administration. Sometimes changes in existing rules and regulations are required for successful implementation (United Nations, 1995:38).

Many policy implementation plans fail because public administrators ignore important resources or linkage relationships in the implementation process

(United Nations, 1995:38). Public administrators in this phase of the policy process are expected to ensure that all the resources, be it information, equipment, funds and personnel that are required for successful implementation of the policy, are put at the disposal of the project manager (United Nations,

2005). Public administrators will then initiate the implementation project meeting which will focus on: preparing an initial schedule of activities that need to be undertaken during the project initiation phase; selecting a project manager, sponsor, stakeholders, reference groups and likely members of the project

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steering committee; developing terms of reference for the implementation of the project; and finalising the project work order (United Nations, 2005). The project manager will then use the implementation, resourcing and communication deliberations of the project initiation meeting to determine the format of the project plan and draft a plan which shows the main activities to be undertaken and allocates responsible officials (Unknown, 2005). After the project plan has been finalized, and responsibilities and resources are allocated, the implementation process will commence.

During the implementation phase, the project manager will provide overall supervision of and be accountable for the implementation process. The project manager will provide monthly, quarterly and/or annual reports to superiors about the progress made in the implementation of policy and highlighting any challenges for the realisation of the objectives. A monitoring and evaluation unit will continuously review the implementation process and also make suggestions for changes where necessary. Figure 3.1 of the DoA organizational structure shows such a unit for monitoring and evaluation of organizational programmes.

At the end of implementation an overall report will be presented showing total progress made in the implementation of the policy. For successful implementation of government policy, it has become a prerequisite that public administrators have the relevant leadership and policy management skills to manage and coordinate the implementation process.

In dealing with the complexity of policy implementation, governments use different tools to channel, direct and coordinate organizational implementation activities toward the realisation of national objectives, especially where a number of government agencies are involved in the implementation of a policy (United

Nations, 1995:51). One solution involves the setting up of small central agencies to provide guidance such as central guidance clusters covering various sectors of government operations (United Nations, 1995:51). The clusters reflect the government’s priorities, this makes it possible to integrate the contributions of

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individual organizations through the planning, budgeting and personnel processes (United Nations, 1995:51). In South Africa, the government has established clusters to coordinate and ensure effective and efficient implementation of its policies.

3.2.7 Policy Implementation in Intergovernmental Organizations

Policy formulated and implemented by intergovernmental public administration organizations, such as the UN, has increased immensely in the past few decades due to increased global collaborations in business and socio-economic development. An organization, such as the UN, encompasses in its work a widerange of member nations interests. Its main role is to determine the many policies that will serve the interests of all its member states. According to Dimitrakopoulos and Passas (2003:440), the UN is an intergovernmental organization which is characterized by an increasing delegation of powers by member states to its various agencies, whose output penetrates into national policies and legal frameworks and domestic administration. The United Nations serves as a multilateral diplomatic forum tasked with addressing a range of international political, economic and social issues, and the preservation of law and social order

(Unknown, 2005). According to the UN Secretary General Report of 1996, the organization poses a functional framework for institutional strengthening, and support for capacity building in governance, and also effective administration of socio-economic systems, thus serving as the principal organ of international public administration (United Nations, 1996).

International public administration has the same process and principles as national public administration by state organs, including policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation by its various organs (United Nations,

2005). The initiation and formulation of policy in Intergovernmental Organizations

(IGOs) like the UN is influenced by public policy proposals of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and public as well as private organizations, the

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international public interest and the media response on emerging issues, the constitutional provisions in its founding charter, the provisions of international law and court decisions and directives (Unknown, 2005). Starling (2002:21) points out that after submissions of policy proposals by the various interest groups, the UN embarks on a series of steps in its policy formulation process: statement of the issue and the objective of the proposed policy; analysis of the stated options to resolve the identified problem; choice of the best available and feasible policy options; prioritization of the actions that need to be undertaken to attain the proposed policy objectives; development of programmes and projects based on the prioritised actions; and sourcing of funds and other resources for the implementation of programmes or projects. The policy formulation process at the

UN also includes: obtaining support from national and international stakeholders for the proposed policy; obtaining the political legitimacy of the proposed policy from its member states; ensuring that there is legal framework within which the policy will be implemented; and the establishment of the capacity required for implementation (United Nations, 2005).

According to Starling (2002:21), policy implementation in international public administration organizations, such as the UN, is very complex and challenging because of a diverse number of role players, settings, cultures, and so on. that must be accommodated for successful implementation. Starling (2002:21-22) argues that policy implementation in the context of the UN includes the following phases: requesting and obtaining the permission of the target member country as well as other member countries for the implementation of the policy; allocation of funds and other resources that are required for implementation; development of projects which will be informed by strategic analysis, and prioritisation of the policy. Gulick (1937: 191-5) points out that the above implementation phase as proposed by Starling (2002) will be followed by the second phase of implementation which is based on the establishment of functions of public administration, such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, operating, budgeting and reporting. During implementation, UN administrators will

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also monitor and evaluate to determine whether the intended policy objectives are realised, and where remedial measures are needed, action is taken for effective and successful implementation of the policy (Starling, 2002:22).

3.2.8 Public Policy Monitoring and Evaluation

During policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation activities are undertaken to ensure that the policy intentions are realized and where shortcomings are identified, corrective measures are implemented. Both monitoring and evaluation are generally defined as having four main objectives: first, to monitor and evaluate results and impacts of programmes; secondly, to provide the basis for decision making on whether programme implemented need amendments or improvements; thirdly, to promote accountability for the resources used; and fourthly, to disseminate the results and lessons learned (GEF,2002:6). May

(2003:230) points out that different governments use different institutions to monitor progress in the implementation of policy including: ad hoc committees; commissions; parliamentary offices; and other monitoring and evaluation agencies.

There are five monitoring and evaluation criteria used in public administration: first, impact, which refers to measuring the positive or negative outcomes on the society targeted; second, effectiveness, which refers to measuring the extent to which the desired outcomes are realized; third, efficiency, which refers to measuring the outputs versus inputs as a means to establish the cost effectiveness of the programme; fourth, relevance, which assesses the continuous need for such a programme against new developments locally or internationally; and fifth, sustainability, which gauges whether the outcomes or success of the programme will be maintained over a long period (GEF, 2001:8).

Monitoring is defined as the systematic collection, and analysis of information for the purpose of internal and external accountability, learning from experience, and

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making future decisions (PSO, 2004: 11-12). Tools that are used in monitoring may include project or programme annual reports, medium-term review reports and final implementation reports (PSO, 2004: 11-12). In comparing the information in these reports against expectation, public administrators will review inputs, activities and outputs (PSO, 2004:11-12). Inputs include expertise and financial costs. Activities refer to reviewing of tasks assigned. Outputs refer to the results from activities.

In order for projects or programmes to be assessed, public administrators must ensure an appropriate balance of the following steps: obtaining and studying of reports from the projects such as annual project reports, progress reports, workplans, and other detailed documentation from the projects; thoroughly checking and validating gathered information from reports to determine whether the reported progress is accurate or not; and field visits to gather comments from stakeholders and the targeted groups on progress and proposed action (IFAD,


Evaluation is undertaken in public administration to establish the success of the projects or programmes on the life and well-being of the beneficiaries (PSO,

2004:12). The purpose of evaluating a project may be to stop certain activities that are harming or add certain activities that will contribute to the desired social or economic impact, or to establish external factors that are positively or negatively impacting on project outcomes (IFAD, 2005:155). Normally performance measures or indicators are used to evaluate public administration programmes. It is therefore essential that when performance indicators are developed, as indicated in the earlier sections, such measures are simple for evaluation purposes. Beneficiaries must also be involved in the determination of indicators so that all stakeholders are actively contributing in defining what is to be evaluated, and how and when to evaluate (IFAD, 2005:157). Indicators or measures used may be either qualitative or quantitative, or both, depending on their reliability and the nature of the programme (IFAD, 2005:157).

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Public administrators, in their evaluation practices, ensure that they follow established standards to ensure credibility, impartiality and transparency (GEF,

2002:7). Unfortunately, sometimes public administration is used by politicians in promoting their political careers by providing positive feedback from programmes that are failing thus failing the test of credibility, impartiality and transparency.

Given the presented arguments, the challenge for public administrators is to ensure that whatever evaluation is done is done for the purposes of determining the impact of government programme and to ensure accountability to the public.

The role of public administration in governance has been presented in detail from the development of policy, the development of public administration organizational structures and strategic plans, human resource management, financial management, the development of performance measures, policy implementation process , as well as monitoring and evaluation techniques. It has also been successfully argued that, with the support of different sources and institutions, which the capacity of public administration is critical to the

‘government of the day’s’ ability to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate.

It is therefore important that public administrators possess the relevant leadership and policy management skills for successful policy formulation and implementation. The section that follows will focus specifically on the capacity of the public administration agency responsible to implement government’s foreign policy and the challenges this agencies experience in implementing such policies in a globalized context.



As the establishment and maintenance of foreign relations is one of the policies

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of a government, governments execute this function through the establishment of the relevant institution of foreign policy administration, as part of the public service. In many countries government institutions of foreign policy are called

Ministries or Departments of Foreign Affairs or External Relations, but in the

United States it is called the Department of State. These institutions are charged with the overall machinery for executing a country’s external affairs through diplomatic representation in many countries and in multilateral organizations.

Barston (1997:11) points out that all ministries of foreign affairs have a lot in common in regard to their structures, which generally contain divisions for geographic areas, protocol, legal and administrative affairs.

Traditionally, Ministries of Foreign Affairs’ main responsibility was to ensure good neighbourliness, and peace and security among states. Foreign policy is an instrument that a government develops and adopts to guide its interactions with other sovereign states. Ministries of Foreign Affairs undertake their responsibilities of executing a country’s foreign policy through interaction with other governments in a process called diplomacy. Barston (1997:23) argues that in the absence of a diplomatic process in the maintenance of international relations, or in cases of serious disagreements between governments, irreparable damage could be done. Such conditions could be exacerbated by the nonexistence of formal contacts between governments, or official competence to negotiate, or the lack of a framework to guide the negotiation process (Barston,

1997:23). In cases where official contacts and official competence to negotiate exist, through the diplomatic process; public administrators called diplomats will be the main role players in undertaking these responsibilities. The diplomatic processes are undertaken through roving ambassadors or envoys, or through permanent representation.

Most authors believe that diplomacy started at the beginning of organized society but was formalised at the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, which resulted in the codification of diplomatic rules among sovereign and ‘equal’ states (Muldoon Jr.,

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1999:1). The main role of diplomacy and its diplomatic services was to act as a mode of communication between governments (Riordan, 2004:1). Currently, wherever a government of a country wants to establish relations with another, which is the first step in the execution of foreign policy, the establishment of contact through the appointment of representatives is very important (De

Magalhaes, 1988:9).

The development of the contacts between governments or ‘diplomacy’ has been categorized into two phases: the ‘old diplomacy’ which reached its climax in the

19 th

Century and the ‘new diplomacy’ of the 20 th

Century (Muldoon Jr., 1999:1).

Old diplomacy centred on bilateral diplomatic relations between two sovereign states, and was influenced for almost hundred years by the French system of diplomacy, features of which still exist in contemporary diplomacy such as: resident ambassadors, secret negotiations, ceremonial duties and protocol, and a culture of honesty and professionalism (Berridge, 1995:1-9). Diplomats were responsible for the establishment of good neighbourly relations, the setting of political and military alliances, and/or commercial intercourses (De Magalhaes

1988:9). Barston (1997:18) also points out that diplomatic representation was established and maintained for the following four reasons: to achieve statehood and identity in international relations; as a means of communication and a source of contact for a state to participate in international discourse; to promote, explain and defend national policies; and to collate information on international developments.

According to Hamilton and Langhorne (1995:137), new diplomacy emerged in the early 19 th

Century and was formalised and adopted in the 20 th

Century due to growing arguments that diplomacy should be more open to public scrutiny and control. Riordan (2004:1) points out that modern diplomacy and the diplomatic services evolved with the development of a nation state in the latter half of the

19 th

century. Furthermore, new diplomacy responded to the establishment of international organizations such as the UN, which compelled countries to act in a

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forum for the peaceful settlement of disputes, rather than to resort to aggressive wars as a deterrent (Hamilton and Langhorne, 1995:137). The development of intergovernmental organisations led to the establishment of new diplomatic structures and processes, influenced by more efficient and rapid working tools

(telecommunications, postal, aerial communications, and so on.), and still provide the basis for the current diplomatic infrastructure (De Magalhaes, 1988:65).

On 18 April 1961, the international community, represented by the relevant heads of state signed the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Convention covers five important elements, which still define and govern diplomatic activities: representation – diplomatic postings through the establishment of a mission; protection – diplomatic protocols and privileges to be respected and protected by each member; information – information to be shared and protected where necessary to advance the process of interactions; promotion – member states to use the process to promote their national interests; and negotiation – negotiations to be used as a process to promote peaceful co-existence (Vienna Convention,


In the past, diplomacy was regarded as a secret craft, separated by protocol and its own peculiar rites and rituals from the public at large (Hamilton, 1999). In the current globalized and information rich environment, diplomats are expected to be at the forefront of a government’s efforts to deal with difficult issues that may impact on the overall governance, security and welfare of a country, region and the world. This environment increasingly demands that diplomats be proactive in their approach, have knowledge and multiple skills to efficiently and effectively implement their country’s foreign policy objectives. According to Falk (1999), over the past decades globalisation has impacted on the craft of diplomacy and the structure of diplomacy has been severely affected by diminishing relevance of geographic distance, given the increased and modernised means of communication and transport, and the resulting impact on economic development for countries. During the Cold War, structures in which diplomatic services were

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rendered were shielded from transformation because the priority was to protect a country’s national interests mostly in secret, and no discussion was allowed about the efficiency and organization of diplomatic services in government or legislatures (Kurbalija, 1999).

After the end of the Cold War, pressure grew for the public to have a say in their country’s foreign policy making and implementation and this demand has dramatically influenced the transformation of diplomatic institutions and the work of diplomats (Kurbalija, 1999). Barston (1997:19) points out that the establishment of diplomatic missions today is mainly influenced by economic factors that are of national interest. According to Shalikashvili (1994), a diplomat of today operates inside the milieu of rationality, of half measures, of compromises, and of the kinds of complex arrangements called peaceful relations. Melissen (1999:xv) is of the view that the expanding agenda and increasing volume of diplomatic business has led to added activities of diplomats in areas of a technical nature and has led to the overall transformation of diplomacy. Barston (1997:1) argues that the changes in diplomacy in this era are reflected in terms such as dollar diplomacy, oil diplomacy, resource diplomacy, atomic diplomacy and global governance.

Diplomacy has grown wider, far beyond the rather narrow politico-strategic concept, as a result of the changing global environment (Barston, 1997:1). This metamorphosis of diplomacy has led veteran diplomats into unfamiliar territories and is impacting negatively on their efficiency and effectiveness in executing their mandates (Melissen, 1999: xv). Today, the diplomatic territory is no longer reserved for Ministries of Foreign Affairs only, as officials from different administrations of governments with specialised skills also engage in diplomatic activities in pursuing their country’s national interests is international organizations such as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and other intergovernmental organizations (Barston, 1997:1).

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Bilateral diplomacy can be referred to as diplomatic activity that is limited to the conduct of relations between two states to facilitate and maintain interactions between the two countries, via resident missions or embassies, headed by a key diplomat such as resident ambassador or non-resident ambassadors or envoys

(Muldoon Jr., 1999:1). The purpose of bilateral diplomacy is to sustain interactions and create dialogue between states for the resolution of problems of common or reciprocal interests through the process of consultations and negotiations (De Magalhaes, 1988:10).

De Magalhaes (1988:56) argues that the establishment of a bilateral diplomatic process resulted from the need to avoid a sovereign state having to submit directly, through its political leadership, to rules of negotiations of another state and thereby make concessions. Such concessions may be interpreted as weaknesses by another state, or can create the risk of international tension if a state is not prepared to make a concession (De Magalhaes, 1988:56). Therefore, bilateral diplomacy is the only way two states can interact through an established framework of bilateral communication with clear terms of reference on how to initiate, undertake and conclude negotiations after concessions are made and an agreement is reached (De Magalhaes, 1988:56). This was done with the understanding that a diplomatic representative is in a better position to make concessions during negotiations, which a Head of State and/or Government would not be able to do during interactions with another Head of State and/or

Government (De Magalhaes, 1988:56). When an agreement is reached, both

Heads of State and/or Government of the two countries will then host a meeting to give it political authority by signing the agreement negotiated by diplomats.

The dominance of bilateral diplomacy as the main process of states engagement

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waned significantly after the two World Wars because multilateral diplomacy blossomed after the establishment of the League of Nations, which was later replaced by the UN and other regional and intergovernmental organizations (e.g.

Bretton Woods Institutions) (Aviel, 1999:8). Towards the middle of the 20 th

Century many states realised that the international arena had become too big and too complex for traditional bilateral diplomacy to manage (Cohen, 1999:14).

According to Cohen (1999:14) the formation of the UN was the vindication of new diplomacy and also an effort to ensure that more states were given a platform for independence and symbolic equity.

Ruggie (1993:23) point out that the move to multilateralism amplified a trend that had begun in the 19 th

Century which was opposed to bilateral diplomacy especially in the form of what was then called ‘conference diplomacy’. Muldoon

Jr. (1999:2) in support of this assertion, argues that the decision made by the international community led to the rapid establishment of international and regional organizations to facilitate state interactions and relations in the past five decades. The development of multilateral structures resulted in the development of diplomatic protocols which defined procedures, establishment of permanent secretariats and permanent accredited diplomatic missions at these multilateral institutions (Muldoon Jr., 1999). Some of the engagements or issues which were previously dealt with through bilateral diplomacy were elevated for attention at the multilateral level. The rise of multilateralism resulted in the diplomatic corps of every country being expected to accommodate the new paradigm with the acquisition of relevant skills to enable them to execute their new mandates.

The adoption of the UN Charter in 1945, which resulted in the establishment of six organs, reaffirmed the importance of multilateral diplomacy in dealing with global challenges that demanded a collective response to complex global political challenges by member states (Aviel, 1999:8). The six organs were: the Security

Council, the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, the Secretariat,

Economic and Social Council, and the Trusteeship Council (Aviel, 1999:8). When

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the UN was established in 1945 it only had 55 member states whereas today it has 191, and this change has brought new dimensions and pressures on the structures of international relations, and has had a large impact on the UN and its agenda (Mills, 1999:15).

The challenges to the UN has further been compounded by the arrival of new diplomats, especially from new member states (specifically from developing countries) with their diverse cultures, languages, interests and social conditions bringing new dimensions and pressures to international affairs and multilateral organizations (Mills, 1999:15). The agenda of the UN today includes issues that in the past would have been referred to as ‘domestic issues’ becoming subjects of international negotiation, and issues that used to be primarily international issues are now affecting domestic interests (Aviel, 1999:12).

In addition, increasing multilateralisation of diplomacy with its complex rules, regulations and procedures has impacted severely on the new issue-areas in foreign policy and led to the complete overhaul of institutions of foreign policy administration (Melissen, 1999: xiv). A number of countries have found their FS institutions under great pressure to provide multi-skilled diplomats able to operate in a complex international environment to safeguard their national interests.

These skills deficiencies are apparent in most developing countries as a result of the non-existence of institutions to train government officials in the administration of international relations.

According to Barston (1997:2), in multilateral diplomacy, diplomats face more challenges in the 21 st

century because of a shift in the parameters of the international political environment. Barston (1997:3) points out that the growth in membership of the UN General Assembly has also resulted in the emergence of

UN conference management styles, lobbying, and corridor diplomacy. The rapid development in communication technology and faster transportation developments has led to cut a blurring of the lines of sovereignty, as

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transnational and sub-national actors challenge the monopoly of member states to manage international relations, and a breakdown of the intellectual categories of which diplomacy has been understood (Barston, 1997:3).

According to Sjolander (1996:605-608), intergovernmental institutions, such as the WTO, the IMF, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the

World Bank have increased the ease, speed and security of goods, capital and knowledge flow across national boundaries, resulting in both the transformation of the international economy and the practice of diplomacy. This new form of diplomacy involves the art of building and managing the coalitions involving other states before and after negotiations on particular issues of interest (Aviel,

1999:12). The desired outcome of multilateral negotiations is to secure a resolution or obtain a multilateral agreement on an international matter, to achieve this, a diplomat needs to be multi-skilled with the relevant portable skills to fulfil this complex responsibility. The main challenge for diplomats in a multilateral setting is to design negotiations in such a way that they encourage the creation of coalitions supporting their national interests in multilateral agreements and to minimise the possibility of coalitions opposed to these agreements (Aviel, 1999:12).

3.3.4 Diplomat and Diplomacy

Barston (1997:2) is of the view that tasks of diplomacy can be divided into six areas. These six areas are: representation, which includes presentation of credentials, protocol, defence of domestic policies, negotiations and interpreting domestic policies of the receiving state; identifying key issues in the receiving country that have implications in order to advise or inform the sending; laying the ground work for a new foreign relations initiative; reducing friction and oiling the wheels, contribution to order and orderly change; and lastly creating, drafting and amending of a wide range of bilateral and multilateral agreements. A public administrator that is tasked with ensuring that all the above areas of diplomacy

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are executed is a ‘diplomat’. In short, a diplomat is an agent of the state, devoid of political power, responsible for undertaking negotiations on behalf of the state with another state or states in the process called diplomacy. Diplomat comes from the Greek word diploma which means to execute the foreign policy of the state they represent as permanent resident of another country (De Magalhaes

(1988:19). Heading the diplomatic corps of a country in a mission or embassy is an Ambassador (De Magalhaes, 1988:19). The word ambassador comes from the Greek word presbeis which meant ‘important person’, ‘leading man’ and was associated with the idea of ancientness and thus the privilege attached to it (De

Magalhaes (1988:19). The presbeis was accommodated by a foreign country in a place called presbeia to carry his/her mission, which is today called an embassy.

Presbeia is a Greek word which means ‘a mission of noteworthy or venerable people’ (De Magalhaes (1988:19).

De Magalhaes (1988:19) explains the following elements as comprising the work of ambassador: An ambassador must provide reports with advice to his/her country on issues of national interests; an ambassador must act according to the instructions received from his/her country; an ambassador must use his/her time appropriately to achieve his/her mandate because time and opportunity lost shall not be regained; an ambassador must not receive any monies or rewards for something harmful to his/her country; and an ambassador must be able to skilfully use words and time as the only resource at their disposal to execute their tasks. This explanation largely still hold true today.

Trevelyan (1973:85) argues that apart from engaging in negotiations, an ambassador’s major responsibilities also include reporting on political, social and economic information gained through his/her interactions with government officials and political leaders of the receiving state. In order to undertake this process of negotiation of agreements successfully, a diplomat must understand and have the skills to undertake preparatory work for negotiations, know the techniques to approach discussions or engagements and be able to draft

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agreements between two or more countries (De Magalhaes, 1988:53).

The ability of officials at the mission or embassy to identify political or economic developments in their country of representation that will have adverse consequences and to advise their governments accordingly requires considerable skill in analysing different scenarios and in making informed judgement (Barston, 1997:2). The emphasis placed by member states on the new diplomacy, which manifested itself in the United Nations, has caused the traditional diplomat whose main task was to carry out bilateral diplomacy to be confronted with the broadened task of multilateralism and so with operating in unfamiliar territories (Muldoon Jr., 1999:2).

Aviel (1999:11) contends that multilateral negotiations have become more complex and the layers include multi-parties, multi-issues, multi-roles and multi values. Urguhart (1972:xiii), in support of Aviel (1999) and Muldoon Jr. (1999), points out that multilateral diplomacy is a laborious and nerve-racking process that requires great stamina as well as intuition, intellect, understanding and negotiating ability. These complexities in diplomacy have compelled other government agencies to get more and more involved in international affairs to provide the specialist skills that are lacking in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs

(Merchant, 1964:117 and Watson, 1984:223).

According to Cohen (1999:1), diplomacy has arrived at an interesting stage in its evolution, as new areas have emerged in multilateral diplomacy outside the traditional political issues. Issues that have taken the centre stage in external relations include industry, aviation, environment, shipping, customs, health, sport, and so on. (Barston, 1997:5). And this has been particularly important in giving momentum to the process of transforming the diplomatic profession (Barston,

1997:5). Cohen (1999:1) also argues that the traditional task of diplomats is increasingly challenged by non-diplomats inside and outside governments, who are also undertaking diplomatic tasks in their areas of specialization, raising

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doubts about the contemporary relevance of the institution of Foreign Service

(Cohen, 1999:1). There is also an increased visibility of Heads of State or

Government undertaking diplomatic activities by dealing directly with details of foreign policy and the expense of the institutions of foreign policy administration

(Watson, 1984:223).

Multilateral diplomacy has now placed more emphasis on the continuous, complex process of managing and maintaining world peace through the international system, but diplomats are still expected to undertake traditional functions of advancing or protecting national interests within the system

(Muldoon, Jr., 1999:3). Mills (1999:15) points out that when the UN was established, relatively inexperienced diplomats were appointed; over time and these diplomats gained experience by taking advantage of opportunities for training that was provided by their countries, other countries and the UN itself.

Barston (1997:3) points out that due to the growth in multilateral diplomacy, ambassadors are finding their decision-making powers being eroded, and at the same time their responsibilities are changing from the traditional focus on political issues to also focusing on economic and commercial issues. Given the number of opportunities for meeting face-to-face presented by multilateral summits, conferences and bilateral visits, ministers know their opposite numbers far better than most of their diplomats and no longer rely only on ambassadors to represent them abroad (Riordan, 2004:4). These developments have also enabled diplomats to shift the blame for failure to execute their mandates; in many instances, they cite interfering politicians, unreasonable behaviour by other countries and the general unpredictability of international affairs as factors that affect their ability to achieve their country’s foreign policy objectives (Riordan,


Despite the current onslaught on the role of the diplomat in diplomatic activities, the role of the ambassador and his/her staff at the mission remains crucial.

According to Barston (1997:5), ambassadors still play an important and relevant

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role for their respective countries in providing political assessment, involvement in economic and trade work and participation in international conferences.

Furthermore, the institution of the Foreign Services must continue as a lead ministry to coordinate the formulation, implementation and follow-ups of all international agreements because of its technical capacity in these areas

(Barston, 1997:5). The issue of a proper curriculum in public administration teaching and training of diplomats becomes crucial in addressing the abovementioned skills required in the re-orientation of diplomats.

Diplomacy has been restructured in many ways to meet the challenges brought about by globalisation and technological change. Cohen (1999:1-2) correctly points out that, in the past, diplomacy was seen as the main activity used by governments to manage international transactions, but gobalisation has eroded that exclusive role and the prerogative of states and their FS institutions. Barston

(1997:13) indicates that since international economic issues have become a priority in the international affairs, FS processes and personnel have generally been found too weak to cope. The institutionalisation of NGOs and their role in the diplomatic process due to the impact of globalisation on civil society has also added a new dimension to diplomacy (Barston, 1997:5). States continue to play an important role, but supranational organizations, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations have revived the medieval right of nonsovereign entities to conduct diplomatic activities and conclude agreements with their own protocols (Cohen, 1999:2). The mere fact that governments now engage legal firms or private consultants to undertake negotiations on their behalf with other governments shows the threat to the relevance of the diplomatic profession (Cohen, 1999:2). In other instances governments, in trying to deal with the human resource capacity for appropriate specialist skills, have seconded officials from the relevant domestic ministries to the line functions in the foreign ministry (Barston, 1997:13).

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In attempting to develop capacities to deal with these challenges, diplomacy has been broken down into areas of specialisation. According to Moses and Knutsen

(2001:1), new types of political actors, new types of communication, new international issues and issue-areas, as well as new modes of international cooperation have impacted severely on the organization and conceptual model of foreign policy administration. This has given rise to categories of diplomacy being developed and implemented in the diplomatic world. All forms of diplomacy take place under the two main categories of diplomacy, multilateral diplomacy and bilateral diplomacy. Under these categories, other modes of diplomacy have emerged, such as social, political and economic diplomacy.

The first common and traditional means of diplomacy is political diplomacy, which formed the basis of the origin of diplomacy described earlier. This was aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence between countries. Political diplomacy could be regarded as the main driver that led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between countries. Political diplomacy is all about allowing nations to interact through their resident representatives to resolve any political differences peacefully and not through declaring war against each other. There is a whole array of diplomatic means in action today which falls under this mode of diplomacy, such as preventative diplomacy and quiet diplomacy (which has been associated with South Africa’s foreign policy on Zimbabwe). During his re-election campaign on the 18 March 2004, President Mbeki pointed out that there was nothing such as loud diplomacy; all diplomacy is quiet diplomacy (Mbeki 2004).

Today’s peaceful coexistence between countries that share borders but have different strengths in military and economic terms could be attributed to this means of diplomacy.

The second mode, which emerged in the globalisation era, is public diplomacy.

Public diplomacy entails efforts undertaken by a government of a country seeking to influence public perception or a certain sector of a community in another

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country in order to turn the foreign policy of the target country to its advantage

(Potter, 2002:3). As to be indicated later, the apartheid government established a department of information to undertake this form of diplomacy in its external affairs. Public diplomacy, according to Barston (1997:22), is a specialist responsibility added to missions or embassies to disseminate positive information about the image of a country, its people and lifestyle, and gathering support of foreign media to report favourably on the country. The promotion of tourism and the encouragement of investment are good examples of public diplomacy. Booth

(1979:487) points out that there has been an increase in appointment of diplomats by many countries to focus solely on public diplomacy. The objective of public diplomacy is achieved mainly through promotions, and media and electronic advertisement that are facilitated by governments’ representations in a country. Public diplomacy by states is also being challenged, because a great number of organizations not associated with governments are currently gathering information and publicising it to influence public opinion, and they are doing so with a lot of success (Barston, 1997:22).

At the UN, the focus has shifted from peace and security as its core business to economic development matters. The UN Summits and Regional and Continental

Summits have become a common means of pursuing Conference/Summit diplomacy at another level, for example, the World Summit on Sustainable

Development (WSSD) held in September 2002 in Johannesburg. Countries are now forced to assign diplomats to deal with summit issues on a full-time basis, because whatever decisions are taken are expected to be ratified, adhered to, and implemented by all member countries of the organisation holding the summit.

Most of the activities that take place at the UN and its other agencies may also be termed ‘development’ diplomacy. There has been a significant increase, especially by the developing countries of the South in their engagement with the countries of the North, in crafting agreements that will enable them to secure finance for development purposes.

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According to Feketekuty (1996), commercial diplomacy is the diplomacy undertaken by a government, aimed at influencing foreign government policy and regulatory decisions that affect global trade and investment, to achieve its own objectives. According to Barston (1997:15), the increasing move to manage trade at the central and representational level in many countries has become the main focuses of a country its foreign relations activities. For many countries, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign representations focusing mainly on commercial diplomacy. The aim of commercial diplomacy is mainly to facilitate the promotion of investment and trade in the products of a given country into the country of representation. A diplomat tasked to also advance his/her country’s commercial interests must have a clear understanding of which imperatives to advance and the implications thereof. Global markets for a country’s product do not exist by nature but are created by a marketing effort

(Keegan and Green, 2000:20).

Every country, one way or another, protects the commercial interests of local enterprises by maintaining control over market access of foreign products. Issues which come up for discussion at the WTO in regard to global trade, for example, have severe implications for member countries, because this facilitates the process of market access through the removal of trade barriers (Keegan and

Green, 2000:26). In intergovernmental organizations, such as the IMF, World

Bank and WTO, the diplomatic process is mainly directed at securing development funds, the scheduling of loan repayments and good governance

(Barston, 1997:15). Each member country is therefore expected to participate fully in the negotiation, finalization and implementation of agreements through a diplomatic framework agreed upon by all member countries. At a bilateral level, countries are constantly engaged in economic diplomacy from the initiation, negotiation, drafting and ratification of trade agreements to ensure market access; and a diplomat must be capable of dealing with complex issues during negotiations. History has already proven that most developing countries falter in this area owing to the lack of relevant human resources skills.

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Despite the fact that the function of resident embassies has been eroded as a result of globalisation, there has been a major increase in government activities of international relations and new responsibilities have replaced those fallen into disuse (Cohen, 1999:4). Countries are now under pressure to capacitate and to utilize their resident diplomats to undertake economic diplomacy more than ever before, because this is crucial in ensuring economic growth. South Africa is no exception in this regard. According to Keegan and Green (2000:19), regional economic agreements, converging markets and wants, technological advancements, pressure to enhance quality and promote exports, and so on represent important driving forces for countries to position themselves globally.

The challenge for the diplomat is to fully understand the politics of the state by establishing the institutions or actors where political and economic power is centred to execute their mandate in their country of representation (Gomez,

2002:3). A diplomat must be able to undertake an analysis of the developments in the hosting state and its corporate sector to determine the nature of the relationship between the main economic sectors and the actors that is of national interest (investments, market access or imports) in order to develop a winning diplomatic strategy (Gomez, 2002:3). Furthermore, Cohen (1999:4) argues that for the successful conduct of crucial business between two states, face-to-face consultations, on-the-spot decisions and sharing of information cannot be substituted, thus the continuing need for and relevancy of permanent diplomatic missions.

3.3.6 The Context of African Diplomacy

Africa has its own traditional diplomatic protocols which cut across ethnic groups and impact on interaction across the continent. Unfortunately, no reliable literature exists to tell the story of African diplomacy, which has been practised over many centuries. Before colonisation, Africa was a borderless community.

There were many leaders who ruled different tribes in different locations with

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none of the current artificial boundaries. Good relations were maintained between different tribes who were neighbours or who were on the furthest side of the continent. Skilful and clever messengers, who would perhaps be called diplomats today, were sent to other leaders to negotiate issues of the tribes’ interest, and it is believed that they meet with much success. When such responsibilities were undertaken, strict protocol was maintained because antagonizing another tribe could lead to war.

Any dispute that arose between two tribes was settled through mediation by dispatching the messengers of the tribal head, sometimes called wise-men, to meet representatives of the other leader to negotiate and settle the dispute peacefully. These wise-men would have been inducted through experience over years and would be knowledgeable and experienced in undertaking negotiations to resolve conflicts, because failure to resolve any dispute, no matter how small could have resulted in war. The two groups of representatives were each given a mandate to negotiate on behalf of their various leaders after such a leader had consulted with his/her advisors (policy experts). When the dispute was resolved peacefully, a positive gesture in the form of an animal or any valuable item was given to the other tribe as a gift to show the high regard for such a relationship.

Marriages were often used as a diplomatic tool especially between leading families of two different tribes to intensify or consolidate long-term peaceful coexistence.

An interesting observation by Oruka (2002:59) on African diplomatic culture, which has received very little attention, is the practice of reverence for, and communication with, the dead. Through rituals during certain periods, the living and the dead negotiate peacefully to resolve any conflict in the society or assess progress that is of community interest (Oruka, 2002:59). The moral activity, which binds both the dead and the living in a multi-world morality, is critical for peace, security and economic development in the African culture (Oruka, 2002:59).

Peaceful solutions were and are still found and implemented through this process

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for the socio-political and economic benefit of a society (Oruka, 2002:59).

Diplomatic protocol in African culture focused mainly on peace and coexistence between tribes and nations. When Europeans first came to Africa in the late 19 th century, they were welcomed with the same spirit of peaceful coexistence by

Africans who believed that mutual relations are critical to the success of all humanity (Oruka, 2002:59). The lack of meaningful diplomatic resistance to the consolidation of European power was due to this belief. A European interpretation of Africa’s reaction to colonisation without any meaningful diplomatic or military resistance was that of a continent of un-intelligent people

(Oruka, 2000:60). Colonisation was then intensified on this basis and has left the scars of poverty, disease, unemployment, and so on. and a world which is still dominated by the developed countries with their infrastructure of exploitation intact (Oruka, 2000:60).

According to Watson and Thompson (2000:9), slavery with its massive and violent transplantation of the peoples of Africa damaged Africa’s development, encouraged internal conflicts and emptied parts of the continent of its youngest and fittest people. This resulted in oppression and the exploitation of resources for generations of Africans who have totally lost confidence in how to correct the situation (Watson and Thompson, 2000:9). Policy makers and implementers in developing countries have been struggling with little success for the past half century to correct this problem. Weak public administration and lack of human resources with relevant public administration skills are at the heart of the problems. These factors have reinforced Western ideas of white superiority and black inferiority, ideas that still challenge Africa’s participation in international affairs as an equal partner. Today, African diplomacy is in its third phase of resolving Africa’s problems of poverty, disease and civil wars, caused by the damages in the past half a century, through multilateral engagements.

A summit on African diplomacy was first initiated by Henry Sylvester Williams, a

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Trinidad-born barrister in July 1900, who organized the first conference on Pan-

Africanism in London (Watson and Thompson, 2000:9). The objectives of the conference were to allow African leaders and black communities across the world to define their aspirations, which included the desire for peace and freedom and an end to foreign exploitation, and to encourage unity and solidarity among

Africans through Pan-African diplomacy (Watson et al., 2000:10). The objectives of Pan-Africanism can be summarised as follows: an association or a movement, aimed at giving black people full participation in the political, social, cultural and economic dimensions of world affairs; it stands for the decolonisation of Africa, the independence of all states and is totally opposed to any global form of racial injustice or discrimination; it is committed to the universal recognition of the full dignity of black people and their equality as citizens of the world (Watson and

Thompson, 2000:10).

The diplomatic pressure exerted on European countries through engagements in seeking redress by this vocal grouping led to decolonization becoming a reality and Pan-Africanists, such as Nkhruma and Kenyatta, becoming leaders of their respective countries (Watson et al., 2000:12). N’gugi (2002:58) rightly points out that this development challenged the more dominant view of Africa from the capitals of developed countries, who often saw the world in colour-tinted glasses.

Furthermore, N’gugi asserted that he and his colleagues would rather die than live on bent knees in a world which they could no longer define themselves on their own terms (N’gugi, 2002:53). When a number of African countries became independent, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed in 1963 in

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, replacing the informal Pan-Africanism association, to continue the international struggle against colonialism and to promote Africa’s voice in international affairs (OAU, 1963).

Globalisation, as indicated in the earlier sections of this study, has left African countries and other developing countries with little option as they are being pulled into global political, economic and cultural relationships. Two schools of thought

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namely, Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism have been critically opposed on the possibilities that are available for Africa to pull itself out of the current political and economic quagmire in the global environment. Murobe (2002:574) points out that

Afro-pessimism asserts that African governments have not been successful in establishing themselves as efficient members of the global economic system.

This has, in the past decades, compounded the marginalization of African governments in international affairs. This view is supported by Afro-pessimists who present a picture of Africa as a completely incapacitated continent where everything is dark and gloomy (Murobe, 2002:574).

As a response to the doom and gloom of Africa as presented by the Afropessimists, the Afro-optimists’ movement was born. According to the latter, the

African Renaissance can only be achieved through the political, social, economic and regional integration of African states (Murobe, 2002:574). The African

Renaissance study is premised on the belief and conviction that Africa’s people can provide solutions to their own problems, given the depth of knowledge of its people and the abundance of natural resources. The argument is that new civilization will result in ubuntu (humanism) and the concept of ‘mphiri o tee ga o

lle’ (one hyena does not cry), and ‘bana ba motho ba ngwatelana hlogo ya tsie

(children of the same parents share a head of a locust). The development and adoption of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as a strategy for African economic renewal is a good example of how the Afro-optimists are responding practically to the challenges Africa faces today. NEPAD is seen by the African community as an African solution to African problems and can be regarded as the first victory for the Afro-optimists against the Afro-pessimists.

NEPAD provides a framework for Africa’s engagement in international affairs in seeking to resolve matters that relate to the continents economic development.

The challenge to ensure NEPAD’s success is for African diplomats to engage fully in international relations as a means of securing the necessary international policies and resources to implement the objectives of the programme.

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Mazrui, Schweitzer, Lithuli, Khaldun, White (1999), in the paper presented at a

Conference held in Tunisia on the African Renaissance, argue for a renaissance that includes wider integration of the African region at various fronts. The authors argue for an African Renaissance that integrates development and modernisation, transcends dependency through indigenisation, changes all imported institutions to become more relevant for Africa, leads to diversification of products for domestic consumption and export, and integrates various regions in

Africa through South-South integration (Mazrui et al., 1999).

In the above section the origin and methods of diplomacy have been discussed in detail. Also the actors in the diplomatic theatre (diplomats) and their activities have also been covered in detail. Lastly, the challenges that African or diplomats from the developing world encounter in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy were explained. There is no doubt that during the evolution of diplomacy, western culture (as a dominating culture over the past centuries) has utilised its underlying ideology as the official socio-political philosophy on which all diplomatic protocols are set at multilateral and bilateral spheres. The current form of diplomacy is challenging for the diverse number of countries, because it is not based on the coexistence of different cultures.


South African foreign policy has undergone significant changes in the last decade and a half. South Africa’s emergence as a democratic country after the 1994 democratic elections has placed it in the spotlight. The country has also assumed a lot of international responsibility on behalf of the developing countries, especially in Africa. Before 1994, South Africa was regarded internationally as a

‘pariah state’ and was isolated through international sanctions due to its apartheid policies. During that time, South Africa did not have any important role in international interactions and its foreign policy was mainly focused on public diplomacy to convince the international community that its policies were in line

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with internationally accepted norms of race relations.

Today, South Africa is seen internationally as a model for peace and democracy despite its diverse cultures and races. When the African National Congress

(ANC) won the first democratic elections in 1994 and formed the first democratic government, the new government had very limited time to assess the implications of its international obligations on public service because of the international demands and expectations for the country to take its role in international affairs.

There were immediate expectations for its first democratically elected and first black President, Nelson Mandela, to play an important role in international affairs to resolve some of the long outstanding global challenges. As a small democracy with new challenges to deal with domestically, South Africa found herself thrown into the middle of international problems regionally and globally.

3.4.1 South African Foreign Policy from 1910-1990

When South Africa became a Union in 1910, most of its foreign relations were dominated and conducted, on its behalf, by the King of the United Kingdom through the advice of a British Minister. This meant that the British Foreign

Minister, through the Department of the Prime Minister, and the Governor-

General, who was appointed by the King, were responsible for the country’s diplomatic activities (Geldenhuys, 1984:2). This endorsed Muller’s (1976:48) assertion that the role of the government in finalizing administrative arrangements and agreements with other countries was delegated to it by the government of the United Kingdom. The form of government and authority established by South

Africa Act of 1909 accorded whites the authority to monopolise power and enact racially discriminatory legislation in the socio-economic sphere (Geldenhuys,

1984:2). The only diplomatic representation South Africa had until 1929 was its

High Commissioner in London (Geldenhuys, 1984:2). It was only in 1923 that the

United Kingdom allowed South Africa to have its own diplomatic representation abroad appointed by the British monarch, and the country was given the authority

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to ratify international treaties (Geldenhuys, 1984:2). According to Bekker (cited by

Geldenhuys, 1984:2), the continuing appointment of South Africa’s diplomats by the British monarch was not welcomed by the then government and this led to the establishment of the country’s diplomatic services in 1927.

The Department handling foreign relations was called the Department of External

Affairs, and later the Department of Foreign Affairs (Geldenhuys, 1984:2). This renaming was done to assert South Africa’s sovereignty and also to create an institution which could organise the human and material resources required to establish and maintain international relations. This development was followed by the opening of missions in a number of strategic countries. South Africa’s foreign policy, especially after the Second World War, was influenced by the charismatic

General Jan Smuts (Mbeki, 2003:13). According to Mbeki (2003:13), South Africa under General Smuts had a seat in the inner war councils of allies during the First and Second World Wars. South Africa was also a founding member of League of

Nations and the United Nations. This role gave the South Africa a diplomatic voice in shaping the world during the 20 th

Century (Mbeki, 2003:13).

After the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, despite the fact that its country’s foreign policy was officially under the authority of the United Kingdom, its foreign policy was, in fact, clearly expressed by General Smuts (Spence,

1965). General Smuts articulated South Africa’s foreign policy by expressing commitment to a joint South African (white) nationhood and an active participation in international affairs as a sovereign state within the

Commonwealth (Spence, 1965). Despite that, Southall (1984:5) argues that

Smut’s foreign policy objectives were doomed by the post-World War II transformation of the Commonwealth from a club of white domination into a multiracial ensemble of states and the rise to power by the National Party (NP) in


After the NP took power in 1948, apartheid was enforced through its separate

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development policies for almost five decades and that had very serious negative consequences for South Africa’s standing in international affairs (Southall,

1984:5). According to Southall (1984:5), after 1948, the government under the

NP reformulated a foreign policy that resulted in the thawing of its relationship with the Commonwealth, the UN and the United Kingdom, which were at the time committed to decolonization. South Africa was also forced out of the

Commonwealth and faced UN resolutions demanding diplomatic and economic sanctions beginning in 1962 (Geldenhuys, 1984:12). The role that the exiled leadership of the ANC also played was a crucial one in persuading the international community to take a critical diplomatic stand that was seen as punitive by the Afrikaaner government. The then government of South Africa, faced with international isolation and also with threats within Africa, attempted through public diplomacy to seek appropriate spaces and niches to spread its influence in the continent and in the rest of the World (Geldenhuys, 1984:12). The pronouncement by the UN that apartheid policies were a criminal offence resulted in South Africa being declared a pariah state in international affairs, and this led to its further isolation in international matters (Southall, 1984:5).

Through the UN diplomatic system, South Africa became a focal point of increasing international criticism because of its apartheid policies, which contravened the UN’s Charter of Human Rights (Southall, 1984:5). Despite diplomatic estrangement with the rest of the world, South Africa’s economic relations continued with the West in the 1950s, characterised by huge investments in mining and manufacturing from Europe and the United States

(Southall, 1984:6). According to Molteno (1971:329-332), in the 1960s, South

African foreign policy shifted towards a systematic expansion of its diplomatic relations with white-controlled states and with any black-ruled states that were prepared to swallow their distaste for apartheid in return for material or political favours. The military establishment, through the amendment of Defence Act in

1957, took the centre stage in the making of South African foreign policy at the expense of political and diplomatic considerations (Geldenhuys, 1984:144-5).

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This approach impacted negatively on the ability to isolate South Africa’s foreign representatives’ and the attempt to influence the foreign policy agenda was totally undermined.

South Africa also established a Department of Information Service, the role of which was to counter what it termed disinformation in the international arena through public diplomacy. The focus of the Department of Information Service was mainly to convey South Africa’s official message through diplomatic representation in the country missions’ abroad (Geldenhuys, 1984:16). Given the overlapping mandate of the Department of Foreign Affairs and that of Information

Services, a decision was taken to merge them into the Department of Foreign

Affairs and Information Service (Geldenhuys, 1984:16).

According to Geldenhuys (1984:12-3), South Africa viewed Africa as its primary diplomatic front, as expressed in Malan’s Africa Charter, which was directed at stemming the decolonisation tide. In achieving this objective, South Africa became a member of a number of interterritorial organizations for technical cooperation that included: the Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa

South of the Sahara (CCTA); and its two main agencies, the Scientific Council for

South of the Sahara (CSA) and Inter-African Bureau of Social Conservation and

Land Utilisation (BIS); and the Foundation for Mutual Assistance in Africa South of Sahara (Muller, 1976:105-7). In order to implement this foreign policy, trade agreements were signed with Rhodesia, the Portuguese territories (Angola and

Mozambique) and Malawi in 1967 (Southall, 1984:12). Malawi became the first

African country in 1967 to exchange diplomatic representation with South Africa

(Southall, 1984:13). The establishment of the OAU, and the amalgamation of all the interterritorial African organizations that South Africa was a member of, dealt a blow to South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa (Southall, 1984:13).

The independence gained by Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia in the middle and late 70s signified the failure of South African regional diplomacy (Southall,

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1984:25). Its regional policy shifted towards a more aggressive strategy to undermine and destabilize the viability of any governments in the region through military and economic means. On the military front, South Africa supported the

National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in the Angolan civil war and Resistancia Nacional Mocambicana (RENAMO) in Mozambique

(Southall, 1984:25). South Africa’s foreign policy was from then onwards driven by the perceived regional threats to the South Africa internal security

(Geldenhuys, 1984:144).

The ANC’s relationship with other countries and its ever increasing persuasive influence in the region to suffocate the apartheid government through sanctions and further international isolation caused the hawks in the country’s military to focus on further destabilizing the region to counter this influence (Geldenhuys,

1984:144). On the economic front, South Africa turned to diplomatic techniques of economic coercion to produce compliance by states by tightening economic links to frustrate the mounting regional effort to reduce dependence upon it

(Southall, 1984:26). For example, as Lesotho proceeded to extend diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union and, South Africa responded by tightening economic screws and in May 1983 imposed restrictions upon the movement of goods across the border with Lesotho (Southall, 1984:27).

South Africa’s foreign policy strategy was rapidly being undermined by the conviction by most states in the region that the attainment of real peace was incompatible with the existence of apartheid and also the growing recognition by its western allies that apartheid itself was the source of regional instability

(Southall, 1984:29). South African diplomats had a difficult time convincing other countries and old allies that its domestic policies were in line with internationally accepted norms and standards. South African diplomats unfortunately found themselves further isolated in their areas of representation. This can be seen as a judgement on the country’s foreign policy administration because of its failure to convince the international community through diplomatic activities that its policies

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of apartheid should not be regarded as a crime against humanity. Despite the resources South Africa had placed in its diplomacy to win support, diplomatic pressure from other countries through economic sanctions made South Africa economically and politically unsustainable. In his first address to the UN

Assembly, Nelson Mandela thanked the international community for its role in bringing down apartheid (Mandela, 1993). South Africa’s diplomatic network during the height of sanctions continued to decrease by international comparison because a number of missions were forced to close. The extent of the marginalisation of the country in diplomatic representation, compared with the rising number of UN members, as illustrated in Table 3.3. Table 3.3 point out that when compared to the UN membership growth between 1948 and 1984, there was no growth at all in South African foreign representation abroad. The Table provides undisputable evidence to show that for a period of about four decades the country struggled to establish diplomatic relations with other countries due its policies at the time.

Table 3.3: South African Foreign Representation from 1948-1982

Year UN Membership SA Diplomatic SA Consular

Relations Missions

1948 58 15 3

1955 76 20 6

1961 104 21 11

1966 122 23 26

(Source Geldenhuys: 1984)

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3.4.2 South African Foreign Policy Objectives from 1994 to date

In his first speech as the President of South Africa to the UN General Assembly in October 1994, Nelson Mandela set the tone for South Africa’s foreign policy.

Even before Nelson Mandela became the President of the Republic of South

Africa, in 1993, he made the following statement which today could be described as the basis of the South Africa foreign policy:

South Africa will be in the forefront of the local efforts to promote and foster democratic systems of government. This is especially important in

Africa, and how our concerns will be fixed upon securing a spirit of tolerance and the ethos of governance throughout the continent. There cannot be one system for Africa and other system for the rest of the world.

If there is a single lesson to be drawn from Africa’s post-colonial history, it is that accountable government is good government. (Nelson Mandela,


Nelson Mandela in his speech also indicated that South Africa would play a major role in the transformation of the UN in ensuring that it deals with world crisis with boldness and determination (Mandela, 1994). Furthermore, he emphasized that

South Africa would also play its role in helping strengthen the UN and would contribute whatever it could to the furtherance of its purpose (Mandela, 1994). In the same speech, President Mandela pointed out the South African foreign policy objectives in relation to its multilateral and bilateral relations would be fulfilled by the following commitments: to the realization of the objectives of the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights; to the objectives of the Rio Declaration on the

Environment as well as Agenda 21; to contain and end trafficking in narcotics; to the advancement of women through the creation of a non-sexist society; that it would play an active role in SADC, the OAU and other African countries to build a continent and region that will help to create for themselves and all humanity a common world of peace and humanity; and lastly as a member of the Non-

Aligned Movement (NAM) and Group of 77, South Africa is committed to promote

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South-South Cooperation and the strengthening of the voice of the poor and disadvantaged in world affairs. Ngubentombi (2005:201) argues that the ANC government’s main foreign policy focus has been regional and continental integration, an area which had been totally neglected by the previous government.

The admission of South Africa into the community of nations in the early 1990s resulted in a large number of challenges to reassert the country as a major player in the international political and economic arena it once was under General

Smuts. As the first democratic elected government under the leadership of

President Mandela gathered international plaudits, more than 90 missions were established to consolidate its bilateral and multilateral relations (Mills, 2003:3).

According to Nel, Taylor and Van der Westhuizen (2001:1), between 1994 and

2000, the country acceded to about 70 multilateral agreements and also joined or renewed its membership to no less than 40 inter-governmental organizations.

This demanded a quick roll-out of the country’s FS structures in order to consolidate international support and goodwill for economic development and world peace. At the same time, the country claimed its seats at the UN General

Assembly, the 14 member SADC, the Commonwealth and the NAM (Mills,

2003:3). These developments also resulted South Africa playing a prominent role in many organs of the UN and becoming more vocal on the issues that related to the transformation of the Bretton Woods institutions (Nel et al., 2001:2). The developed countries of the North also expected the new government to work with them by joining hands diplomatically and deploying its economic, diplomatic and military resources to bring order and prosperity to Africa (Mbeki, 2003:14). South

Africa responded positively to the expectations by promoting increased communication between the South and the North countries on matters that related to global governance (Nel et al., 2001:2). A number of agreements were reached in multilateral arenas to benefit the countries of the South owing to the practical intervention or persuasion on certain positions by South Africa (Nel et

al., 2001:2).

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When the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa was presented to the

Constitutional Assembly for adoption in May 1996, Deputy President Mbeki, in his speech on behalf of the ANC, was able to set the tone for South Africa’s foreign policy priorities in the foreseeable future. With his famous speech of ‘I am an

African’, Deputy President Mbeki was able to inform the nation and the world where South Africa was heading in its relationship with Africa. The following conclusion to that speech sums up the new approach that has become associated with the country’s foreign policy:

“I am an African. I am born of the peoples of the continent of Africa.

The pain of the violent conflict that the peoples of Liberia, Somalia, the Sudan, Burundi and Algeria is a pain I also bear. The dismal shame of poverty, suffering and human degradation of my continent is a blight that we share. … This thing that we have done today, in this small corner of a great continent that has contributed so decisively to the evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties,

Africa shall be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa shall prosper”! (Mbeki, 1996)

When President Thabo Mbeki was elected the second democratic President of the Republic of South Africa in 1999, he reaffirmed the foreign policy objectives articulated by his predecessor, President Mandela, especially the ideals of an

Africa Renaissance. According to Stremlau (1999:102-3), South Africa’s foreign policy objectives under the heading of an African Renaissance were as follows: economic recovery in Africa; the establishment of political democracy throughout

Africa; the end of neo-colonial relations between Africa and the world’s economic powers; the mobilization of the people of Africa to take their destiny into their own hands and fast development of people-driven; and people-centred economic growth and development aimed at meeting basic needs. South Africa’s

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international engagements have also been shaped and guided by five broad themes captured in the vision of the African Renaissance namely; accelerating growth and development to address the basic needs of the poor in the developing world, building the South African economy, combating international and crossborder crime, promoting democracy and good governance, and building a better

Africa and a better world (DFA, 2003:84).

According to then Director General of the DFA, Sipho Pityana, Mbeki’s foreign policy is focused on seeking the reintegration of the African continent into the world economic system, and the restructuring of relations between Africa and the developed world (cited by le Pere, 2000). Whiteman (2004:27) argues that

President Mbeki’s coming into power has given a sharper focus and a more coherent approach to the Africa policy in the overall context of South Africa’s foreign policy. This happened against the background of a realization by the government that Africa is being treated as a second-class citizen in a body of the world relations, and thus the restructuring of the UN forms a significant part of its foreign policy objectives (le Pere, 2000).

Pityana furthermore asserted that South Africa’s foreign policy approach is not only about the pursuit of domestic interest but also places a great deal of emphasis on the repositioning of the continent, advancing the continent’s interests and also contributing to international efforts towards the establishment of a better world (cited, le Pere, 2000). Kornegay (2001:1) points out that the democratic government was able effectively to orchestrate a ‘new international politics of redress’ focusing on the three spheres of engagement, namely: the

African renewal agenda featuring African partnerships with the G8, South-South

Cooperation, and North-South deliberations on globalisation.

In her presentation to the Heads of Missions for Africa on 19 February 2004, Dr

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that South

Africa’s foreign policy since 1994 was aimed at: creating an equitable, just and

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fair system of global political and economic governance through the reform of the

United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions; promoting South-South solidarity; promoting South-North dialogue with a view to eradicating poverty and development; promoting peace, security and stability for the African continent with a specific focus on the Great-Lakes region and other parts of the continent; promoting the revival of the continent through the African Renaissance; implementing NEPAD; promoting the political unity and cohesion of Africa through the AU; and promoting greater regional economic integration through the

Regional Economic Communities (REC).

DFA identified six key strategic priorities for the 2002/03 financial year as follows: facilitating the successful transition from OAU to AU and ensuring that those programmes which are transferred to the AU are in line with NEPAD objectives; working towards restructuring of SADC and the physical creation of the Southern

African Custom Union (SACU) institutions; focus on the implementation of

NEPAD; working towards peace, stability and security through conflict management, arms control and reduction, disaster management, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and protecting South Africans abroad; facilitating sustainable foreign direct investment, international trade, tourism, multilateral cooperation, environmental conservation, and building regional and international cooperation on human resource development and health; and focus on imaging and branding by projecting the positive image of South Africa and Africa, enhancing the understanding of the South Africa foreign policy objectives, and ensuring that the message of leaders is better understood across the world (DFA, 2003, 103-106).

In an article posted on the ANC Today on 18 June 2004, the ruling party points out that, considering that South Africa has a relatively strong influence on the continent and in international affairs, there is an urgent need for South Africa to continue playing a leadership role in Africa’s socio-economic agendas in terms of development policy, to correctly channel resources to support and direct the implementation of NEPAD and to play a role in the international arena in

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negotiating a new partnership paradigm and ending Africa’s marginalisation in the global community (ANC Today, 18 June 2004).

According to Kornegay (2001:1-2), South Africa’s foreign policy strategy has been mainly focused towards redressing the imbalance of power and resources between the underdeveloped, developing and developed countries. The international politics of redress have taken the centre stage in Africa’s drive to reassert itself as a global power (Kornegay, 2001:2). Van der Lugt (2001:90) correctly points out that the transition from a pariah state to a respected one on a world stage presented a huge challenge for South Africa. South Africa’s diplomatic capacity was placed on a steep learning curve in the world of bilateralism and multilateralism (Van der Lugt, 2001:90). In agreeing with the above view, Nel et al. (2001:111) argue that South Africa did not only face the challenge of reintegrating into world politics, but also had to hit the ground running as its multilateral commitments and responsibilities continued to rise.

South Africa’s new policy focus demanded that its foreign policy administration champion this process with the necessary diplomatic capacity to continue to consolidate the work of Presidents Mandela and Mbeki. The two Presidents have worked tirelessly and have succeeded in positioning Africa at the centre of multilateral engagements for economic development, peace and security.

Barston (1997:10) argues that such a tendency has weakened the bureaucratic machinery’s ability to guide, formulate and implement foreign policy. The role of

DFA has been weakened, because most of the crucial foreign policy matters are seen to be pronounced and acted upon by the Presidency. This has resulted in diplomats in the DFA having to quickly adapt in order to successfully coordinate and implement South Africa’s foreign policy (Nel et al., 2001:111). The challenge is for DFA to have skilled diplomats who can identify the shift in policy positions as pronounced by the Presidency and who can coordinate the implementation of such policy.

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3.4.3 Implication of Globalisation – South Africa’s Institution of Foreign


The World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank and the International

Monetary Fund (IMF) are institutional bases on which globalization is entrenched because they provide the foundations of a liberal international economic order based on the pursuit for free trade which has largely benefited developed countries (Thomas, 1999:453). Hemmer, Bubl, Kruger and Marieburg (2000:1) argue that globalisation is an opportunity to bring the benefits of mankind’s progress to the whole world (equitable distribution of the global wealth to all the inhabitants of this planet). The former Managing Director of the IMF, H. Kohler expressed the same sentiments when he addressed the UN Economic and

Social Council (UNESCO) in Geneva on 16 July 2001. Kohler argued that the concept of globalization is a response to the fact that all humanity shares one world and it also lays down the foundation for more broadly shared prosperity.

Globalisation has resulted in visible economic development imbalances and has led to a polarization of the so-called South and North. The developed countries making up the North and their multinational corporations are well positioned to fully benefit, whilst many developing countries of the South are economically marginalized (Khor, 2002:6). Akindele, Gidado and Olaopa (2002) also contend / believe that developing countries, through multilateral institutions, lure developed countries through cosmetic and mouth-watering entreaties into a ‘Villagized

World’ without much guarantee of equality and fairness in the asymmetrical game-play. Developing countries are said to be unable to get a good deal out of their interaction with the developed countries because of lack of appropriate diplomatic capacity to negotiate favourable terms and enter the new villagized world as beneficiaries and not beggars.

According to Mills (2003:7-8), the international communities’ interest in Africa is currently at its lowest level for the past decade, and South Africa’s international

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relations objectives will thus be determined by what happens in Africa in order to positively influence the attainment of peace and prosperity for the continent. Mills

(2003:9) also argues that the international community has without doubt largely abdicated its responsibility for African development to Africans themselves, and to multilateral and multinational organizations. Nevertheless, South Africa has emerged as one of the middleweight powers in the globalised environment punching above its weight in seeking some form of redress for the developing countries.

The previous section has provided a brief overview of South African foreign policy from when the country became a democratic Republic until the present. A detailed discussion was presented on new dynamics which have influenced the evolution of South African foreign policy and its impact on the available human resources capacity to implement it. It has been made clear in this section that developing countries like South Africa are faced with the challenge of developing relevant human resources in order to engage relentlessly both with bilateral and multilateral institutions for the attainment of its foreign policy objectives.

As a developing country, South Africa also finds itself constantly trying to adapt by creating relevant institutions and capacity to fully continue to engage in international affairs. All this is happening at a time when South Africa is going through the transformation process but that growth is marred by domestic economic challenges of high unemployment, crime and disease. International critics both in South Africa and abroad are nevertheless convinced that the government through its institution of public administration has successfully integrated its foreign policy objectives.

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DFA is mandated through legislation to formulate, coordinate and oversee the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy and international relations programmes throughout the world. The Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected, in accordance with acceptable diplomatic practice, to direct on behalf of the government the formulation and implementation of foreign policy of South Africa.

Such foreign policies are political and economic in nature and serve the national interest. Foreign policy covers a wide range of issues, such as trade, finance, military, agriculture, health, social culture, tourism and education. Interactions to enforce foreign policy are facilitated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs through the country’s accredited representatives (diplomats) abroad through bilateral and multilateral arenas. Heads of Mission or Ambassadors oversee the implementation of foreign policy objectives and serve as the mouthpiece of South

Africa’s President on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As indicated in earlier sections, South Africa had been isolated in international affairs because of its apartheid policies. Many countries imposed different types of sanctions which inhibited the country’s full participation in international economic and political affairs. After the ANC won the first democratic elections, the new government immediately undertook a review that resulted in the establishment of diplomatic representation in many countries as well as in several intergovernmental organizations. Barston (1997:25) argues that normally such a review of an institution of FS looks at interdepartmental coordination of foreign policy formulation and implementation, the role of embassies in the execution of foreign policy, the number, location and function of embassies or missions, budgetary requirements, and the recruitment and training of diplomats. The review of the DFA initiated by the ANC led government was informed by political and economic considerations, as well as the history of South Africa and the

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realities on the ground that demanded a rethink of the structure and capacity to deliver on the new foreign policy. The re-establishment of a revised structure of foreign policy was also motivated by the fact that the new government leadership had an understanding of the importance of international relations for South

Africa’s national interests, which was acquired during the many years spent in exile. The ANC representative offices had been very effective in their diplomacy, canvassing support from many countries to isolate the apartheid government, and had also acted as observers in a number of intergovernmental organizations during apartheid years. The individuals who headed ANC offices in various countries gained relevant diplomatic skills and became the pool of new

Ambassadors. This made it easy for the new government to quickly rollout its new missions in a number of countries.

South Africa’s bilateral relations are guided by the following policy priorities: implementation of the NEPAD programme; the effective and efficient functioning of the AU; conflict prevention, management and resolution and peace building; economic development and cooperation; poverty alleviation; increased bilateral cooperation; and imaging and branding of South Africa (DFA, 2003). Currently

South Africa has more than 100 missions to facilitate, coordinate and implement its foreign policy. According to Ngubentombi (2005:202), developing and developed countries see South Africa as an important member of the global community. Many countries have established diplomatic representation in South

Africa even though they do not have such representation in many other countries

(Ngubentombi, 2005:202). Some examples of bilateral relations that are important in the implementation of South African foreign policy are expanded on the following section.

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a) Diplomatic Relations with Japan

South Africa had its first international relations contacts with Japan in 1937 when

Japan established a Legation in South Africa. After the Second World War, Japan established a Consulate-General in Pretoria in 1952, with South Africa only reciprocating in 1962 by opening a Consulate-General in Tokyo (Ngubentombi,

2005:203). In January 1992, the relationship was upgraded to full diplomatic status. In the East Asian context, South Africa has had its longest diplomatic relations with Japan, as indicated by the number of agreements the two countries have entered into during the eight decades. Today, trade relations between the two countries are, even greater than those of all the other East Asian countries combined (Ngubentombi, 2005:203). To date, Japan remains the largest Asian foreign investor in South Africa (Ngubentombi, 2005:203).

Despite the current economic growth challenges in Japan, it remains the second richest country in the world after the United States. Despite this, South Africa continues to export more raw materials to and imports finished products from

Japan. South African exports to Japan consist mainly of mineral products, base metals and agriculture produce, including precious stones and metals, iron and steel ores, aluminium, wood, mineral fuel and oil, salt sulphur, earth, stone, inorganic chemicals, sugar, preserved food, fresh-water fish and seafood. Japan has also presented South Africa with the great potential of direct foreign investments, and an expansion of its importation of raw materials and of its market for agriculture products. Efforts have been made to increase the awareness of potential importers and investors to view South Africa as a source of products and a destination for investment (Ngubentombi, 2005:201). The establishment of the Japan-South Business Forum is a manifestation of the potential that exists between the two countries for economic development purposes (Ngubentombi, 2005:201).

There has been initiation by South Africa to work with Japan on tripartite projects

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which will involve the undertaking of joint development in other African countries to support the implementation of NEPAD. The framework of such cooperation is currently being worked on through diplomatic channels. It is, therefore, imperative that South Africa to keep engaging with Japan as the second largest economy in the world and the biggest aid contributor to ensure that Japan remains one of the main sponsors of NEPAD. Japan could also share its expertise in economic development, and science and technology developments which are some of the catalysts that are required to deal with some of the challenges South Africa and the rest of the continent faces to unlock economic development and to eradicate poverty. South Africa also needs to work closely with Japan on the UN Security

Council reform of the UN and in its bid to acquire a permanent seat.

b) Diplomatic Relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC)

South Africa and the PRC agreed in August 1991 on the establishment of unofficial representation in Beijing and Pretoria respectively to act as channels of communications between the two governments. These talks resulted in the establishment of the South African Centre of Chinese Studies in Beijing in March

1992. After the inauguration of the new government in 1994 and South Africa’s severance of its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan as a precondition for having full diplomatic relationship with PRC, full diplomatic relations was established on

1 January 1998.

PRC has been experiencing economic growth averaging 9% in the past decade.

Given its population of about 1,3 billion, the majority of countries in the world agree that PRC is the biggest untapped market in the world. This was used as an argument which was presented by the then President of the Republic of South

Africa, Mr Nelson Mandela, when South Africa decided to establish full diplomatic relations with PRC and downgraded its relations with Taiwan. South Africa’s objective in its diplomatic relations with PRC is motivated by the following factors: politics – as a developing country, there is an attempt to combine political efforts

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as a means to provide a platform for developing countries to have a say in global political economic activities, such as the transformation of the UN systems and

Bretton Wood institutions; trade promotion export of agriculture products, raw materials and finished products from South Africa; investments - encourage

Chinese business people to invest in South Africa; tourism promote South Africa as a tourist destination for the Chinese; and development cooperation in capacity-building and infrastructure development. Currently, the two countries have a Bi-National Commission (BNC) which meets every two years to discuss crosscutting issues from politics to economics and is co-chaired by the two

Deputy Presidents.

South Africa views PRC as a strategic partner in the South and a voice for the developing countries in multilateral institutions. South Africa has also urged PRC through the Sino-Africa Forum to channel its assistance for the development of

Africa through the NEPAD framework. PRC, like South Africa, is also a member of the Group of 20 countries (G20) in the WTO which are challenging the reluctance developed countries to reduce their agriculture support through the

WTO process. PRC has taken the lead as a major investor in Africa largely because of its appetite for raw materials. The economic growth in PRC has resulted in a demand for natural resources and the country is now involved in various economic initiatives directed at accessing these raw materials from Africa

(e.g. minerals, oil). Unfortunately, PRC unlike South Africa seems to be going all out to support repressive regimes for the sake of accessing their raw materials to fuel its economy, PRC has not shied away from threatening to use its veto at the

UN Security Council when its interests are threatened in these countries. History has taught us that the development of the countries of the west to their current status was a result mainly of their exploitative relations with weaker countries, rich in raw materials, notwithstanding the negative consequences that may arise from this exploitation. PRC seems to be following the same trend in propelling its economic growth.

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Attempts by South Africa to persuade PRC to cooperate with Africa through the

AU in the framework for Sino-Africa Cooperation have not been very successful.

PRC uses the Sino-Africa Forum as a platform to project what it terms positive contribution to Africa’s development through bilateral cooperation. PRC’s low production costs have made it the largest exporter of cheap products that are flooding African countries and the rest of the world. PRC is also against UN reform that will result in the enlargement of the Security Council because that poses a threat to its projection of power in Asia if Japan also becomes a member.

All the factors are in conflict with South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa which seeks to ensure the creation of democratic governments in Africa for the purposes of good governance for sustainable economic development and a reformed UN that will serve the interests of all the developing countries. In the coming decade, South Africa will have to work more closely with other African countries and PRC to contain what could be termed ‘the second colonization of

Africa by an Asian Giant’ and develop mutual, beneficial economic and trade relations.

c) Diplomatic Relations with India

Formal diplomatic relations between India and South Africa were restored in 1993 after they had been severed in 1956 because of India’s opposition to the apartheid policies of the National Party government. In 1994, a Joint Ministerial

Commission (JMC) was set up to identify areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. Bilateral trade between the two countries has continued to grow since then and a number of business people have already invested substantially in each others economy. The countries have also signed a Defence Cooperation

Agreement which will strengthen further cooperation between the two countries.

Talks have also commenced between the two countries to conclude a

Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) that will eventually lead to a Free Trade

Agreement (FTA). During President Mbeki’s visit to India in October 2003 to strengthen bilateral relations in defence, culture, science and economics, the

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following agreements were signed: an Extradition Treaty; an Agreement on

Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; a Cultural Exchange Programme for the years 2004-2006; an Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Power; and an Agreement for Cooperation in the field of Hydrocarbons (DFA, 2005).

In multilateral settings, India has been a great ally for South Africa at both the UN and other intergovernmental organizations (e.g. WTO). The two countries have a common approach on many global issues, including the future of multilateralism, the South-South Cooperation and multilateral trade negotiations. Both countries are also working very closely with Brazil to strengthen the G20 of the South in the current Doha round of the WTO. The three sides are involved in the India, Brazil and South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA). In March 2004, the three Foreign

Ministers from these countries held an IBSA Trilateral Ministerial Commission in

India and agreed on a Plan of Action for trilateral cooperation in the fields of transportation (civil aviation and shipping), tourism, trade and investment, infrastructure, job creation, science and technology, information society, egovernance, capacity building, e-health, health, energy, defence, local content development and education.

India is also one of South Africa’s allies that is pressing for UN reforms and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. There will continue to be a need for

South Africa and India to work together given the challenges that developing countries experience in multilateral negotiations because of their lack of muscle to punch above their weight.

d) Diplomatic Relations with Nigeria

The strongest ally of South Africa in Africa is also the most populous country,

Nigeria. South Africa’s success in consolidating its influence in Africa can be attributed to its very close cooperation with this West African powerhouse. At multilateral level, especially the transition of the OAU to the AU and the adoption

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of NEPAD, the two countries worked very closely.

The South Africa – Nigeria BNC, which was established in October 1999, held its fourth session in Pretoria in March 2002. The objective of the BNC, which is chaired by the two countries’ Deputy Presidents, is to consolidate the cooperation of the two countries at both bilateral and multilateral levels. At bilateral level, there is more emphasis on trade and technological exchanges between the two countries, and at a multilateral level there is more emphasis on making Africa‘s development agenda a priority for all multilateral engagements. South Africa and

Nigeria are leading by example in using whatever limited resources they have at their disposal to promote peace and economic development in Africa. Both countries are currently involved in peacekeeping and mediation of conflicts in a number of African countries. Practically, the two countries have played an important role in the inauguration of the AU and NEPAD. The leaders of the two countries are currently working side by side to ensure the successful implementation of the NEPAD programmes and the consolidation of the structures of the AU to ensure Africa’s development; and both serve on the

NEPAD Steering Committee.

Despite their working closely together in promoting the Africa agenda, the two countries have differed on who should get a permanent seat at the UN Security

Council. Nigeria is also regarded as corrupt society that has contributed to a variety of crimes in South Africa. In most of the cases that are related to drug trade, allegations are made when drug dealers are arrested in South Africa that it is Nigerian citizens who are generally the perpetrators of such crimes. There have been also many cases of financial scams by crime syndicates from Nigeria in many countries including South Africa. The challenge for South African diplomats is to continue engaging their Nigerian counterparts to establish common positions and together implement cooperation agreements directed at eradicating these problems, which pose a threat to the good relations the two countries enjoy.

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e) Diplomatic Relations with United States (US)

The US as a world superpower still remains the most important country that

South Africa has both economic and political relations with. Even though other countries shunned having economic or political ties with the South African apartheid government, the US maintained its relationship with South Africa to serve its national interests of reducing the Soviet Union influence in Southern

Africa. It was only when the political stakes were high in 1986 that the US joined the international community in imposing economic sanctions on South Africa.

After the democratic elections in 1994, normal economic relations were established between South Africa and the US. Since then, a number of cooperation agreements have been signed. In 1995, the two countries established a United States-South Africa BNC to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to improve communication. The BNC is composed of six committees to investigate avenues for cooperation in: agriculture; business; environment and water resources; human resources and education; science and technology; and sustainable energy resources. According to Ngubentombi (2005:202), the US still holds spot number one as South Africa largest investor and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which opened US markets to Africa impacted positively on relations between the two countries.

Despite this, diplomats in South Africa and the US have had to work hard to repair relations when the two countries have crossed swords on a number of issues. During President Mandela’s tenure, he made a number of remarks which were against US foreign policy, especially on Iran, Cuba and Libya. President

Mandela made it very clear to the US that his government would remain loyal to countries that had staunchly opposed apartheid during the 1970s and 1980s.

Mandela also welcomed Cuban and Libyan Presidents to South Africa as heroes of the struggle despite diplomatic protests by the US. Even under President

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Mbeki, South Africa has been ready to publicly disagree with the US on some of its international activities such as the invasion of Iraq and its Middle East policy

(Ngubentombi, 2005:203).

Despite all these tensions, South Africa and the United States are continuing to pursue close ties in many areas. Negotiations are underway to finalise a

US/SACU Free Trade Area and the US also remains South Africa’s biggest trading partner in the world. The US has a key role to play in ensuring the successful implementation of NEPAD given the influence its economy has over global economic development. It is, therefore, essential that South Africa continues to engage with the US to gain a common understanding on many international issues that are essential to its national interests as a major player in the African continent and the developing countries.

a) Southern African Development Community

The Southern African Development Coordination Committee (SADCC) was established in Lusaka, Zambia, on 1 April 1980 after the adoption of the Lusaka

Declaration and Treaty (Geldenhuys, 1984:41). The founding member states were Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho Swaziland, Tanzania and

Angola. The main objective of the SADCC was designed to reduce dependency on apartheid South Africa’s economy and transport network (Geldenhuys,

1984:41). The SADCC was referred to as counter-constellation to the apartheid government’s attempt to build alliances with African states in the region for the purpose of reducing international pressure for reform (Geldenhuys, 1984:41).

Owing to the collapse of apartheid, with more countries joining the SADCC and the shift in its objectives, the name of the regional body was changed to Southern

African Development Community. SADC headquarter is in Botswana and it is headed by a permanent Executive Secretary to oversee the day-to-day

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management of the institution and to implement decisions made by the Council of

Ministers and Heads of State and Government Summit. Currently, the regional body is made up of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),

Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles,

South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The population of the region is currently estimated as being about 196 million people. SADC has its own structures which bring government leaders from the region together to engage in diplomatic activities and make decisions on integrated regional economic, social and political development matters in the region. SADC structures for diplomatic engagements include the Summit of Heads of State, the

Council of Ministers and the Standing Committee of Senior Ministers.

Nyirenda (2000:21) summarises the main objectives of SADC as follows: achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration; evolve common political values, systems and integration; promote and defend peace and stability; promote selfsustaining development on the basis of objective self-reliance, and the interdependence of member states; achieve complementarities between national and regional strategies and programmes; promote and maximize productive employment and the utilisation of natural resources and the effective promotion of the environment; and strengthen and consolidate the long-standing historical, social and cultural affinities and links among the people of the region. The SADC

Treaty was adopted in 1980 as a means of committing member states to the following fundamental principles: sovereign equality of member states; solidarity, peace and security; human rights, democracy and the rule of law; and equity balance and mutual benefits (SADC, 2005b).

Even though South Africa only acceded to the SADC Treaty on 29 August 1994, its political and economic role in the region cannot be matched by any of its founding members. South Africa regards SADC as its most important priority in

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foreign relations (DFA, 2005). Ngubentombi (2005:201-2) points out that when

South Africa joined SADC in 1994 it immediately raised issues that related to the restructuring of the organization to make it more efficient and effective in the implementation of its protocols. This priority was demonstrated by the adoption by South Africa’s Cabinet in August 1996 of a ‘Framework for Cooperation with

Southern Africa’ (DFA, 2005). The framework committed South Africa to undertake the following activities: prioritise economic cooperation in favour of the region; provide mutual assistance where required; undertake joint planning of regional development initiatives; and integrate socio-economic and environmental and political realities (DFA, 2005).

Mazrui (1999) is convinced that Pan-Africanism of economic integration in Africa will be led by SADC partly because the addition of a new member who is more equal than others or what they refer as, ‘the first among equals’. The authors compare South Africa’s role in SADC and Africa to that of the Franco-German axis which ensured the survival of the European Economic Community (EEC) after 1958 (Mazrui et al., 1999). South Africa has committed itself to assume a leading role in SADC to address economic collaboration and integration through the establishment of a free trade area; human resources development; development of basic infrastructure; and the promotion of peace, democracy and good governance in the region (DFA, 2005).

In a report published by the Executive Secretary of SADC called ‘Poverty

Reduction: A Top Priority in SADC’s Integration Agenda’ (SADC, 2005a) , there is an indication that 40% (about 76 million) of the region’s population live in extreme poverty. This is reflected in the report by the social indicators, such as high levels of malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment, underemployment, declining life expectancy, poor access to basic services and infrastructure needed to sustain basic human capacities (SADC, 2005a). The SADC report further indicates that most countries in the region have a narrow economic base which does not allow

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the region’s economy to benefit and become competitive and grow in the current international economic environment (SADC, 2005a).

Nyirenda (2000:27) points out that in 1999 a combined gross domestic product

(GDP) of the SADC region at market price was US$183.85 billion. The economic growth from 1994 to 1999 for the whole SADC region on average has been between 1.2% and 4.8% (Nyirenda, 2000:28). Nyirenda (2000:31) furthermore argues that, for the region to attain the desired objective of sustainable economic development, rates of about 6.2% a year, free movements of goods and services, and sustained investments in production and infrastructure will have to be realized.

All the countries in SADC have their own sectors which reflect the economic potential the region possesses. Agriculture plays a significant role in the region because approximately 80% of the region’s population and labour force is still dependent on it for subsistence (Nyirenda, 2000:31). According to Cleary

(2000:42) counter-indications remain a major depressing factor to economic development in SADC. The depression is the result of high dependency on primary products because trade complementarities are not usually there, and low levels of industrialization and small economies in most member states worsen the situation (Cleary, 2000:42).

The SADC region accounts for almost 50% of minerals produced in the African continent (SADC, 2005a). Gold and diamonds, with the former mainly mined in

South Africa and the latter in Botswana, Namibia, the DRC and Angola, form the major component of the minerals produced in the region (SADC, 2005a). Angola also has a potential to become a major producer of petroleum in the region with

South Africa and Zimbabwe dominating the production of coal energy (SADC,

2005a). Mozambique’s ports provide excellent transport infrastructure potential for the landlocked countries of the region (SADC, 2005a). The economic slide in

Zimbabwe on the back of the government’s land reform programmes have also

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affected the economic prosperity of the region negatively because Zimbabwe was one of the region’s strongest economies after South Africa.

The SADC Executive Secretary’s report, in concurrence with Nyirenda’s

(2000:31) observation, identifies civil service, undemocratic governing structures and the lack of good governance and accountability institutions as major impediments for the region to realize its economic potential (SADC, 2005a).

Nyirenda (2000:30) added to the above observation by indicating that the region’s macro-economic instability and civil strife have also contributed negatively to the culture of domestic savings and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Nyirenda

(2000:31) acknowledges that efforts have been initiated through policy frameworks to ensure economic reforms, civil service reforms, broadening of democratic processes, promotion of good governance and increased accountability in most SADC member states.

Despite the above negative outlook, the region has a combined GDP of about

US$176 billion and remains one of the largest unexploited markets in the world

(SADC, 2005a). Recently, efforts by member states to create an environment geared towards ensuring the maintenance and attainment of macro-economic stability were noticed (Nyirenda, 2000:30). Fiscal discipline has become a feature through the development of fiscal policy and the liberalization of foreign exchange rates and pricing through monetary policies have further opened opportunities in the domestic and international markets (Nyirenda, 2000:30). Furthermore, the

Executive Secretary’s report furthermore argues that with sound macro-economic strategy and the necessary infrastructure the region has the potential to maximise economic growth for the benefit of its population (SADC, 2005a).

According to the SADC Executive Secretary report, pockets of civil strife and wars, especially in the DRC, which also involve trade in illicit diamonds, add to the political instability in the region and deter foreign direct investments (SADC,

2005a). It is also important to note that since the report was released, the

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political situation in the DRC has really improved after the secession of major hostilities by the leadership with diverse views. Diplomatic solutions that have been spearheaded by South Africa’s President Mbeki seem to be bearing fruit even though in the eastern Ituri region there are still some reports of instability. A good assessment on peace and security could be that the region (compared to a decade ago) is at least at peace.

The situation in Zimbabwe from early 2000 has also impacted negatively on the political and economic stability of the region. All the member states’ economies have been affected severely and this has increased the number of people who are facing starvation especially in the areas directly affected by the conflict in

Zimbabwe. Many countries in the North and the South argue that South Africa remains the only hope for pulling the region’s economic development to a level where poverty and unemployment could be dealt with. This responsibility is seen by many South African as impacting negatively on the country’s domestic policy objectives of dealing with the backlog in the delivery of basic services to the previously disadvantaged majority of the population.

Potential investors are reluctant to invest in SADC among to the fear that the current political instability experienced in some of the member states may spread to other member states. The more other leaders of the region attempt to deal with the conflicts diplomatically, the more some belligerents involved in this conflict are not committed to the resolution. The mechanisms to impose sanctions on troublesome leaders within the region are not working or are non-existent in a practical sense. The region will achieve prosperity, free from hunger and strife, only if the current political instability can be eradicated.

According to the Executive Secretary report, protocols which have been adopted so far have not been implemented as desired (SADC, 2005a). These protocols are mainly designed to speed-up the process for the integration of the region and remove all the constraints for economic development, peace and stability (SADC,

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2005a). The protocols are embedded in the SADC Treaty and set out principles and procedures under which member states will conduct their cooperation in the identified economic or political areas as a means to enhance regional integration through signed protocols in all economic and social sectors (SADC, 2005c).

A review process to assess progress in the implementation of SADC protocols has been taking place for some time now, because there is a realization by member states that the organization is failing to realize its set objectives (SADC,

2005c). Old structures and arrangements have been transformed into new ones.

The example of the transformation process is the move to decentralize the implementation of SADC protocols in the various sectors. As indicated earlier, each member state has been assigned a portfolio to provide capacity, leadership and infrastructure to implement the protocols assigned to it. The rationale for this approach is to enhance capacity for speedy implementation which has up now been, very slow, but it remains to be seen whether the new arrangements will achieve the desired results given the state of economic and infrastructure disparities in most member states (SADC, 2005c).

After reviewing inter-regional cooperation in the region, Phillip (2000:35) concluded that without strong political relations backed by sound economic foundation, the region would never prosper with the current institutional arrangements. According to Phillip (2000:35), sound economic foundation entails appropriate and adequate human resources development, information technology to bridge the digital divide and institutional and financial arrangements. All these important factors are captured in the majority of the current regional integration protocols. The challenge is now to successfully implement the protocols, because this will create an environment for economic development and the creation of a better life for the peoples of the region.

The current decentralized model to implement protocol in the SADC region is also not efficient and effective because of the number of countries (14) involved

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in the regional cooperation. It creates a difficulty to centrally manage, facilitate and monitor the implementation process, because there is no capacity (Phillip,

2000:36). According to Phillip (2000:36), the current number of member states creates problems of less synergy between member states, very weak political will and commitment by other member states to the attainment of the objectives set by the region. Scholarly work has been done on how cross-border issues can be addressed to free the region from the current political and economic nightmares.

Good governance, fiscal discipline, uprooting of corruption, FDI and political stability always form the basis of any recommendations offered by experts and scholars in the field to redress the current challenges facing the region. Cleary

(2000:42) argues that good diplomatic capacity to manage current complex policy issues to implement protocols is crucial.

Bold political decisions and selflessness need to be displayed by the leaders in the region to enhance the desired cooperation and oneness by moving regional institutions into a federal system of governance. According to Cleary (2000:42), common congruence of perspective on political and economic issues and

“commonality” of economic interests and perspective is crucial for successful regional integration. Since the region is classified or viewed as a single South

Africa by the outside world, especially has investors, what happens in Zimbabwe is perceived as also happening in South Africa. Such observations or conclusions have to be addressed by member states in their bilateral and multilateral activities in the international arena. In addition to that, investment decisions are also influenced by the market size and the ability of the economy to service a significant market (Cleary, 2000:43).

The current shortcomings in the SADC are mainly attributed to failure of member states to direct their efforts towards a common goal through good governance.

The challenge for South Africa’s diplomatic capacity is to be able to demonstrate the required public administration skills to build capacity for international engagements and integrated implementation of the protocols.

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b) Integration of the OAU and AEC into AU and NEPAD

Since the first democratic election in April 1994, South Africa’s international governmental participation in dealing with global challenges through multilateral and bilateral relations has increased enormously (Kornegay, 2001:1). At multilateral diplomatic level, South Africa diplomats have been promoting the idea of the transformation of intergovernmental institutions to represent the aspirations of developing countries in global affairs and also promoting economic development and peace and security in Africa. According to Kornegay (2001:1),

South Africa has thus far effectively orchestrated new international politics on behalf of Africa to correct the existing economic and political imbalances. South

African foreign policy embraces three spheres of engagement, namely, the

African renewal programme featuring inter-African partnerships as well as one with the G8, South-South Cooperation and North-South deliberations over the terms of globalisation (Kornegay, 2001:1).

South Africa’s foreign policy was instrumental in initiating and overseeing the process to transform the OAU into an effective political and economic institution for the development of Africa. The objectives of the OAU were the following: to promote unity and solidarity of African states; to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa; to defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence; eradicate all forms of colonialism in Africa; and to promote international cooperation with due regard for the Charter of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (OAU,


The OAU played a crucial role in the decolonisation of Africa by promoting political solidarity and unity among independent African countries and all those countries still under colonial rule. All African countries that became independent joined the OAU, with South Africa becoming the 53 rd

member when it joined in

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1994. The 1991 Abuja Treaty which established the African Economic

Community (AEC) on 3 June 1991 was an attempt to re-align the work of the

OAU with more emphasis being placed on economic development. The basis for the establishment of the AEC was influenced by the continuous economic decline in all African countries and the need for urgent attention in that area (OAU, 1991).

The objectives of the AEC were to: promote economic, social and cultural development and integration of African economies; establish on a continental scale, a framework for the development, mobilisation and utilization of the human and material resources of Africa to achieve self-reliant development; promote development in all fields of human endeavour to raise living standards of

Africans; to coordinate and harmonise policies among existing and future

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in order to foster the gradual development of the AEC; establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the

Customs Union at the level of each REC; coordinate and harmonise tariff and non-tariff systems of the REC, with the view of establishing a Continental

Customs Union. The objective was to integrate all sectors of the economy in order to establish an African Central Bank and a single African currency and

Monetary Union, and to create and elect the first Pan-African Parliament (OAU,


The AEC declaration was never really implemented for nearly eight years after its establishment. The entry of South Africa into the OAU led to the elevation of issues that related to economic development as the challenge that needed urgent attention by all African countries. Ngubentombi (2005:202) points out that the focus of South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa was because of its leaders’ belief that the country cannot remain an island of development while the rest of the continent remains poor. Nel et al. (2001:3) argue that South Africa, with the support of Nigeria, played a crucial role at the 35 th

Summit of the OAU in Algiers in 1999 in forcing through the introduction of restrictions for participation of leaders who have gained power through unconstitutional means. In Sirte, Libya,

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South Africa was at the forefront which successfully pushed for the acceleration of the process to establishment of the African Union (Nel et al., 2001:3).

In September 1999 at the OAU Extraordinary Summit held in Libya to amend the

OAU Charter to reflect the current economic and political realities that holds the development of Africa, a Declaration was concluded (Nel et al., 2001:3). South

African diplomacy played a significant role during the deliberations process as

South Africa steadily asserted itself as the power house in Africa, for Africa (Nel

et al., 2001:3). The diverse views held by both South African diplomats and their

Libyan counterparts at both the two Extraordinary OAU Summits in Sirte, Libya about the form of structures and responsibilities required for them to effectively and efficiently execute their new functions was widely reported in the media.

African leaders agreed at the Summit to the urgent establishment of new institutions and the creation of relevant capacities to facilitate and guide the economic development process (OAU, 1999). Three important African policy shifts were agreed upon for urgent implementation: the establishment of a successor organization to the OAU to be named the AU in line with the ultimate objectives of the Charter and the provisions of the Abuja Treaty establishing the

AEC; acceleration of the process of implementing the Abuja Treaty; and strengthening and consolidating RECs as organs of implementation of the Abuja

Treaty (OAU, 2001).

The process was then initiated for the transition of the OAU and AEC into the AU, this was followed by the adoption of the Constitutive Act of the AU in 2000 in

Lome, Togo (OAU, 2000). The inaugural summit of the AU took place in Durban-

South Africa, in July 2002 and South Africa was appointed first Chair. The new organization took most of its objectives from the OAU Charter and the Abuja

Treaty establishing the AEC and added a few more objectives reflecting current challenges facing Africa (OAU, 2001). The additional objectives were added to make the AU more relevant to current realities, these are: promote and defend

African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its people;

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promote peace, stability and security on the continent; promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance. The objectives also include the desire to establish the necessary conditions, to enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international relations; to advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, particularly in science and technology; and to work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases; and promote good health on the continent (OAU, 2001).

At the same time initiatives were being undertaken by the leadership of both

South Africa and Senegal to develop an economic recovery plan for Africa. South

Africa emerged with what was called Millennium Partnership for the African

Recovery Programme (MAP) and Senegal with the OMEGA Plan. Finally Nigeria,

South Africa, Algeria and Senegal were given the task by other African countries to consolidate the MAP and the OMEGA Plan into one programme in Sirte, Libya at the Extraordinary Summit of the OAU in March 2001. In the same year (2001) at the OAU Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, African leaders adopted a consolidated economic development called the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s

Development (NEPAD) (OAU, 2001).

The formulation of NEPAD and its adoption by all interested member states in

Africa, and the global support by the World economic superpowers (G8 countries) was seen as a step in the right direction to place Africa’s development agenda at the top of international issues. NEPAD was further adopted by the UN General

Assembly in 2002 as the Millennium Development Plan for Africa. Given Africa’s abundance of untapped natural resources, NEPAD is geared towards harnessing this potential through creation of an infrastructure for economic development, skills and technological transfer among member states. South Africa has taken centre stage from the development of the conceptual framework and its adoption to being given the leadership role for the implementation of NEPAD with other prominent countries such as Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria and Egypt. The leaders

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from these countries have become Ambassadors leading the process to get the much needed international financial support and debt relief measures from the world richest states.

NEPAD is a programme developed to respond to the current globalisation thrust which has perpetuated the continuous exploitation and economic marginalization of Africa. This marginalisation has resulted with the further deepening of poverty, economic stagnation, degradation of the economic infrastructure, disease, civil wars as well as inefficient and ineffective institutions of governance. Africa’s underdevelopment has been taking place over half a century despite efforts by intergovernmental institutions like IMF and the World Bank. These international financial institutions failed, through financial assistance arrangements to help most African countries to increase the efficiency of the governance structure and economic development through the implementation of new policies. NEPAD focuses on development and trade rather than aid.

In NEPAD, the African community sees an instrument or framework that will guide the achievement of the following objectives: create and advance a peoplecentred sustainable development in Africa based on democratic values; is premised on the recognition that Africa has an abundance of natural resources;

African people have the capacity to be agents for change and so hold the key to their own development; and to provide a common African platform from which to engage the international community in a dynamic partnership that holds real prospects for creating a better life for all (NEPAD, 2001). The expected key outcomes for Africa when the programme is fully implemented were identified as; economic growth and employment; a reduction in poverty and inequality; diversification of productive activities; enhanced international competitiveness with increased exports and increased African integration (NEPAD, 2001).

The smooth transition of the OAU to the AU and the adoption of NEPAD have been seen as positive success of South Africa’s foreign policy and its increased

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influence in the economic and political affairs of Africa. On NEPAD, South Africa, undertook diplomatic engagements with Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria and Egypt in what could be called the ‘G5 of Africa’ and was able to create a momentum toward redressing the imbalance in political and economic issues between the developed and developing countries as the means to revitalise Africa. The ‘G5 of

Africa’ continues to actively, through their diplomatic presentation and representation on the global stage, to promote the ideals of the AU and call for support for NEPAD on the international stage. The 9/11 bombing of the twin towers in the US impacted negatively on the gains made to put Africa’s development initiatives on the world agenda. The aftermath of 9/11 resulted in a greater challenge to African diplomats in ensuring that the agenda for Africa’s development remains at the centre of the global debates and the developing countries turned to focus on security from terror as their main concern.

To date, South Africa’s diplomatic involvement in a number of African countries has yielded success in solving some of the longest running civil conflicts in the

DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia and the Comoros, just to mention a few. South

African diplomatic engagements in resolving African conflicts is guided in many instances by the country’s model of a negotiated settlement as a framework for a resolution for political conflict and attainment of democracy. Mamdani (1997) is of the view that South Africa always deals with complicated political situations in

Africa through tainted lenses of the Kempton Park negotiation process. South

African diplomats are further accused for always trying to resolve continental problems of failing governments by recommending their own model of negotiation, that is, the Government of National Unity as a point of departure

(Mamdani, 1997). Solomon (2003:143) points out that South Africa’s diplomats’ simplification of conflict situations is very worrying because such an approach of one-model-fits-all conflict situations reinforces the notion of intellectual poverty in its foreign policy establishment.

Ohohe (2002:14) accuses South Africa’s diplomatic role in the Great Lakes

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region where the country’s government leaders and its diplomats facilitated the signing of the peace initiatives between the DRC, Uganda and Rwanda on 30

July 2002 to pull Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers out of the eastern region of the

DRC whilst the UN peacekeeping force did not have the capacity to provide security in that area. According to Solomon (2003:143) such an oversight is unforgivable because a security vacuum was left by the departing Rwandan and

Ugandan soldiers giving insurgents the opportunity to inflict pain on civilians through abuse and murder of thousands of innocent, already suffering people.

Solomon (2003:144) concludes by arguing that South Africa’s diplomatic capacity deficiencies need to be urgently addressed by nurturing independent thinking and critical attitude in its diplomatic corps. In order to create such capacity, staff recruitment, training and performance management policies need to be revamped if the country wants to continue to enjoy superpower status in international relations in Africa.

There is no doubt about the level of commitment the South African government has on Africa. President Thabo Mbeki always uses the expression, when explaining this commitment, ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ (Mbeki, 1996). This expression can be seen as a South African vow to continue to play an active role in internationally affairs with the objective of serving Africa’s interests according to the African tradition. South African diplomats are constantly reminded, as already indicated, to act like spokespersons for Africa and advance through the implementation of its foreign policy, Africa’s interests. Mills and White (2003:234) point out that South Africa’s diplomats in missions abroad are expected to report their role in promoting the awareness and gaining support for participation and funding of NEPAD on a regular basis.

c) United Nations

Since the first democratic elections, South Africa has pushed very hard for the transformation of the structures of the UN to give a voice to developing countries

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and to ensure that the UN agencies’ efficiency and effectiveness in implementing its resolutions. Many authors have defined South Africa’s approach to dealing with multilateral challenges as ‘punching above its weight on the global scope’

(Nel et al., 2001:3). The root of South Africa’s call for the need for urgent reform of the UN is informed by the observation by many of its leaders during their years in exile that the governance of the UN serves mainly the interests of developed countries at the expense of developing countries. A UN structure such as the

Security Council is seen as entrenching this status quo and has been identified as the main target for transformation to ensure representativity of both developed and developing countries. South Africa also used its position as the chair of the

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the

Commonwealth and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to advance this course with the support of many developing countries and was able to activate and direct these important structures of multilateral relations to push for more reform (Nel et

al., 2001:3). On the NAM initiative, Nel (1998) argues that South Africa gave a new dynamism in turning the organization into not only a South-South interaction but also a platform for North-South engagements.

South Africa is also playing a constructive role in the UN by mediating in conflict resolutions and the shaping some of the UN resolutions. Both Mandela and

Mbeki’s Presidencies have so far made progress in the multilateral forums in pushing for the urgent need of the developing countries to have a greater say in global governance in order to alleviate poverty and promote economic development (Nel et al., 2001:3-

d) Other Inter-governmental Organizations

The world has been transformed into a single entity due to the technological advancement in communication, transport, politics and business. The evolution was accelerated during the 19 th

and 20 th

centuries. During this period the world has experienced the establishment of inter-governmental organizations (IGOs)

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and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) which have some of the normal government responsibilities. These organizations have taken a much more involved role in the formulation and implementation of policy that affect societies across the world. There is little doubt today that for hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, institutions like the World Bank, IMF and the

WTO matter a great deal. These organizations have in some instances replaced governments in designing and implementing development policies in trade, education, poverty eradication, healthcare, economic development, and so on.

There is no doubt that every government wants to see its international interests advanced by its representatives in these multilateral bodies that have come to wield much power than even most of the developing nations that they are mandated to assist.

e) The World Bank

The World Bank was established in 1944 after the signing of the Bretton Woods

Agreement which was aimed at stabilising the global financial movement. The agreement was mainly aimed at ensuring that governments are given back the authority to control the movements of finances in and out of their countries. The

IMF and the World Bank were established as institutions which facilitate and coordinate such roles on behalf of governments. The formal power of the World

Bank rests with its member states who remain the owners and the main shareholders represented through a Board of Governors (O’Brien, Goetz, Sholte and Williams, 2001:27). The five largest shareholders of the Bank are the USA,

Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France (O’Brien et al. 2001:27). The

Board of Governors meet twice a year and delegate policy decision making to the

Bank’s twenty-four member Executive Board. Five members of the Executive

Board are appointed by each of the five largest shareholders and the rest are nominated by other member countries. The Executive Board is responsible for reviewing, approving or rejecting Bank project proposals as well as the Bank’s policies (O’Brien et al., 2001:27). Scholte (1999:26) views the arrangement as

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democratically unjustifiable because this structure has led to a quarter of the member states controlling three-quarters of the votes on policies. The Bank’s president and top management are not only responsible for the day to day operations management but also the setting of Bank’s priorities (O’Brien et al.,


The World Bank is divided into four main institutions; the International

Development Authority (IDA) which is responsible for concessional lending to the poorest countries, the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development

(IBRD) for regular loans, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for private sector commercial lending, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

(MIGA) which is responsible for insuring private foreign investors against political risk in developing countries (O’Brien et al., 2001:27).

The objective of the Bank can be seen on two levels. Firstly, the Bank is an institution driven by a disbursement imperative of capital driven growth orientated lending (Nelson 1995: 171). And, secondly, the Bank is seen as a development organization with the stated objective of poverty elimination in developing countries through good governance and economic growth (O’Brien et al.,

2001:26). O’Brien et al. (2001:26) are of the view that the above two mentioned objectives have been found to always be in conflict with each other and have undermined the work of the Bank and led to the current stand-off between the

Bank and global social movements.

After the formation of the World Bank, in the 1950s and 1960s it pursued a policy of strong state-led investment in developing countries and poverty eradication programmes (O’Brien et al., 2001:26). In 1970s the Bank changed the course, when the neo-liberal economic paradigm became the main thinking amongst

Bank officials, by prescribing state withdrawal from the investment in developing countries through a vigorous policy of structural adjustment lending (Thomas,

1999:455). Through the programme, governments in developing countries were

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encouraged to pursue market-orientated strategies based on rolling back the power of the state and opening their economies for foreign direct investment

(Thomas, 1999:455). Then, in the 1980s the failures of structural adjustment programmes became visible with the deepening of poverty in most developing countries. This became visible when the anticipated influx of foreign investment into developing economies did not occur (Thomas, 1999:455). As an answer to this failure the World Bank failed to discard the structural adjustment programmes but modified them by returning to an emphasis of programmes to eradicate poverty (O’Brien et al., 2001:26).

According to O’Brien et al. (2001:24), the World Bank is the biggest development bank in the world which provides finance, research and policy advice to developing countries. Its disbursement of loans is policy-based, thus they attach conditions on any loan issued. The policy-based lending method provides the

Bank with an important position in setting the terms of development policy discourses for the beneficiary countries (O’Brien et al., 2001:25). Jacobsohn

(1998:249) argues that even though the World Bank is not a social movement, it has been used by the developed member states as a pressure group to take control of the policy making process by making and implementing policies in the developing states. Officials in developing countries find themselves having to undermine their own policies, laws and society’s interests in order to obtain unproductive financial assistance (Jacobsohn, 1998:249).

Given the structure of shareholding in the Bank, there are North-South power divisions between the rich non-borrowing countries on the Executive Board who contribute most of the funding and poor borrowing countries (Jacobsohn,

1998:249). The North has wielded significant influence on the policy process of the Bank because they remain the major shareholders who have the right to decide under what conditions their funding must be utilised. In addition to that

Williams (1994:107) argues that the Bank’s top management and staff have the power to shape policies and decisions and also enjoy a high degree of autonomy

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in relation to its Board of Directors. William (1994:107) points out that the above autonomy has been preserved over a period due to the impressive technical and intellectual reputation of its staff, the Bank’s pre-eminent position among multilateral lending agencies and the global influential role played by its successive presidents.

The IMF was established in July 1944 as a Bretton Woods institution responsible to promote international monetary cooperation, facilitate equitable international trade, promote foreign exchange stability, and to create a multilateral system of balance of payments between member countries (O’Brien et al., 2001:161). From the 1970s, the IMF’s role has increased to also include surveillance both of economic performance of individual member countries and of the world economy as a whole (O’Brien et al., 2001:161). During the same period the Fund has involved itself in helping countries restructure their economies through structural adjustment packages for medium and long-term economic reconstruction and also to provide bailouts for countries failing to meet their debt obligations in the

80s (O’Brien et al., 2001:161). The Fund has undertaken large scale human resource development projects through training and technical assistance for those member states that lack the required capacity to manage policies in view of the challenges of globalisation (O’Brien et al., 2001:161).

The IMF is accused by many of directing member states economic policy with total disregard for workers, the poor, the environment, women and human rights

(O’Brien et al., 2001:162). The IMF is also accused of being undemocratic, and non-transparent in its operation and decision-making process (O’Brien et al.,

2001:162). O’ Brien et al. (2001:162) also point that there was a split in the social movements themselves on how to deal with the problems presented by the IMF.

There were the reformers who were of the view that the Fund need to change urgently to address the issues which were raised as its main weakness and also

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to promote a more secure and equitable global political economy (O’Brien et al.,


More pressure has been put on the IMF by INGO to reform through protests at its headquarters over the past years, some were peaceful but some were violent like the demonstration in Venezuela in February 1989 which left 300 dead (O’Brien et

al., 2001:163). Like the World Bank, the governors of the IMF and its officials wield much more power than the countries that they are expected to assist

(O’Brien et al., 2001:163). Developing countries possess little capacity to equally engage about the type of financial assistance they require, at what terms and also decide on areas of the economy such assistance is required for. The challenge for the developing countries will be to have the IMF reformed to give them a greater say in structuring their financial assistance package.

g) World Trade Organization (WTO)

Given the role the WTO plays in trans-national trade regulation which has a severe impact on national policies and governance structures, its role is critical for a country’s economic development. The General Agreement on Tariffs and

Trade (GATT) is the predecessor to the WTO. GATT was established in 1947 as a post-war intergovernmental trading regime responsible for balancing international trade liberalization through the reduction of tariffs level by all member states (O’Brien et al., 2001:68). The initial purpose of GATT was to gradually, over a long period, reduce trade barriers and liberalise trade flows between countries (O’Brien et al., 2001:68). States were at the same time allowed to balance domestic interest and make whatever concessions they deemed feasible (O’Brien et al., 2001:168).

The working procedures of GATT and its dispute resolution mechanisms which were based on member states making concessions was not very successful due to the weaknesses in its enforcement of its rulings (O’Brien et al., 2001:70).

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Countries with economic power such as the US, Japan and the EU benefited from these unilateral measures of dispute resolution because smaller countries found themselves compromised when faced with trade disputes against the economic powerful countries (O’Brien et al., 2001:70). These shortcomings in

GATT led to the need for the establishment of an organization like the WTO which was mandated to provide an international legal framework for trade and facilitate relations based on rules rather than power (O’Brien et al., 2001:70). The transformation of GATT into the WTO came into effect on the 1 January 1995 and resulted in a major shift in the management of international trade and strengthened the conflict resolution mechanism for international trade disputes

(O’Brien et al., 2001:71). The WTO mandate was expanded from trade liberalisation based on tariff concessions to discussions on domestic policies, institutional practices and regulations that affected international trade relations

(O’Brien et al., 2001:71). This implied that the domestic autonomy which dominated the GATT era was severely reduced when the WTO was established and the rules-based nature of the trading system was strengthened (O’Brien et

al., 2001:71).

Despite these new developments resulting from the establishment of the WTO, developing countries are still struggling to get a balanced share in international trade. Powerful countries still continue with their protectionist positions where their national interests are directly threatened in the WTO process. The conclusion of the Doha Round is currently being threatened by the developed countries unwillingness to give in on the reduction of agriculture related subsidies.

The diplomatic abilities of developing countries to fully engage with their counterparts from the developed countries have been found to be weak.

According to Tussie and Lengvel (2002: 491), increasing the participation of the developing countries in WTO negotiations involves two key dimensions, namely; increasing its skills and capacity to analyse, take stock and manage the

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implementation of existing agreements, and undertake informed engagements directed at the reforming of the WTO as an institution that addresses the concerns and needs of developing countries. Tussie and Lengvel (2002:491) further argue that the current structure of WTO engagements compels each country which is serious about participating to do its own detailed preparations by having the capacity to attend all WTO meetings, as well as research capacity in the capitals on all areas of negotiations, and providing adequate instructions to its negotiations. Issues that cannot be ignored to enhance a country’s participation are the acquisition of enough knowledge, technical negotiation skills and sufficient institutional capacity (Tussie and Lengvel, 2002:491). In areas where there are no resources to build capacity to negotiate, countries can use regional economic groupings to pool resources together and organize training activities on a regional basis that will also include self generated and home-grown negotiations skills (Tussie and Lengvel, 2002:492).

To date, little progress has been made to ensure the finalisation of the Doha

Round of negotiations. It has become very clear that the sticking point remains the agriculture area of negotiations where the North is pitted against the South, as agriculture plays a crucial role in the economies of the South, which the North still continues to offer subsidies to its farmers as a way to keep them in business.

South Africa is currently working with other like-minded countries of the South to ensure a stronger position that may tip the power of the settlement of the Doha

Round in favour of the South. South Africa’s role in the international arena has increased enormously to include issues of global fair trade through its attempt to influence the international trade agenda to benefit developing countries.

Keohane (1969:296) correctly points out that countries who are defined as a

‘middle power states’ in world affairs cannot alone possess enough weight to successfully bring change in world affairs without the support of a group of other countries. Through the South-South initiatives, South Africa’s interactions in multilateral organizations have aligned with other strong developing countries like

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India, Brazil and South Africa, thus combining forces to attract international attention towards developed countries and playing an important role in reshaping the structure of the new world trading order (Whiteman, 2004:202).

The establishment of the G20 in Cancun, Mexico in 2003 has successfully changed the power balance in negotiations at the WTO. Through the G20, developing countries are now able to use their combined efforts to negotiate as equals with the developed countries. South Africa is regarded as one of the main active members of the G20 after Brazil and India. At the G77 meeting in Havana in April 2000 a resolution was adopted that agreed with President Mbeki’s vision of a united South within the global trading institutions like the WTO (Taylor,


At the 6 th

Ministerial WTO Meeting held in December 2005 in Hong Kong, little progress was made in accommodating the demands of developing countries for more liberalisation in the agriculture sector. This further motivates the fact that developing countries need to develop more capacity to increase their participation in trade negotiations as a means to reach decisions that will impact positively on their own economic development. Although the US and EU continue to accuse one another of delaying the negotiation progress, it is clear that the dynamics of the WTO negotiations have changed dramatically because developing countries through groupings like the G20 are refusing to back down from their desire to change the global trading system to accommodate their needs.

In the 19 th

and 20 th

centuries a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) emerged, concerned with everything from religion, political class, animal welfare, peace, human rights, environment, education, sports, and so on (Scholte,

1999:25 and Buzan and Little, 2000:272). Buzan and Little (2000:266) are of the

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view that NGOs came to prominence in the global international system at a period when the modern state replaced the mix of empires, city-states, city leagues and nomadic tribes as the dominant unit in the international system. The modern state then created an environment through its laws which gives power to the people to undertake whatever function which the state my fail to render

(Buzan and Little 2000:266). This attempt was to move away from state-centric approach ‘realism’ to an open-ended approach ‘pluralism’ where non-state actors can also play their role to affect political outcomes (Willetts, 1999:288). This idea or framework resulted in civic and legal space opened within government and between states allowing these new organizations to operate and render services on the tasks the state will not perform or did not like to perform with some certain degree of independence (Buzan and Little, 2000:266).

A number of NGOs then expanded their influence beyond their national boundaries and started linking-up with similar organizations in other states to form broad international non-governmental organizations (Buzan and Little,

2000:272). According to Birkland (2001:82) and Jacobsohn (1998: 256), INGOs are able to maintain membership or an increase in membership only when those who join feel that there is a benefit for them and the global society at large.

Various pressure groups in the form of non-governmental organizations, representing issues of gender, the environment and labour have emerged to challenge the decision-making processes of governments and intergovernmental organizations (O’Brien et al., 2001:12). These NGOs come together to deal with international matters in form of INGOs (O’Brien et al., 2001:12). Scholte

(1999:25) is also of the view that NGOs hold extremely divergent visions of the transformed world that they are attempting to create. The challenge posed by

NGOs on government policies have resulted in severe acrimonies between them and governments and IGOs (O’Brien et al., 2001:14). The result has been that

IGOs are now forced to engage with INGOs because of their power to coerce holders of political and economic power through popular mobilisation to address their concerns (Scott, 1990:15).

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In some instance INGOs can be referred to as lobby groups. Lobbyists are defined as individuals or groups who are directly fighting the direction of government policy by ensuring that policy makers have the relevant systematised policy information, and influencing the values and beliefs of policy makers to suit the group they represent (Jacobsohn, 1998:262 and Birkland, 2001: 85). Even though most members of INGOs will never meet face-to-face, these organizations have founding documents defining their goals, rules of procedures, secretariats, and so on. and in other instances defined headquarters (Willetts,


INGO’s are able to fulfil their objectives because they have capacity, money and time (Jacobsohn, 1998:254). Knowledge of the issues related to the area of influence is crucial for INGOs, coupled with a clear understanding of the institution to be lobbied and established contacts with decision-makers

(Jacobsohn, 1998:254). The ability to do thorough research on areas of focus is a strength for INGOs, enabling them to present a convincing argument to decisionmakers in comparison to the decision-markers. Scholte (1999:25) presents the objective of INGOs as reshaping global policies and the deeper structure of social relations to ensure that proposed policies reflect and pursue their interests, and they do so by exploiting the circumstances of globalisation. Willetts (1999:303) also points out that the new global communication infrastructure has made it cheap and simple for INGOs to operate internationally.

According to Willetts (1999:302), countries or cities where IGOs offices are based also host INGO offices. This has made it much easier for INGOs to lobby IGOs and governments to take certain positions in multilateral policy processes

(Willetts, 1999:302). The location is as a result of the understanding that regional or global IGOs like the World Bank or IMF are the focus for policy-making in development areas and engaging these institutions is the only way for INGOs to influence the proceedings and remain relevant (Willetts, 1999:302).

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The engagements between IGOs and INGOs have led to vigorous changes to the process of formulating IGO’s international assistance policies. Governments have also been forced to justify their international policy positions to INGOs. The important role of the NGOs and INGOs cannot be ignored especially in the developing countries where their influence and role have surpassed those of elected governments. In most instances governments have been adopting certain positions due to the influence of domestic NGOs on international matters.

Given all the foreign policy implementation challenges that have been deliberated on in detail, South African diplomats are expected to continue to use their policy implementation skills to engage other countries, IGOs, NGOs and INGOs to successfully execute their mandate. As indicated earlier, South Africa is seen as a champion for the developing world especially in African countries. Many countries have great expectations for South Africa ensuring that their voices are clearly heard in international affairs that affect them. South Africa is also seen by most developing countries as having sufficient resources and capacity with which to participate fully in multilateral engagements on their behalf.

South Africa has also, through its previous chairing of both the Non-Aligned

Movement and the Commonwealth, used the opportunity to call for reform of all inter-governmental organizations like the UN, Bretton Woods Institutions and the

WTO. These particular IGOs are seen as perpetuating the current imbalances of power and resources between the developed and developing countries.

Konergay (2001:2) points out that the post World War II system entrenched the

Permanent Five of the UN Security Council and Bretton Woods Institutions. The legacy of these structures has created a bi-polar world between the North and

South. All the power and influence lie with the North and the South is seen as a junior partner. The call for African Renaissance is introducing another dynamic in this fluid global environment through the so-called ‘international politics of redress’ (Konergay, 2001:2).

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South Africa is not as prone to the influence of IGOs as some other countries in its international relations engagements. The current leaders of South Africa have a long history of working with INGOs in their dream to realize a democratic South

Africa. The current government came into power with the help of INGOs which lobbied governments and IGOs to severe any ties, whether economic or political, with the apartheid state. This was all done to ensure that policies of desegregation were eradicated and every citizen of South Africa whether black or white is given the opportunity to participate fully in the political and economic spheres of the state. Today the NGOs find themselves more in confrontation with governments in the IGO organizations on behalf of the most vulnerable communities. The challenge for governments today is how to engage and utilize the capacities of NGOs that fight them to achieve their foreign policy objectives.

Given the role that South Africa is playing in its leadership role in ensuring the implementation of the African development agenda NEPAD as a means to secure Africa a stake in the international trade arena, appropriate diplomatic capacity to engage on these matters in the international environment is critical.

During the negotiations processes at multilateral organisations the main weakness that developing countries have shown is a lack of coordination and also rivalries on certain issues. This is where the whole diplomatic leadership of

South Africa is required to create harmony and ensure that every developing country feels that their interests are represented in the collective effort.



3.6.1 Africa’s Economic Situation

Evidence across the continent shows that in the majority of African countries there is little development taking place. The economy of the continent is taking off

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on average at a very slow rate which is not enough to address social disparities.

Today, Africa’s development is far behind most of the Asian countries like

Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and India. Half a century ago these countries used to lag behind the African continent in economic development. In the past 40 years however they have experienced rapid economic development through rapid urbanization and industrialization leading to massive improvements in the standard of living.

According to Todaro (1997:655), the 1980s and 1990s were a time of stagnating incomes, declining employment and worsening poverty for many Third World countries. Todaro elaborates, saying that nowhere has the situation been more severe than in Sub-Saharan Africa (Todaro, 1997:655). During this period there has been a clear visibility of an inexorable economic decline in Africa, a drop in per capita incomes, rapid increases in population, the loss of export revenues, decreased foreign investment, and the inability of many countries to feed their people or meet other basic human needs (Todaro, 1997:655). The joint report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the World

Resources Institute (WRI) compiled in 1987 points to issues that restrict economic development in Africa which are still relevant today, as indicated in the

World Development Report 2006. The World Economic Report 2006 argues that

Africa is the only region where per capita income, food production, and industrial production have experienced a decline in all sectors over an extended period. It also remains the only region in the world where development appears to be moving in reverse (IIED and WRI, 1987:221). Table 4 paints a disconcerting picture of the economic and social situation of the African continent represented by a regional sample of 25 countries. Table 5 provides a clear illustration of

African countries economic growth in relation to their high debts. African exports and imports are also very small in relation to addressing the economic challenges that the continent is faced with. The reason for the little economic activity maybe the result of a decline in incomes and consumption over decades due to

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economic mismanagement, impacting negatively on the levels of employment, health and education conditions.

Todaro (1997:657), in an attempt to develop recommendations on how Africa can deal with her current challenges, categorized the cause of the African dilemma into two categories. Natural problems that African countries have no control over like drought, floods, commodity prices, foreign capital withdrawal are one category. The second category of problems is those related to inefficient governance structures to formulate and implement the right policies (Todaro,

1997:657). Implications of globalisation and the current global economic order have not really been seen as positive for the African continent. As African raw materials were extracted and used to fuel the world economy and enrich other economies, its own economy has suffered marginalization (Mazrui et al., 1999).

Mazrui et al. (1999) are also of the view that at every stage of its contribution to globalisation, Africa has suffered its own marginalization as a consequence of its abundance of raw materials and lack of regional capacity to exploit this competitive advantage. According to Khor (2002:3), in the past two to three decades, economic globalisation has accelerated as a result of a number of factors which includes technological advancement coupled with policies of liberalization that have swept across the world.

Table 3.4 on selected African Countries economic indicators illustrates some

South African foreign policy implementation challenges in Africa. Many countries export more than they import but this has not made any difference to the economic situation in these countries. Most of the exports by African countries are raw materials. This is the consequence of colonisation which has resulted in the infrastructure being developed only for extraction and export and not for benefit. The incomes earned from its raw material exports are too small for domestic investment into the manufacturing infrastructure for purpose of economic and social development. What is further illustrated in Table 3.4 is the level of debt versus the GDP of selected African countries. Repayments of these

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debts further erode the ability of African countries to use their limited resources for social and economic development purposes. The future of those countries that are categorised under the Lower Income Countries (LIC) looks very bleak because they are again highly in debt because exports are very low to sustain economic growth activities. The Lower Middle Income Countries (LMC) are also finding themselves struggling to achieve meaningful economic development because their exports are also small and they face the danger of slipping into becoming LIC, with a continuing rise in debt and poverty as global economic growth benefits still accrues to the developed world. South Africa appears as the only Upper Middle Income Country (UMC) with an acceptable level of exports that contribute to acceptable incomes that stimulate economic activities.

Despite the fact that the globalisation process has involved the breaking down of national economic barriers which has resulted in the spread of international trade, financial and production activities and the growing power of multinational corporations and international financial institutions, Africa has not positively benefited from that (Khor, 2000:3). The process has resulted in a new global economic order, which is characterized by greater openness and integration of countries economies through global markets with strong developed countries being well positioned to benefit at the expense of the weak developing countries.

In contrast, in East Asia there is a shared understanding between experts that the dramatic transformation of its dynamic economies over the past half a century clearly demonstrated the commercial, economic and social dividends of

Globalisation (Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), 2000).

Despite all the development progress experienced in the world in the past century, African countries have become poorer and economically much weaker than even during the colonial times. According to Christian Aid (2003), globalisation is no accident because it is shaped by global institutions like the

WTO, World Bank, IMF, governments and multinational companies. The global economic order of the past 30 years was partly created by the liberalization of

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trade, investment and capital markets which have allowed companies to grow and locate around the globe with ease. Australian Chamber of Commerce and

Industry (2000) points out that, for many developing nations, the most costeffective social safety net is the depth and breadth of the country’s linkages with the global economy, allowing them to respond flexibly and quickly to economic illwinds through new exports markets and capital inflows. Unfortunately, the consequence of these policies has been disastrous for the poor, many of whom find themselves at the whim of the global economy (Christian Aid, 2003).

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Table 3.4: Selected African Countries Economic Indicators

2004 of Economy

% of Sector Contribution to GDP


$ Agriculture

Merchandise Trade

$ millions

External Debt


Burkina Faso 4,824 LIC 31 20 49 380 1,150 1,844

Burundi 657 LIC 51 20 29 42 180 1,310

Cameroon 14,733 2,100 9,189

D.R Congo

Ivory Coast

















Eritrea 925 LIC 15 24 61 20 670 635

Madagascar 4,364 LIC

Mozambique 5,548 LIC 26 31 43 1,390

South Africa 212,777 UMC 4 31 65

Tanzania 10,851 45 16

45,929 55,200

(Source: Adapted from World Bank’s World Development Report: 2006)



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According to Mazrui (1999) the end of the Cold War also had negative consequences for Africa. The consequences can be summed up as follows: most of Africa lost its strategic value which had motivated the superpowers to take it seriously; Africa lost its socialist friends in world affairs and in the UN; Africa lost its one third numerical advantage in the UN due to the collapse of Union Soviet

Socialist Republics (USSR); the West’s old adversaries became Africa’s rivals for investments and resources; the triumph of ‘market Marxism’ in and Vietnam have turned them into magnets for Western resources at the expense of Africa; renewed liberalization of India has made it a magnet for investments and aid from the West at the expense of Africa; the old Western rationale of aid as

‘enlightened self-interest’ became radically reduced because its motivation for rivalling the USSR has diminished; the internationalization of African education has also suffered a serious setback because the days of diverse scholarships from both the West and East are gone; and West’s triumph over communism have helped right-wing parties which are less compassionate to the poor coming into power in developed countries.

There is a perception that multinational companies bring many benefits to host countries, including greater access to foreign capital, technology and export networks to the benefit of the local economy, industries and people. However, developing countries find themselves competing for investments from multinational companies and they are forced to reduce their taxes as an incentive to attract investments (Christian Aid, 2003). In addition to that governments are also forced to depress salaries and wages to lower levels as a way to outdo their competitors. This has led to poor African countries receiving a smaller share of global wealth, whilst the investors in the developed countries and their governments are getting the ‘lions’ share’ of profits generated (Christian Aid,

2003). This further worsens the unequal distribution of resources between developed and developing (Christian Aid, 2003). For example, on average,

Tanzania has one telephone line per 300 people, while at the same time there is

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nearly one fixed telephone line per person in Europe and if cell phones can be included, each person has access to more than one phone (Christian Aid, 2003).

On health, disparities between the developed countries and the developing

African countries are continuing to increase at an alarming rate despite the gravity of diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and so on. to the population of the developing countries (Christian Aid, 2003). The availability of drugs to treat

HIV/AIDS is an example of how globalisation fails to benefit some of the worlds’ poorest and most needy people because of the monopoly multinational pharmaceutical companies from developed countries have on the drugs to treat the disease (Christian Aid, 2003). The prices of such drugs are very expensive for people whose annual income cannot even cover a monthly supply of these drugs and also for a government whose budget is generated through increasing their borrowing in the World Bank or IMF (Christian Aid, 2003). African countries affected by these diseases are then advised by either the World Bank or the IMF take loans from them to buy anti-retroviral drugs and this in the end increases these countries foreign debts (Christian Aid, 2003).

The agriculture sector remains the centre of African economic activity.

Unfortunately, agriculture remains one of the most under-financed sectors in many countries because of their poor infrastructure to support production. At the same time, agriculture exports to developing countries still remains a dream because developed countries heavily subsidize their farmers to mass produce and sell at a lower price to the detriment of products from developing countries

(Khor, 2000:3). Khor (2000:3) points out that high tariffs still persist in developed countries in sectors such as agriculture and textiles which are areas in which developing countries have a comparative advantage. In some areas where according to the WTO agreements tariffs have been eliminated, developed countries implement effective non-tariff measures to negatively affect the access of developing countries products into their markets (Khor, 2002:3). Current WTO negotiations have stalled on several occasions on this issue because developed

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countries are neither willing nor prepared to level the playing field for fair trade in agriculture products. The current deadlock of the Doha Round negotiations at the

WTO that was supposed to benefit developing countries is a proof of how developing countries are treated in multilateral negotiations when their demands threaten the hegemony of developed countries.

Whilst East Asian countries are said to have developed at an average GDP growth rate of over 7% annually over the years to 1980 and over 8% annually in the following 18 years to 1998 (ACCI, 2000), their driving force is quite different from what Africa is faced with (ACCI, 2000). East Asian countries were strategically targeted by investors mainly because of low cost of production inputs and also to position their production industries closer to the large potential markets of and India. The industries established were export-oriented manufacturing and services leading to diversification of the Asian economies from only producing simple garments, footwear and toys to high brand names in computer equipment, software, electronics and other information technologies

(ACCI, 2000).

Khor (2002:4) is of the view that the major feature of globalisation is the growing concentration and monopolization of economic resources by multinational corporations and by global financial firms and funds. These role players are reaping the rewards of the globalisation process by gaining a large and rapidly increasing proportion of world economic resources, production infrastructure and processes and market shares (Khor, 2002:4). According to Clairmont (1996:39), the top 200 global corporations accounted for $3,046 billion sales in 1982 which was equivalent to 24% of the world GDP ($12,600 billion) and in 1992, their sales reached $5,862 billion as compared to the equivalent value of the GDP which was $21,900 billion having risen to 26,8%. The empirical evidence above clearly reflects who the beneficiaries of the globalisation process are. Despite multinational corporations branded as the main beneficiary of globalisation, their

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FDI is still considered by many analysts as a primary driver of any country’s economic development.

3.6.2 Challenges for Africa in the International Policy Process

The political and economic situation of Africa from the past century to date has not looked very good. According to Seakamela and van Schalkwyk (2003:43), the economic situation especially in Southern Africa is very worrying. The region is struggling with high unemployment rates, diseases and failure to attract and retain Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). According to Stremlau (1999:117), when it comes to global economic forces, less 2% of the world’s FDI flows to sub-

Saharan Africa. A major portion of that amount is received by South Africa and major oil producing countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, and so on.

(Stremlau, 1999:117). The situation of hunger in most of the countries on the continent is exacerbated by drought and economies that are regressing due to lack of meaningful inflows of FDI (Seakamela et al., 2003:43). Many countries lack the capacity to address these challenges and South Africa finds itself having to develop and implement initiatives in the region despite its limited resources and the challenges at home. Current efforts led collectively by African countries with South Africa as a major player through NEPAD seek to reverse the situation, but the major challenge is that the continent has to rely on foreign resources which are not forthcoming to implement the African economic development agenda. The first challenge for South Africa is thus getting the financial and material resources to ensure the successful continent-wide implementation of


The second challenge, despite the fact that South Africa is expected to play a significant role in providing leadership in dealing with most of the crisis that many

African countries are experiencing, is not all African leaders are embracing this opportunity. There is concern among some African leaders that South Africa is becoming too powerful and starting to behave like a superpower of the continent.

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This in a sense has impacted negatively on South Africa’s effort to radically pursue the change agenda through the established new political (AU) and economic (NEPAD) institutions and frameworks. However, the current bilateral relations that exist with Nigeria have in the long-term contributed to a positive image that many African countries’ view of South Africa foreign policy.

The third challenge is, there is expectation by many countries across the world that South Africa needs to play a more central and visible role in Africa to ensure the realization of the new development agenda. South Africa is now being criticized from different quarters in regard to its handling of the situation in

Zimbabwe. Many critics and commentators led by leaders from the developed world hold the view that South Africa’s foreign policy on Zimbabwe has contributed to the current political instability and economic meltdown in that country.

The forth challenge is, for the much sought after economic growth to create a better life for Africans, sound political and government institutions which are essential. Good governance, transparency and rule of law form the basis of development for any country. Capacity building in public administration is the very essential factor to create the above conditions. Stremlau (1999:104) presents the arguments of Laurie Nathan of the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town who argues that Africa’s current crisis is as a result of four structural conditions: authoritarian rule; exclusion of minorities; socio-economic deprivation combined with inequity; and weak states which lack institutional capacity to manage political and social conflicts.

The fifth challenge is, fiscal crises and political uncertainty that have led most

African governments to concentrate their effort on consolidating power by developing political cliques and emphasis on ethnic groups to dispense patronage in return for obedience and political support (Williams, 2002:22).

According to Williams (2002:23) the problem is further compounded by the failure

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of the legislature to establish forms of political accountability or provide a way of reconciling conflicts between the government and the public because they are also part of the political patronage.

The sixth challenge for South Africa is foreign policy implementation is a result of arguments that some of the instabilities in African countries are as a result of external influence from other governments and the private sector whose objective is to plunder the natural resources during conflicts (Wannenburg, 2003:283).

According to Wannenburg (2003:283) the development of a lawless underground environment is fuelling the conflicts in the continent. The instabilities have resulted in developments such as: organized crime networks taking advantage of the weak law enforcement structures and setting-up shop in Africa to run their criminal activities; existing crime networks developing extensively to include politicians, government officials other dissatisfied sectors of society who consciously assist the illegal activities; and a lack of resources for the creation of credible law-enforcements institutions which are capable of dealing with all forms of crime (Wannenburg, 2003:283).

It is clear from the preceding sections that the lack of diplomatic capacity and proper mechanisms for collaboration and cooperation by Africa in the past half a century has impacted negatively on the economic growth potential of the continent. Efforts to assist needy societies to develop are, in most instances, being lost in the battles of supremacy between the developing, developed countries, IGOs and INGOs. There is no doubt that IGOs have similar aspirations to the developing countries, namely to deal with developmental problems faced by disadvantaged countries and communities throughout the world. Most INGOs also have similar objectives and they contribute in a certain way to the development of those disadvantaged states and communities by being their voice. INGOs also have other interests which differ from one organization to another depending on their representative constituencies. The challenge is for every country in Africa’s diplomatic capacity to supplement efforts of the AU by

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fully engaging these organizations (IGOs and INGOs) as a means to influence their agenda to benefit Africa’s economic and political interest.

There is no doubt that currently most of the valuable resources which could be used in the policy making and implementation process in the international arena is being lost through poor policies, weak governance institutions and corruption in many countries. The lack of diplomatic capacity in developing countries has hampered international efforts to resolve challenges of disease, economic development, poverty and security. It is therefore critical for African countries to have institutions that could equip its available diplomatic capacity with relevant public administration skills to fully participate in international policy making. These will enable diplomats to fully argue their position as a means to influence international policies that will address their country’s and continent’s challenges.

On the other front, Frenkel, Goldstein and Masson (1991:144) are of the view that whatever economic policy action is taken by countries with large economies, the impact of such policies will create significant spill over effects or externalities on countries with small economies. In such instances negative externalities that arise for developing and underdeveloped countries foreign currency exchanges has been experienced when developed countries economies slow down, it has negatively impacted on the economies of the developing world. This has also been the recipe for international intervention by IGOs, whose role is to lessen the economic pain with loans to arrest economic meltdown in times of crisis, in debts and other severe long-term economic constraints for developing countries. In most instances such political and economic interventions have resulted in shortterm security or economic relief but in the long-term most countries, after receiving all the support, especially economic support, from Bretton Woods

Institutions for the past decades, still remain in abject poverty today (Bond,

2002:142-3). Africa could be cited as a good example of a continent where the majority of countries are highly indebted to the World Bank and still underdeveloped. INGOs cite lack of proper international policy coordination as

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having led to misdirected policies, which have caused more suffering than envisaged by the architects of such policies. The policymakers at the World Bank have been and are still being accused of failing to take into consideration in their decision-making calculus the negative externalities some of their international economic intervention polices have on beneficiary countries. The lack of capacity by these developing countries to engage the Bretton Wood institutions and also to implement policies by their government has further exacerbated the matter.

According to Frenkel et al. (1991:144), proper international policy collaboration and coordination, together with relevant capacity in institutions of public administration will go a long way towards facilitating mechanisms among stakeholders and interest groups to internalise the impact of externalities to the benefit a country or community. The authors call for decentralized decisionmaking process as the only means to ensure effective and efficient participation by all stakeholders identifying the appropriate policy for the problem on hand rather than relying only on experts understanding of the situation and proposed solution from the desktop (Frenkel et al. (1991:146). A bottom-up approach in the policy-making process is encouraged for the IGOs, with various policy collaboration structures at grassroots levels given the authority to decide the basis of any policy (Frenkel et al. (1991:146).

International policy collaboration and cooperation also has its disadvantages.

Frenkel et al. (1991:147) have been able to identify four barriers to successful international policy coordination among countries and IGOs. The first barrier is when international policy bargains that involve shared objectives among all the involved stakeholders are frustrated if some policy instruments are treated as objectives in themselves. This situation may happen, for example, when the

World Bank and other stakeholders are in agreement that a certain policy must be implemented with the necessary support infrastructure to assist a beneficiary country or community.

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The second barrier occurs when stakeholders disagree on the effects of the proposed policy changes on policy targets. In this instance, it will become harder for decision makers to reach a compromise on the policy and this will result with the powerful stakeholders who have all the resources to implement the policy deciding on the policy. This can be said to be the cause of the current impasse at the WTO between developed and developing countries owing to the existence of a low-level participation of the latter in the policy making process. Their disagreements on policy implementation (Doha Round) and unilateral policy decisions have impacted negatively on the developing countries.

The third barrier is when strong stakeholders have little interest in coordinating international policy process. Institutions such as the World Bank see the international policy coordination process with developing countries as a waste of resources and time. This barrier is linked to the second barrier. To them the stronger the bargaining and coercive powers, together with the abundance of financial resources in their coffers, discount the need for policy coordination when projects are identified. This position is further exacerbated by their belief that they have the best policy intellectuals in the world.

This undermining of international policy coordination ignores local inputs and has negatively affected domestic or national policy priorities. Given the fact that weaker or poor countries that have financial difficulties rely on the World Bank and the IMF for financial assistance, whatever policy problems are diagnosed by the experts from these institutions, there is in the domestic policy priorities of such a beneficiary country. These countries always find themselves in a weaker position to negotiate or participate in the policy processes that affect them, because of the lack of relevant public administration skills. It is essential that relevant capacity and good public administration governance institutions are built as a means to fully participate and influence international deliberations to address the needs of developing countries. Scholte (1999:26) is of the view that IGOs and

INGOs both suffer from shortfalls in respect of popular participation and access,

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consultation and debate, inclusion and representativity, constitutionality and accountability. There is an urgent need for these organizations to align their structures and allow for consultation with the communities affected thus ensuring that their actions meet the beneficiaries’ concerns. This must be undertaken through set rules and which levels in the policy process the participation and consultation process with the relevant affected countries that they seek to assist will take place. According to Frenkel et al. (1991:152), rules are regarded as the only available effective tool to impose discipline on policy makers who might otherwise manipulate the instruments of policy for their own objectives. Experts’ knowledge must not be viewed as being the only or best source of information on the policy process. Relevant public administration skills will enable diplomats to interrogate whatever information that is presented to them in any negotiation process and be able to respond according to their various national and continental interests.

Even for poor governments who have been stripped of their sovereignty on economic policy matters by the World Bank, there is an urgent need to treat them with some respect. Since most of these governments have left the coming generations in debt with the Bank loans, transparency and some accountability from the side of the Bank must be ensured if the current cycle of debt is to be dealt with. This is another area where the INGOs are making an important input because some of the programmes which the Bank has prescribed for governments across the world have ignored women and the youth, the environment, or have just benefited the elite.

The African Union and NEPAD remains Africa’s main multilateral tool for economic and political policy coordination across the region and in the world. As

Mazrui (1999) correctly points out, establishing or strengthening region-wide

African institutions and promoting regional integration will ensure greater African self-reliance. Stremlau (1999:104) is of the view that capable international institutions and political will are two important elements that could bring African

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international relations line with good values that it is currently lacking. Mazrui

(1999) goes further to indicate that strengthening truly global alliances by Africa with the new global and funding actors like Japan, Taiwan, Republic of and

South Korea as well as the traditional Western victors will give impetus to the new drive to develop Africa.

South Africa is in the fore-front of the call for the transformation of the United

Nations and other multilateral bodies to focus more on problems that the developing world is experiencing. Developed countries whose influence has been dominant in these multilateral organizations are resisting such a move for change. There is a fear amongst the countries of the North that they will lose their influence on matters that relate to the international political economy that is of their national interests. The challenge for South Africa is to diplomatically build a strong coalition of the South to challenge the hegemony of the North.

According to Nel et al. (2001:5), South Africa’s multilateral approach is characterized by increasing the use of multilateral institutions to achieve broader foreign policy goals, push for the strengthening of existing multilateral institutions for Africa and globally as a means to ensure the realization of the needs of the developing world, and the transformation of multilateral institutions to ensure a bigger say for the developing world and also reverse the marginalization of Africa.

Unfortunately, as a middle power and the opportunities that are presented through assuming such a position, there are many pressures and constraints that are part of such a role (Nel et al., 2001:17). Availability of resources and capacity are identified as two of the major factors that may affect the success or failure of

South Africa’s multilateral agenda.

The factors described thus far have impacted negatively on the ability of African countries to achieve the desired objective of poverty eradication and economic development. It is also clear that many African economies have stagnated and some are at a critical stage, referred to as institutionalized underdevelopment.

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Decreased levels of formal economic activities characterize such countries, with unemployment being alarmingly high, compounding poverty, disease and hunger.

This calls for an urgent need by the leadership of the region to transform all governance structures to promote integovernmentalism and to root-out the current individual country’s approach to development. Such a process will also assist to eradicate misuse of resources as a result of corruption and maladministration.

On the political side, an approach has recently been made to resolve civil wars in

Africa, these remain one of the major obstacles to attain total integration of the region. The wars have a negative impact on FDI and in the process available resources are channelled away from the much-needed infrastructure for education and health into armaments. African political leadership’s first priority must be to develop a strategy through regional institutions to quickly resolve the current conflicts in all countries in order to create a good environment for political and economic integration of the region. This will enable the organization to mobilize the needed capacity and resources in all the member states as a means to forge intergovernmentalism directed towards economic and social development of the region.

South Africa has assumed a leadership role to achieve Africa’s objective and the challenge is the ability of its diplomats in the region and other countries to influence the paradigm shift towards good governance in the thinking of the

African leaders. Konergay (2001:3) is of the view that an organized South will have the capacity to push for the restructuring of the current international order.

This will create a new global environment to serve the interests of developing countries within the UN and Bretton Woods Institutions. This strategy will only be realized if South-South trade and development cooperation is harnessed, linking the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean communities, grounded in the African

Regional Economic Communities trading axis (Konergay (2001:3). This relationship will greatly benefit South Africa and other African countries in their

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endeavour to get a fair share in global political decision-making and also to have a greater say in receiving share of global wealth to attain prosperity.

There is no doubt that the current conduct of South African diplomats and the large contingent of Ambassadors, who were previously in exile, have really impacted on the way South Africa places itself at the centre of the continent and the world. It could be argued that many years that ANC leaders spent in exile, like

President Thabo Mbeki, are what really moulded them and that which distinguishes them from other leaders in their understanding of global issues.

Many of the ANC leaders who became diplomats look at the world with a deep understanding, because as observers during their time in exile, they were able to observe how the world systems operate and understand were the problem lies, and the current challenges that Africa faces.


3.7.1 The Organization of Foreign Policy Implementation

Since 1994, South African foreign policy has gone through the process of consolidation to reassert South Africa’s role in bilateral and multilateral international relations. The Constitution of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) spells out clearly that the president is ultimately responsible for the foreign policy and international relations. Both President Nelson Mandela and his successor

President Thabo Mbeki have led by example in fulfilling the responsibility set out in South Africa’s Constitution. The two leaders have successfully raised the image of South Africa internationally by defining the country’s particular role as an important international player in international relations.

The minister of foreign affairs, who is the political head of the DFA, is mandated

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to formulate, promote and execute South Africa foreign policy on behalf of the president. This role has exerted capacity pressures on the Foreign Service organ of government which is responsible for the execution of South Africa’s foreign policy. The DFA, as of the 1 April 2002 has 634 diplomats and 84 heads of mission (DFA, 2003:53), this representation is spread over all continents. Since other organs of government have a role to play in the deliberation on international relations in other areas, the minister of foreign affairs is responsible, through a

Cabinet Cluster on International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) for consulting with other ministers on foreign policy matters. The DFA has defined its own vision, mission and strategic objectives to reflect its aspiration to achieve its mandate. The Vision of the DFA is; ’an African Continent, which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable.’ The Mission states that; ‘We are committed to promoting South Africa’s national interests and values, the African Renaissance and the creation of a better world for all.’ The DFA’s Strategic Objectives are spelt out its Strategic Plan of 2005-2008 as : through bilateral and multilateral interactions, protect and promote South African national interests and values; conduct and co-ordinate South Africa’s international relations and promote its foreign policy objectives; to monitor international developments and advice government on foreign policy and related domestic matters; to protect South

Africa’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; to contribute to the formulation of international law and enhance respect for the provisions thereof; to promote multilateralism to secure a rules based international system; to maintain a modern, effective and excellence driven department; to provide consular services to South African nationals abroad; and to provide a world class and uniquely

South African state protocol service. Lastly, the DFA’s Values call for adherence to: patriotism, loyalty, dedication, ubuntu, equity, integrity and Batho Pele (people first) (DFA, 2005).

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Chief Director Public


Deputy Minister

Chief Directorate Policy,

Research & Analysis

Deputy Minister


Chief Directorate

Internal Audit

Branch Africa

Branch Americas and the Caribbean

Branch Europe

Branch State


Branch Asia and

Middle East

Branch Multilateral

Branch Corporate


Branch Africa


Branch Foreign

Service Institute

(Source Department of Foreign Affairs: 2005)

Figure 3.7: Organogram of the Department of Foreign Affairs


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Table 3.5: The DFA Strategic Plan 2005-2008


Consolidation of the

African agenda


Strengthen the African


Implementation of previous

Union and its structures Summit decisions

All South Africa obligations carried

Facilitate South Africa’s participation in SADC and SACU

Promote the implementation of out as scheduled within identified time frames

Implementation of the RISDP and strategic indicative programme of the organ

Successful finalisation of the structuring of the SADC

Implementation of the decisions of


Finalizing the AU budget and engage on the AU vision, mission and strategy

Supporting the Pan-Africa


Supporting the AU Peace and

Security Council

Engaging in completing the restructuring of the SADC

Strengthening governance and capacity in the SADC

Working towards the full implementation of the RISDP

Facilitating SACU negotiations with India, , the USA and


Global Governance relations


171 the NEPAD Steering Committee and NEPAD Heads of Government Providing capacity and political

Implementation Committee

Implementation of NEPAD programmes and projects

Successful conclusion South

Africa’s African Peer Review

Management process strengthening the existing ones

South-South cooperation secured support for the implementation of the NEPAD programmes

Strengthening South Africa’s leadership in various NEPAD sectors

Support integration of existing sectoral NEPAD action plans

Strengthen NEPAD coordination mechanism in South Africa

Opening missions in Benin,

Burkina Faso, Chad and

Republic of Congo

Implementation of programmes of current joint bilateral commissions and establishing new ones

Conclusion of outstanding agreements between South

Africa and other African

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South-South Cooperation

Promote South-South co-operation in general through IBSA, NAM, the

G77 South Summit

Promote North-South co-operation in support of the African Agenda through G8, the

Commission for Africa, the African Partnership

Forum, the EU, UN, the

OECD, the WTO, the

IMF and World Bank, and WEF

Promote South-South in pursuit of common concerns and needs

Synergy established between

Asian and African implementation mechanisms to maximize Asian support for NEPAD

Political commitments translated into concrete support and action

Successful 2 nd

South Summit in

Qatar in June 2005 countries

Facilitate institutional capacity building as part of post-war reconstruction and development

Marketing the implementation of

NEPAD objectives, priorities and programmes in Asia, especially in the context of TICAD (Japan),

-Africa Cooperation Forum, the

India-Africa Fund, AASROC, and so on.

Reform international financial institutions and UN

Address market access issues especially agriculture subsidies

Promotion of capital flows and investments into Africa

Securing enhanced and accelerated debt relief


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co-operation for increase market access,

IFCC XI meeting in Havana in

March 2005 trade and investment;

Prevent the substitution of developed South

Africa responsibilities with South - South cooperation;

Obtain support for the

Agenda of the South;

Facilitate the development of IBSA and promote its agenda

Successful joint actions by countries of the South to achieve common goals

Successful joint action by countries of the South to achieve common goals;

Implementation of the agenda

Securing concrete implementation of international partners and processes

Strengthening relations with

Pacific Island forum and the

Caribbean around ACP and

Commonwealth issues

Strengthening economic relations with South and Central

America, the Indian Rim and

Central Europe

Strengthening relations with all members of the G77 and to promote South-South cooperation

Reform Bretton Woods institutions


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Political and Economic


Expand tourism promotion

Conclude framework agreements for FTA’s with ,

India, EFTA and the United


Coordinated implementation of the

International Tourism

Growth Strategy (ITGS)

Agreements concluded as per schedule

Establish closer cooperation with

Department of Environmental

Affairs and Tourism, SA Tourism,

Tourism Business Council of SA,

South African Airways on matters relating to tourism promotion

Exploring the development of new tourist markets through missions

Non-tariff barriers used to control imports

Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights

Resolving trade disputes

(Source The DFA Strategic Plan: 2005-


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Representation Abroad

As of 6 April 2004 (Table 3.1), the DFA has the following representation abroad:

Table 3.6 South Africa’s Foreign Representation as of 6 April 2004

Representation Number

Embassies/ High Commissions

Consulates/ Consulates General



Honorary Consulates

Other (e.g., Liaison Office)



Non-resident Accreditation


International Organization


(Source Department of Foreign Affairs: 2005)

According to Sipho Pityana, the former Director General of the DFA, the efficient functioning of South Africa’s missions abroad is essential for the successful implementation of its foreign policy (cited in, le Pere, 2000). According to the

South African Yearbook 2003/4, South Africa’s diplomatic and consular missions are responsible for enhancing its international profile and serve as a strategic mechanism for the realization of its international interests. A mission’s work is guided by the development of business plans informed by IRPS cluster’s strategic plans in terms of South Africa’s annual international relations objectives on trade, business promotion, technical cooperation, peace and security and economic development (cited, le Pere, 2000). Heads of Missions are expected to work with relevant departments, state enterprises and the private sector in attainment of IRPS cluster goals in the execution of their foreign policy objectives.

Sipho Pityana, in his opening address to the Heads of Missions Conference held in Cape Town on 11-16 February 2001, argued that a modern diplomat is

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expected to be an expert on issues such as trade negotiations, global governance, disarmament and environmental protection (cited in, Malcolmson,

2001). At the same conference, President Thabo Mbeki highlighted key multilateral and continental issues that underpin South Africa’s foreign policy that need serious interrogation. They are: the challenges facing SADC and the OAU; the reform of regional and international organizations (e.g. UN, WTO, IMF/World

Bank and the Commonwealth); and continental and international efforts aimed at attaining peace and stability in Africa and ensuring peace in the Middle East.

(cited in, Malcolmson, 2001)

Since the inception of South Africa’s FS institutions in the 1920s, appointment to the diplomatic service was influenced more by political considerations rather than merit (Geldenhuys, 1984:15-6). The diplomatic service was used by the apartheid government leaders as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians (Geldenhuys,

1984:16). Currently two systems of selection and appointment of ambassadors to represent South Africa abroad are used. According to South African Yearbook

2003/4, it is the prerogative of the president to appoint Heads of Missions. The president appoints, on merit, officials from within the Public Service or individuals from other sectors of society to become ambassadors. The Minister of Foreign

Affairs makes a recommendation to the president who will then use his discretion on whether to approve the appointment of the recommended individual or not.

Officials from the level of Deputy-Director to Deputy Director-General have been appointed since 1994 to head missions. Individuals in this category are selected on the basis of their past diplomatic experience or academic qualification. The term ‘career diplomats’ is used to refer to this category of Heads of Mission.

On the political side, a number of appointments have been made to Heads of

Missions from outside the DFA. A number of members of parliament, former cabinet ministers, trade union activists and politicians from the mainstream political parties have been appointed to head missions since 1994. The appointments in this category are based on the discretion of the State President

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after recommendations are received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Therefore, the criteria used in these appointments are known only to the executive authority responsible for making these appointments. After appointments of individuals as Heads of Missions, they are expected to attend a six week orientation course before being posted. In exceptional cases, some individuals, especially in the political category depart for their posting without attending the orientation course. They are encouraged to undertake self-study to acquire the necessary diplomatic skills that are required for them to successfully undertake their responsibilities once sent to head missions.

There are several categories of diplomatic representation: resident ambassadors, non-resident ambassadors, high commissioners and presidential envoys. The resident ambassadors are those ambassadors who are accredited to head missions in various countries or multilateral organizations on a permanent basis.

High commissioners are resident ambassadors assigned to Commonwealth countries. These ambassadors can be accredited to adjacent countries which are not identified and are not strategic enough to have permanent representation due to cost implications associated with such a decision. In the countries were these ambassadors are credited but not resident, they are called non-resident ambassadors. Non-resident ambassadors are expected to visit these countries to undertake their various responsibilities that are expected of them as in those areas where they are resident ambassadors. Ambassadors to multilateral organizations such as the UN and WTO can also be categorised as resident ambassadors because they are based at these organizations on a full-time basis.

Special or presidential envoys are those ambassadors appointed by the president to lead South Africa diplomatic efforts on specific issues that are of national interest. Normally envoys are appointed as observers to particular regional bodies or organizations for the purposes of serving a particular interest of their government.

Currently, public service regulations are utilized in the selection and

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appointments of diplomats lower than the Head of Mission. The Director General of the DFA as the accounting officer approves the recommendations made by the selection committee to appoint officials of Foreign Service. Given the nature of the position that becomes vacant, relevant qualifications and related experience are used as criteria for selection and appointment of officials for diplomatic service. After appointment, officials will serve in the DFA and attend relevant training programmes at the FSI in preparation for their posting abroad. Currently officials are expected to serve at least two years in the DFA and then attend a six months to one year diplomatic training course before they are appointed through another selection process to serve as diplomats in various capacities (Minister,

Minister-Counsellor, Counsellor, First Secretary, Second Secretary and Third

Secretary, Administration Assistant and Attaches, Consular Officer). Other officials who have also completed their tour of duty are also considered after spending two years in the DFA after their last posting to also compete with new appointees for another posting.

Appointments to mission at a ministerial level is mostly done for officials who are at the level of a director or upwards. Such an official can also be referred to as the Deputy Head of Mission. Their responsibilities, which are assigned to them by the ambassador, may be to oversee the implementation of the mission business plan from the political and economic line function to administrative issues like budgets and human resources. When the ambassador is out of the country of accreditation, ministers act as heads of mission. Missions with minister and minister-counsellor are regarded as important missions. Minister-counsellors and counsellors can also act as the (second in charge) in the middle and lower category missions, undertaking similar responsibilities that ministers undertake in higher category missions. In high category mission, minister-counsellors or counsellors are assigned specific areas of focus like political, economic, public diplomacy, corporate services, trade, and so on. In a higher category mission, a counsellor may also report to the minister counsellor. In smaller category missions, first and second secretaries are assigned to undertake the functions of

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


the counsellors. The first and second secretary may also report to the minister counsellor or counsellor depending on the structure of a mission. Third secretary and attachés are assigned to internal support functions such as rendering secretariat functions to the Head of Mission, management of the diplomatic correspondences (communication and diplomatic bags), consular services and administrative support, depending on the category of the mission.

Except for DFA, few government departments have representation at missions to support the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. In South

Africa, the departments of Trade and Industry, Defence, Health, Agriculture,

Home Affairs and the South African Police Service have representations in various missions given their strategic importance to support the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. These departments also follow the public service regulations and internal mechanisms in the appointment of internal staff to become diplomats who are expected to specialize in the mandate of their various departments. The appointee in this category attends an orientation course on diplomatic protocol before being posted.

In South Africa, the roles played by other departments, especially in the promotion of trade and investment such as Departments of Trade and Industry

(DTI) and Agriculture are crucial for the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy. There have been instances where missions abroad are dissatisfied by inefficiency and ineffectiveness of their offices with regard to the promotion of trade, investment and transnational business (Mills and White, 2003:234). These comments were made when the DTI decided to close many of its foreign offices at various missions in 2002, resulting in DFA representatives having to undertake additional responsibilities of trade and investment promotion although they are not capacitated with expertise and resources to do so (Mills et al., 2003: 236-7).

Many DFA diplomats have been found to be lacking the necessary trade, investment or business background to deal with the commercial work of a mission because they have been trained to perform political functions (Mills and

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


White, 2003: 237).

In order for missions to fulfil their various responsibilities, missions are graded at various levels in order to determine the level of capacity and resources required to efficiently and effectively manage the implementation of the government’s foreign policy. Currently missions are graded into three levels, namely; Grade A,

B and C missions. Grade A is the highest grading a mission can get. Such missions are headed by incumbents at the level of a chief director or higher.

Minister Counsellors who are at the level of a director support the work of the ambassador and head various sections of a mission. Currently, Grade A missions are Brussels (for EU), USA, PRC, Japan, UN, and so on. Grade B missions are also important missions for the attainment of both political and economic national interests and are those in Canada, Brazil, Germany and Nigeria. Grade B missions are normally headed at chief director or director level and are supported by a number of deputy directors at the rank of counsellors. Countries which fall in this category are identified as crucial for the advancement of South African national interests and relevant capacities are provided for the execution of the these policies.

Category A and B missions are supported in their work by consul-generals.

Consul-generals are appointed in this respect to head various consulate generals in those countries which are too large for a mission to service from the capital. In

PRC and the USA, there are consulate-generals in Shanghai and New York respectively to support missions in Beijing and Washington. A consulate general can be regarded as a mini-mission who renders some of the services of a full mission. The consul generals work very closely with ambassadors in the areas of the accreditation but are independent when it comes to the management of its resources. If the mission is graded as A, the consul general may be at the level of a director, and for a B grading, the Consul General may be at a rank of a Deputy

Director. Consulate Generals are located in those cities where major economic activities are taking place. The purpose of Consulate Generals is to lessen the

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


burden of the main mission’s human and financial resources of commuting between an important economic centre and the political capital in the country of representation.

Grade C can be regarded as an average or smaller mission, but it is also considered essential to have proper representation to attain the objectives that have been identified in these countries. Grade C Missions are those that are found in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malawi, and so on. A deputy director normally heads the mission and he/she is supported by assistant directors at the level of first secretaries who heads various components of the mission. The category of missions are supported at the higher level by a number of first, second and third secretaries or attaches at both line functions and corporate services. An ideal mission will have political, economic and corporate services.

The sections of an ideal mission include consular, administration, media, protocol, investments promotion, marketing, defence, and so on. Depending on the grading of missions, below minister counsellors or counsellor or first secretary, there are three other levels of secretaries, namely second and third secretaries and attachés. Second secretaries are those officials appointed at the level of senior administration officer and third secretary are those appointed at the level of administration officials. At least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent is essential, coupled with successful completion of the diplomatic training programme for one to be appointed in all the above levels. Below this level there are administration clerks, called attachés who support the internal administration work of a mission. The operational level of the mission is measured at the level of ambassador, minister counsellor, counsellor, first secretary, and to some extent second secretary depending on the level of a mission. The knowledge and experience the incumbents have will determine whether a mission will properly manage the implementation of the government’s foreign policy with success as articulated in their various business plans.

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


In the appointment and allocation of the capacities to missions according to their level of importance, policy considerations are taken into account. Currently a large contingent of South African ambassadors are regarded as old hands because most of them have spend long years in foreign countries. They have a clear understanding of the working of diplomacy and this has given South Africa, since the first democratic election in 1994, an edge in international engagements and the advancement of South Africa’s national interests. The grading of missions is also important because resources can be easily allocated accordingly.


This chapter has presented detailed discussion on the phenomenon under study.

The role of government in national and international affairs was elaborated on in detail. The role of public administration in the implementation of government policy nationally and internationally also received attention. Attention was paid to

South Africa’s foreign policy objectives and the challenges its public administration faces in implementing those policies in a global context. SADC objectives and protocols were dealt with in detail, because the region remains the front line for the implementation for South Africa’s foreign policy. The failure of

South Africa to successfully implement its foreign policy in SADC will generally be interpreted as a failure in the rest of its foreign policy, especially in Africa.

This chapter also established that African governments lacks the resources that could be used to supplement the tertiary training public administrators has received with specialized training on the management of foreign relations. In most cases, many countries in Africa which do not have training facilities for foreign relations public administrators appoint officials to the FS without any relevant public administration skills. This has impacted negatively on the capacity of FS institutions’ ability to deliver on their foreign relations mandate.

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


The challenges for Africa to assert herself in international affairs will largely depend on the capacity to engage through bilateral and multilateral relations successfully. The challenge for African governments and their representatives abroad is to start first by knowing oneself and one’s environment as the basis to absorb the world because there is never one centre from which to view the world and participate fully in its affairs. Relevant training should be provided by relevant government or tertiary institutions to public servants who will be tasked with turning the tide and have the African development agenda (NEPAD) at the centre of all diplomatic engagements. Chapter Four concentrates on case studies of the policies, programme and institutional structures that South Africa has adopted and is implementing to address skills deficiencies in foreign policy implementation.

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


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