Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree PhD in Public Affairs in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences



JULY 2008

© U n i i v e r r s s i i t t y o f f

P r r e t t o r r i i a


I should like to thank my supervisor Prof. Jerry O. Kuye for his guidance and invaluable advice in the supervision of this research project.

To my wife Mothepana and my children Karabo, Mpho, Mbuya-Nehanda and Moshe, thank you for your continual understanding, support and encouragement. You endured my absence while I was working on this project. I am indebted to you.

To my father, grandmothers, brothers and sisters thank you for believing in me and for your friendship and support.

To the late Peter Ngobese, my friend, boss and academic mentor, it was at his insistence and through his unselfish support that enabled me, even during difficult circumstances, to continue and complete this study.

I also owe my thanks to my colleagues in the Foreign Service who took the time, from their busy schedules, to complete the questionnaire. Their responses provided a valuable source of information and gave life and direction to this research project.

To all my colleagues off whom I bounced ideas, and especially to Monika Glinzler, I am grateful for all your support.

Johannes Monodowafa Mashaba

Pretoria, South Africa



I hereby declare that the research report is my own, unaided work. It is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy at the University of

Pretoria. It has not been submitted before for any degree or examination in any other University.

Johannes Monodowafa Mashaba


South Africa



The role that South Africa has played in international affairs has grown immensely since the first democratic elections that were held in April 2004. The country’s commitments in international affairs are guided by its foreign policy which is based on ensuring an equitable share of global decision-making between the countries of the north and south, and the economic and social development of the African continent. These foreign policy objectives have created a lot of capacity challenges on the South African Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which is mandated to guide the formulation and implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy. In this study, the South African’s foreign policy objectives and its institutions responsible for implementing its foreign policy are discussed. Furthermore, the challenges that the country’s diplomats encounter in the global context in the implementation of the country’s foreign policy objectives are explored, especially the capacity required to successfully execute their mandate. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI), which is tasked with providing training to public administrators identified for Foreign Service, especially the content of its training programmes are the focus of this study. The data presented in this thesis are mainly derived from interview responses to a questionnaire that was developed for the purpose of this research study. The questionnaire was completed by individuals in the country’s Foreign Service (FS) who attended the FSI training programme and have been assigned to their first posting. Findings of this study indicate that the FSI training programme, in its current format, fall short of achieving its intended objective of equipping South

African diplomats with the relevant diplomatic skills that are necessary for the effective and efficient execution of the country’s foreign policy. It is, therefore, recommended that FSI training programme be remodelled to address the actual challenges that the country’s diplomats face and thus emphasise the development of a uniquely South African training programme. This study concludes with recommendations for the DFA action on the future development of a remodelled FSI training programme for the FS, with the aim of enabling the institution to address public administration skills required for the successful implementation of the country’s foreign policy objectives.



1.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................... 1

1.3 PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY....................................... 6

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION ............................................................................. 8

1.5 SCOPE AND DELIMITATIONS ................................................................... 8


2.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................... 12

2.2.1 Primary Data ..................................................................................... 15 a) Participant Observations ......................................................... 15 b) Informal discussions................................................................ 15 c) Structured interviews ............................................................... 17

2.2.2 Secondary Data ................................................................................ 22

2.4 INTERPRETATION OF DATA .................................................................... 29

2.5 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 30


3.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................... 31


3.2.1 Public Administration in Government Policy-Making Process .... 34

3.2.2 Organizational Structure and Strategic Planning ......................... 34

Table of Contents i

3.2.3 Human Resources Management and Development ...................... 46

3.2.4 Public Finance Management ......................................................... 53

3.2.5 Performance Measurements ........................................................... 65

3.2.6 Public Policy Implementation ......................................................... 70

3.2.7 Policy Implementation in Intergovernmental Organizations ........ 73

3.2.8 Public Policy Monitoring and Evaluation ...................................... 75


INTER-GOVERNMNETAL COOPERATION ............................................... 77

3.3.1 Public Administration Organization of Foreign Policy ................ 77

3.3.2 Bilateral Diplomacy .......................................................................... 81

3.3.3 Multilateral Diplomacy ..................................................................... 82

3.3.4 Diplomat and Diplomacy ................................................................. 85

3.3.5 Modes of Diplomacy in Response to a Changing

Global Order ...................................................................................... 89

3.3.6 The Context of African Diplomacy.................................................. 93

3.4 SOUTH AFRICA IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT................................................ 98

3.4.1 South African Foreign Policy from 1910-1990 ............................... 99

3.4.2 South African Foreign Policy Objectives from

1994 to date....................................................................................... 104

3.4.3 Implication of Globalisation – South Africa’s

Institution of Foreign Service......................................................... 111



3.5.1 Bilateral Relations ............................................................................ 114 a) Diplomatic Relations with Japan .............................................. 115 b) Diplomatic Relations with the People’s Republic c) Diplomatic Relations with India ............................................... 118 d) Diplomatic Relations with Nigeria ............................................ 119 e) Diplomatic Relations with United States (US).......................... 121

3.5.2 Multilateral Relations ....................................................................... 122

Table of Contents ii

a) Southern African Development Community ............................ 122 b) Integration of the OAU and AEC into AU and NEPAD ............ 130 c) United Nations ............................................................................ 136 d) Other Inter-governmental Organizations ................................. 137 e) The World Bank .......................................................................... 138 f) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ..................................... 141 g) World Trade Organization (WTO).............................................. 142 h) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)............................... 145


SOUTH AFRICA’S FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES................................ 149

3.6.1 Africa’s Economic Situation............................................................ 149

3.6.2 Challenges for Africa in the International Policy Process ............ 158

TO IMPLEMENT SOUTH AFRICA’S FOREIGN POLICY ......................... 167

3.7.1 The Organization of Foreign Policy Implementation .................... 167

3.8 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 182





4.2.1 Introduction to Framework for Training in the

South African Public Service .......................................................... 197


Table of Contents iii

THREE ................................................................................. 231

4.7 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 247



5.4 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 278


6.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................... 280

6.2 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 281

6.3 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................ 286

6.3.1 South Africa’s Institution of Foreign Policy Administration

and its Foreign Policy Objectives.................................................. 286

6.3.2 Examination of Global Diplomatic Practices ................................. 287

6.3.3 Skills Challenges faced by Diplomats in the Global Context and

Relevant Diplomatic Training Programmes to address

the Challenges ............................................................................... 289

6.3.4 Relevant Public Administration Skills required for South

6.3.5 Analysis and Interpretation of the Findings ................................. 291

6.4 RECOMMENDATIONS................................................................................ 292

6.4.1 Rethinking the FSI Training Programme in the

context of Public Administration................................................... 292

6.4.2 Governance and Foreign Service ................................................... 294

6.4.3 Understanding Leadership Role vis-à-vis

6.4.4 Understanding Integrated Governance and the Implementation

Table of Contents iv

of South Africa’s Foreign Policy ................................................... 298

6.4.5 Information Technology as an Aid for the

Implementation of South African Foreign Policy .......................... 299

6.4.6 Strategic Verbal Communication and Writing............................... 301

6.4.7 Thinking Strategically: Promoting Creativity and Innovativeness

in Foreign Service........................................................................... 302

6.4.8 Field of Specialization ..................................................................... 304

6.4.9 Implementation of Findings and

Recommendations........................................................................... 307

6.5 SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 308

REFERENCES .............................................................................................. 309

ANNEXURES .............................................................................................. 329

Table of Contents v


Figure 3.1: Organisational Structure of the Department

of Agriculture..................................................................................... 40

Figure 3.2: An Illustration of a Strategic Management

Approach............................................................................................ 44

Figure 3.3: An Illustration of HRM in Public Administration ............................. 45

Figure 3.4: Appraisal Process in Public Administration .................................. 51

Figure 3.5: Framework for strategic and operational planning......................... 54

Figure 3.6: Linking planning, budgeting and reporting .................................... 60

Figure 3.7: Organogram of the Department of Foreign Affairs ......................... 169

List of Figures vi


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

Plan of a Government Agency ............................................................ 41

Table 3.2: Dimension of Performance Measurement in the Budgeting

Process .............................................................................................. 68

Table 3.3: South Africa’s Foreign Representation from

1948-1982 ........................................................................................... 104

Table 3.4: Selected African Countries Economic Indicators............................ 154

Table 3.5: Department of Foreign Affairs Strategic Plan

2005-2008 ........................................................................................... 170

Table 3.6: South Africa’s Foreign Representation as on

Table 4.1: DFA Human Resource Development Programme

2005-2008 ............................................................................................ 200

List of Tables vii






African Economic Community

Africa Growth and Opportunity Act

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

African National Congress

BIS Inter-African Bureau of Social Conservation and Land Utilisation

BNC Bi-National Commission



Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa South of the Sah

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy















List of Acronyms

Department of Foreign Affairs

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Department of Agriculture

Department of Public Service & Administration

Democratic Republic of Congo

Department of Trade and Industry

Diplomatic Training Programme

European Economic Community

Electricity Supply Commission

Education and Training Development

Foreign Direct Investments

Foreign Service Development Programme

Foreign Service Institute

Free Trade Agreement viii




















Group of Eight Wealthiest Countries

Group of Twenty Developing Countries

Group of Seventy-Seven Countries

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

Gross Domestic Product

Growth, Employment and Redistribution

Government Environment Facility

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human Resources Development

Human Resources Development Strategy for Public Service

Human Resource Management

International Bank of Reconstruction and Development

India, Brazil and South Africa

International Development Authority

International Fund for Agriculture Development

International Finance Corporation

International Institute for Environment and Development

International Monetary Fund

International Relations Peace and Security Cluster








Joint Ministerial Commission

Low Income Countries

Lower Middle Income Countries

Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies

Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme

Mission Foreign Affairs Assistant Course

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency

List of Acronyms ix




New African Initiative

Non Aligned Movement

New Partnership for Africa’s Development









NQF National Forum



National Skills Development Strategy

Organisation of African Unity



P.R. C.


Organisation of European Community Development

Public Finance Management Act

People’s Republic of China

Public Service Commission





Preferential Trade Agreement

Reconstruction and Development Programme

Regional Economy Community

Resistancia National Mocambicana

Republic of South Africa

South African Customs Union

Southern African Development Community

Southern African Development Coordination Committee

South African Management Development Institute

South African National Defence Force

Several Agreements on Trade Tariffs

Spouse Orientation Programme





Upper Middle Income Countries

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

United Nations Economic and Social Council

University of South Africa

List of Acronyms x









National Union for the Total Independence of Angola

United States of America

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Virtual Campus

White Paper on Public Service Trading & Education

World Resource Institute

World Summit on Sustainable Development

World Trade Organization

List of Acronyms xi


Preamble to Definition

For the purpose of this study, definitions and acronyms to be used in the context of this research report will be provided in this section. The following is a definition of concepts and acronyms that are used in this research report:


The research report establishes to what degree the FSI training programme has impacted positively or negatively on the ability of the country’s diplomat to execute its foreign policy. For the purpose of this thesis extent will mean the negative or positive impact.

Institution of Foreign Policy Administration

Foreign policy administration is an institution or an organ of state created to coordinate, facilitate and implement its foreign policy. In South Africa, the Department of Foreign Affairs is mandated to undertake this function.

Foreign Service Institute

FSI is a training agency of the Department of Foreign Affairs established for the sole purpose of training officials identified for Foreign Service.

Training Programme

Training involves activities of learning undertaken to prepare a person for a job and the programme is a plan of undertaking such activities. For the purpose of this thesis,

Definition of Concepts xii

training programme means the curriculum or syllabus used to train the country’s diplomats for Foreign Service.


Relevancy means establishing whether what is done is in line with what needs to be achieved. In the context of this study relevancy means establishing whether the training offered by FSI to the country’s diplomats adequately addresses the need.


In the context of this thesis, challenge means the ability of the country’s diplomats to execute their responsibilities in the global context successfully.


Facing means to look in a certain direction. Facing in this thesis means issues that may be encountered by diplomats in their work that may assist or hinder their ability discharge their responsibilities successfully in a global context.


Barston (1997:1), defines diplomacy as merely concerned with advising, shaping and implementing foreign policy. Barston (1997:1) in elaborating the above went further stating that to undertake their diplomatic activities through formal and other representatives to articulate, coordinate and achieve set objectives of its interests using different method of communication (correspondence, private talks, lobbying, visits, etc.). For the purpose of this study, diplomacy means pursuing bilateral and multilateral relations with one or more governments for the purposes of social and economic development, peace and security through peaceful means by a government.

Definition of Concepts xiii

South African Diplomat

According to De Magalhaes (1988:19), diplomat comes from the Greek word diploma

(diplo = folded in two and ma = object), the concept of a pure diplomat means an official who acts as an instrument of implementing a given foreign policy. South

African diplomats, for the purpose of this thesis, will mean public administrators appointed to plan the implementation of its foreign policy, manage implementation of its foreign policy and evaluate the implementation of its foreign policy in their respective missions.

Global Context

Global context means issues or activities that are happening in the whole world and are impacting positively or negatively on South Africa’s foreign policy implementation capacity.

Bilateral Relations

Bilateral relations mean diplomatic relations between two countries. For the purpose of this thesis bilateral relations will mean diplomatic relationship that South Africa has with other countries in pursuing its national interests.

Multilateral Relations

Multilateral relations mean diplomatic relations through representation and participation in intergovernmental organization and other institutions or associations of countries to pursue the national interests of a country.

Definition of Concepts xiv


Globalisation in the context of thesis means the integration of political and economic issues across sovereign states resulting in a negative or positive impact to individual state’s social, economic and political environment.


North-South means developed and developing countries working together to resolve economic and political challenges facing the latter.


South-South means developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere working together to resolve their political and economic challenges.

Definition of Concepts xv



“For the first time, I think, in the history of this great continent, leaders of purely African states which can play an independent role in international affairs … For too long in our history Africa has spoken through the voice of others. Now what I call an African personality in international affairs will have a chance of making its proper impact and will let the world know it through the voices of Africa’s own sons”. (Kwame Nkrumah [1958] in

Watson and Thompson, 2000:43)

Globalisation has without doubt reshaped the way in which a state and its institutions of governance are structured. National policies continue to be formulated either in response to global challenges or in line with acceptable international norms. Barston (1997:9) argues that the organization of central foreign policy has been affected by the expansion of issues that it attempts to address and the increasing number of actors that need to be engaged to realise the set objectives. State sovereignty to initiate, develop and implement national policies has also been curtailed to an ostensibly subordinate level, especially in the so-called developing countries, because of increasing complex foreign policy agenda (Barston, 1997:9). South Africa, like some other developing countries, is affected by the decisions taken by both bilateral and multilateral organizations of which it is a member. In many instances its domestic policies have to comply with the country being a signatory to treaties and international agreements in order to respect its international obligations. Countries engage in bilateral and multilateral relations in an attempt to pursue their own national interests, be they economic and/or political.

In dealing with the challenges of international relations, countries formulate a public policy to pursue their national interests and to guide foreign interactions.

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


This is called a foreign policy. Foreign policy, as a government policy, must be implemented by public administrators who are expected to grapple with the challenges of execution in the international arena, through the institution of the

Foreign Service (FS). Public administrators are responsible for overseeing the implementation of a country’s foreign policy through a process termed ‘diplomacy’

(Barston, 1997:23). The diplomatic process has its own uniform rituals and protocols to which each country must adhere. Individuals who are employed by their governments to coordinate, facilitate and implement foreign policy are called


The South African government, as with any other government, has its own foreign policy organization; this has undergone tremendous change since the early 1990s. The changes were as a result of the demise of apartheid and the coming into power of the previously marginalized black majority through a democratic process. Due to its status as a pariah state during the apartheid years, the apartheid government’s foreign policy and its implementation structures were never given an equal footing in international relations

(Geldenhuys, (1984:15). The level of representation, at both bilateral and multilateral organizations, was very limited and this in the long term was not sustainable for a government which was condemned for its policies at every international forum. When the new government came into power, through a democratic process, its role in international affairs broadened immensely in a very short space of time. The new government never disappointed in this regard and responded positively to world expectations by quickly restructuring its institution of foreign policy administration to fully coordinate and implement its new foreign policy.

Unlike the previous apartheid government which some countries had denied the setting-up of diplomatic representation to pursue its foreign policy, the new government responded to the challenge by increasing its representation abroad, by transforming its foreign affairs structures, by opening new missions or

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


embassies and by appointing foreign relations public administrators (diplomats) to fulfil this function in many countries. South Africa’s diplomats are expected to be conversant in a variety of topics such as; politics, economics, trade, human rights, aid, peace, culture, science, arms control and also to promote South

Africa’s status in multilateral organizations. As the British statesman Salisbury observed, ‘there is nothing dramatic’ about a diplomat’s work: it consists ‘of a judicious suggestion here, of an opportune civility there, of a wise concession at one moment and a far-sighted persistence at another; of sleepless tact, immovable calmness and patience that no folly, no provocation, no blunders can shake’ (Geldenhuys, (1984:15). In addition to this observation, is the everincreasing globalisation process. There is far greater exposure and competition between countries than ever before for limited political and economic development resources. In promoting and defending the interests of a country to the outside world, a diplomat requires the relevant public administration skills to effectively plan, implement and evaluate their respective mission’s objectives against the government’s overall foreign policy objectives. South Africa currently has about 100 missions under its institution of foreign policy administration across the world whose task it is to implement its foreign policy objectives.

This study focuses on a particular component of the foreign policy administration of the Republic of South Africa, namely the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA is the government’s ministry of foreign policy administration and is responsible for the facilitation, formulation and implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. Since the management of foreign policy and relations has links with other governments in order to promote the image of a country; tourism, trade, investment and global peace and security are relevant public administration skills that are required for its implementation. Today, the government is focused on expanding its public administrators’ representation in both bilateral and multilateral organizations; this is because of the extensive impact the current evolving global economic and political order has on the country’s foreign policy objective.

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


Most decisions on foreign relations are endorsed by treaties and agreements at both bilateral and multilateral levels and therefore these have been found to have serious implications for a country’s full participation in ensuring that its international interests are fulfilled. In addition, the ever increasing complexities of foreign policies have resulted with different ministries in government having differing stakes, interests and perspectives from those of the ministry of foreign affairs (Barston, 1997:9). Furthermore, these fragmented responsibilities result in drawn-out bureaucratic disputes and divisions within cabinet, which leads to poor ministerial coordination and implementation (Barston, 1997:10). This has also resulted in high level representations in the diplomatic arena that have become a major challenge for any country’s foreign policy administration, this is in order to coordinate positions and influence whatever agreement or treaty is endorsed as binding under international law, to reflect their national and international interests.

Melissen (1999:xv) is of the view that multiple changes in the official diplomatic environment have placed more emphasis on the acquisition of skills necessary to ensure effective management, co-ordination and mediation between different players within governmental diplomacy, as well as skills for lobbying and dealing with the media. This has demanded that countries appoint public administrators in their institutions of foreign policy administration who are equipped with the relevant public administration skills to plan, manage and evaluate the implementation of foreign policy in their respective missions. In South Africa the democratic government, realizing the challenges for building relevant capacity of public administrators, re-orientated the structure and functions of the Foreign

Service Institute (FSI) to offer a relevant in-house training programme. The objective of the FSI is to develop the required administrative capacity to support and execute South Africa’s foreign policy objectives abroad (DFA, 2003).

Given the international role South Africa has assumed to reassert the position of the developing countries (especially in Africa) in international affairs, the question

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


can be raised as to whether South Africa has achieved the necessary capacity to fulfil this role, through the FSI training programmes. This question is raised because of the general understanding in balance of power in international relations where developing countries show that their full participation in global affairs often fall short of their expectations. This failure is blamed on poor representation in international affairs due to the lack of public administration skills required for the successful implementation and management of South Africa foreign policy by its diplomatic corps.

This study focuses on establishing whether South Africa’s diplomatic corps possess the relevant public administration leadership and management skills to successfully execute their foreign policy mandate. This study is set in the context of South Africa’s current international political and economic obligations and the available capacity in its institution of foreign policy administration to execute its foreign policy. This study focuses mainly on one specific aspect of diplomacy, that is, capacity to participate in diplomatic interaction at both bilateral and multilateral levels in safeguarding South Africa’s interests at an international level. This research project seeks to generate new insight on how the government can better equip the public administrators in its diplomatic corps to fully participate and successfully influence multilateral and bilateral policies to reflect and contribute to its national and international interests.


This research project has the following six objectives:

1. to describe South Africa’s foreign policy since 1994 in brief;

2. to determine to what extent changes in government’s international relations priorities had an effect on the recruitment, selection and training of its diplomats;

3. to explore the impact of globalisation on the structures of global

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


diplomatic corps with emphasis on South Africa’s diplomats;

4. to uncover current challenges or difficulties faced by South Africa’s diplomats in implementing South Africa’s foreign policy at both the multilateral and bilateral levels;

5. to explore the availability of the required public administration skills for the management of South Africa’s foreign policy obligations; and

6. to uncover, through case study, the nature of training offered by other institutions and South Africa’s FSI, with special focus on establishing its relevance to the challenges a diplomat faces in the global context.


The South African government has assumed full responsibility for its international affairs and continues to play a very active role in achieving its national interests.

More specifically, South Africa’s role in Africa within the African Union (AU) and

New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and in Southern Africa within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has created a greater capacity challenge to its institution of foreign policy administration (DFA, 2003).

This role and other international relations commitments have placed a greater demand on South Africa’s diplomatic corps to possess the relevant public administration skills in order to successfully execute their mandate. In the process of implementing foreign policy, public administrators are expected to demonstrate leadership and policy management skills in mediating international conflicts and undertaking activities that promote economic development.

In dealing with the capacity problem of creating an efficient and effective institution of foreign policy administration, the government has embarked on a programme to appoint qualified individuals in the public service and thereafter train them for diplomatic posting. The FSI was re-orientated to provide the necessary training programmes (DFA, 2005). This research seeks to establish

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


whether the re-orientation and enhancement of the FSI structure and programmes have been positive in providing relevant public administration training to build the required capacity for public administrators tasked with the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.

To date, limited academic discussions or papers have been generated on the effects of the democratic dispensation since 1994 on the national institution of foreign policy administration in South Africa, especially in regard to its diplomatic capacity. According to Melissen (1999:xiv) the increasingly labyrinth-like nature of modern diplomacy is very challenging for both the academic observer and practitioners, alike. De Magalhaes (1988:5) also acknowledges that there is lack of teaching and research material on the subject of diplomacy, explaining and analyzing how the diplomatic process works and why it works badly or well in particular cases. Despite the limited academic research on the impact of the new global order on public administration training, with special focuses on foreign representation. South Africa has a diplomatic corps that is expected to execute its foreign policy at both bilateral and multilateral levels in order to serve its national and international interests, and to contribute to the creation of better South Africa,

Africa and the world.

This study serves, in part, to fill the academic void by determining, through research, to what extent the FSI training programme is relevant to the challenges facing South Africa’s diplomats. This study also establishes, through analysis of

South Africa’s foreign policy objectives and diplomatic training programme, the existing gaps in public administration capacity to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the institution of foreign policy administration.

Given the findings, recommendations on future policies that relate to the recruitment and training of highly multi-skilled diplomats with portable skills are made. Areas are also identified for future research in the field of human resource development for South Africa’s diplomats. This research also contributes to the study of public administration because new concepts and theories that are

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


relevant for the enhancement of the discipline will be generated and developed.

The research question which drives this study is:

To what extent is the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) training programme relevant to the challenges facing a South African diplomat in the global context?

The study further investigates the following sub-questions: administration and its policy objectives?

2. What constitutes the practice of diplomacy?

3. What challenges are faced by diplomats in a global context?

4. What training is offered to diplomats in a global context?

5. What are the relevant public administration skills for diplomats?

6. What training programmes are offered by the FSI to build South

Africa’s diplomatic capacity?


This study is limited to South Africa’s institution of foreign policy administration, the DFA and its training agency AND the FSI. The study investigates the relevance of the FSI training programmes for public administrators responsible for implementing South Africa’s foreign policy. The primary source of information for this study are individuals involved in the development and implementation of the FSI training programmes as well as practising diplomats who have attended the FSI training programmes. Developers and implementers of the FSI training programmes have a perspective on how to design relevant training programmes and are able to describe what challenges individual South African diplomats will encounter in their careers. Practising diplomats who have undergone training at

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


the FSI provide an informed overview by relating the benefits of the FSI training experience to their work.

Chapter One: Introduction and Background to the Study

Chapter One sets the context to establish why the research is important for government policy makers and what contribution will be made to the field. This chapter deals with the discussion of the research problem and its setting which are elaborated on in detail. In addition, the organization, objectives and purpose of the study are presented. To set the context under which the study was undertaken, the research question, scope and delimitations are also discussed.

Chapter Two: Research Methodology

Chapter Two discusses the methodology used to gather the relevant data that is used in drawing conclusions. Arguments are presented to motivate why the qualitative research method was chosen as the ideal methodology for this study.

Primary and secondary data collecting techniques used in this research are explained, together with methods used to analyse the data. The methodology used in gathering the primary data and the process followed is detailed in this chapter. This chapter also presents the overall research approach, the research design, the data collection method and the analysis procedures.

Chapter Three: Review of Related Literature

This Chapter reviews the relevant literature and considers the role of public administration in governance, it also gives a brief history of the evolution of the art of diplomacy up to and including its current form and its impact on the profession of diplomacy. This chapter focuses, in brief, on the general principles

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


of public administration, the origins of diplomacy and diplomatic training, and challenges faced by diplomats practising their profession in a global environment.

Furthermore, this chapter discusses issues that have influenced South Africa’s current foreign policy objectives since the first democratic elections. Selected countries and multilateral organizations, in which South Africa has full representation, are also discussed to highlight the challenges that the field of international relations presents to the country’s diplomatic capacity. The chapter also presents the issues that South African diplomats need to contend with in the implementation of its foreign policy within the context of regional (SADC) and continental (AU and NEPAD) political and economic activities. South African organization responsible for the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy, the DFA, is also discussed in this chapter, including its structure and the staffing of its missions.

Chapter Four: Pedagogic Approach: A Curriculum Overview

Chapter Four explores the current government legislation and policies geared towards strengthening capacity in government agencies to effectively implement its policies and programmes. This chapter places special emphasis on the DFA’s human resources development policies that inform the FSI training programmes.

An extensive presentation is made on the FSI training programme and two case studies on diplomatic training, offered by the Canadian Foreign Service Institute and the University of Malta.

Chapter Five: Analysis of Findings

Chapter Five presents a summary of the research findings for each question asked relating to the relevance of the FSI training programme to the challenges

South African diplomats encounter when implementing or facilitating the implementation of its foreign policy. This chapter also includes confirmation of the methodology used in data gathering and the size of the sample. Views expressed

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study


by the majority or minority of respondents are quoted and used as a means to confirm or verify the conclusions that have been made on each question as a requirement of the research methodology.

Chapter Six: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Chapter Six presents a summary of the study. Following the summary are conclusions that were reached, based on the findings on the relevance of the FSI training programme to the challenges faced by South Africa diplomats. Lastly, recommendations are made on how the FSI training programme could be enhanced to build the required capacity for the effective implementation or facilitation of the implementation of South Africa foreign policy.

Chapter 1: Introduction and background to the study




This chapter presents a brief overview of the Research Methodology applied to this study in addressing the research problem presented in Chapter 1. The qualitative research method was chosen as the ideal methodology for this study.

Qualitative methodology, according to Morse and Mitchan (2002), has two goals, namely to develop concepts in order to better understand the phenomenon they represent and to develop general and valid theories. Unlike other research methodologies, qualitative research allows for flexibility in design and implementation to ensure congruence between question formulation, literature, data collection strategies and data analysis required for the phenomenon being investigated (Smaling, 2002:3). The methodology allows for information seeking dialogue or interview, in which the researcher has the goal of finding information by identifying when to continue, stop or modify the research process in order to achieve the desired reliability and validity to ensure rigour (Smaling, 2002:3).

Gummesson (1991) maintains that because human beings in any situation are unique there is a high likelihood that existing theory generated by qualitative research maybe inadequate for investigation. Morse and Mitchan (2002), in support of Smaling’s (2002:2) view, argue that the qualitative inquiry begins at its inductive process by deconstructing all the implicit assumptions, building from a carefully inspected base by an informed researcher. McCotter (2001) adds that research that aims to deconstruct has some emancipatory elements in it that resists existing labels and structures and seeks instead, alternatives that do not currently exist by reconstructing or recommending the creation of new structures.

Edelsky (1994:12) argues that such an approach in research is political, potentially transformative and profoundly hopeful.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


Potter (1996:50) states that the predominant qualitative methodologies are ethnography, ethnomethodology, reception studies, ecological psychology, symbolic interactionism, cultural studies and textual analysis. The qualitative methodology chosen for this research is ethnography because enthnographic data techniques are most suitable for the nature of the phenomenon under investigation. This methodology type also allows for qualitative rigour which has a legitimate place in the social sciences through its respect for and contribution to knowledge. Van Maanen (1988:3) defines ethnography as the search for culture, where ‘culture’ refers to knowledge that informs, embeds, shapes and accounts for the routine activities of a given group. Ethnographic methodology allows the researcher to study people in their natural settings, and thus allows the documentation of the world they inhabit in terms of the meanings and behaviour of the people in it (Walsh, 1998:220). The arguments indicate clearly that the core features of ethnography make it applicable in a study of this nature.

Ethnographic techniques allow for the development of trust between the researcher and the researched which results in access to more political and personal data being granted to the researcher by the respondent during interviews (Connell, Lynch and Waring, 2001). This methodology caters for the need to understand the social processes that involve covert beliefs and practices, through observation and continual refinement of theoretical propositions (Connell

et al., 2001). Ethnographic methodology questions the variables which quantitative research analyses, arguing instead for the examination of sociocultural constructions (Walsh, 1998:220). In examining socio-cultural constructions, ethnography does not follow the sequence of deductive theory tested in quantitative research, because it is during the process of research itself that research problems come to be formulated and studied (Walsh, 1998:220). In fulfilling this function, the methodology allows the researcher to create a dialogue with the respondent through communicative symmetry, open-mindedness and open-heartedness, responsivity, mutual trust and respect in order to encourage honest responses (McCotter, 2001 and Smaling, 2002:3).

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


In arguing for the use of ethnography in a study of this nature, Walsh (1998:221) points out that this methodology is distinctive from other methodologies in the following three ways: first, there are no distinct stages of theorizing, hypostudy construction, data gathering and hypostudy testing thus allowing the research process to be a constant interaction between problem formulation, data gathering and data analysis. Secondly, this methodology allows for the use of different techniques of inquiry involving attempts to observe things that happen, listening to what people say and questioning people in the setting of the investigation.

Lastly, the researcher, who is the observer, is the primary research instrument and determines the extent of the field to be covered, establishes field relations, conducts and structures observations and interviews, writes field notes, undertakes audio and visual recordings, reads documents, records and transcribes and documents the research findings.

This aspect is essential for this type of the study because theory will be generated rather than only being tested. The arguments, in support of ethnography, clearly demonstrate that for a study of this nature, ethnography is the most appropriate methodology. Since ethnographic research takes place among real human beings, there are a number of special ethical concerns that a researcher must be aware of before beginning. To avoid the ethical concerns, the researcher was able to make the research goals clear to the respondents and gained the informed consent of their willingness to participate in the research beforehand.

Miles and Huberman’s (cited in Batelaan, 1993:207) advice on research strategy for data gathering was employed to gather data at the beginning of the process.

According to the authors, a qualitative researcher decides at the beginning of data collection, what things mean and notes regularities, patterns, explanations,

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


possible configurations, causal flows and propositions. Ethnographic techniques used in data gathering included document analysis, participant observation, interviews administered through a structured questionnaire and informal discussions with a selected number of respondents.

The data gathered is classified under primary and secondary data. Primary data is data collected from interviews, participant observation and informal discussions. Secondary data is collected through the analysis of relevant documentation that relates to the subject of the study.

The gathering of primary data, three methods were employed, interviews, informal discussions and participant observations.

The researcher was fortunate to be a participant observer because of his posting in the embassy of the Republic of South Africa in the People’s Republic of China as an Agriculture Counsellor. Even though the researcher has not had the privilege of attending the FSI training programme due to his secondment from the

Department of Agriculture, he was able to be part of and participate in the activities of the group that was being studied. This privilege provided the researcher with the opportunity to observe the target group in action. Potter

(1996:98) defines the participant observer approach as a technique of gathering data through direct contact with an object, usually another human being. Monette,

Sullivan and De Jong (1990:234), in support of the participant observation approach, point out that public service professionals should seek out opportunities to undertake this type of study as a way of fully understanding a particular group culture and/or subculture. Supporters of this approach also argue that it is the only system that provides a researcher with access to a particular

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


type of data referred to as ‘subjective experiences of those under study’ (Monette

et al., 1990:234).

Weber (1957), in illustrating the importance of the participant observer, argues that in order to understand human behaviour, a researcher must study not only what people do or say, but also how they think and feel and their subjective experiences. In concluding his argument on this approach, Weber (1957) proposes the method of verstehen which refers to subjective understanding or the participant observer’s effort to view and understand a situation from the perspective of the people being observed themselves. In guarding against the positivist questioning of whether the subjective interpretations of the verstehen method have any scientific validity in a study of this nature, Monette et al.

(1990:240-2) support utilization of this approach in a study of this nature. Monette

et al. (1990:240-2) argues that the participant observation approach is suitable to supplement interviews and informal discussions. Monette et al. (1990:240) further argues that a participant observer is able to gain comprehensive understanding of the values, perceptions, and other subjective elements of a particular group.

Before embarking on participant observation as an approach to gather primary data, four steps proposed by Monette et al. (1990:240-2) are used as a reference to determine its applicability. The first step is to decide which group is to be studied and whether such a group would be accessible to the researcher as a participant observer. The second step is to establish whether the researcher will be granted entry to the target group as a participant observer. The third step is to establish whether a researcher, as a participant observer, will be able to develop a rapport and trust with the target group to ensure that they serve as useful and accurate sources of information. The final step requires the participant observer to determine whether the target group to be studied will provide the necessary environment for observation and the recording thereof (Monette et al., 1990:240-

2). All the steps were easily complied with since the researcher was posted to the

Beijing Mission to support all South African embassies across East Asia in

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


representing South Africa’s interests in agricultural development and trade matters. The researcher was able to interact with the target group at various missions while executing his assignments, during state visits and also at multilateral meetings. All the observations that were made were recorded and filed as supplementary data for analysis purposes.

Given the challenges that South Africa is experiencing in implementing its foreign policy and its foreign obligations, the target group was keen to participate in discussions that relate to their work and training, they saw the research as a means of making an input to policy makers on the development of capacity for the DFA. During visits to various missions in East Asia and during conferences and official visits by high level delegations, the researcher was able to initiate discussions that were centred on this study to elicit views and comments from the target group. The researcher routinely informed the participating individuals on the objectives of this study and guaranteed them anonymity on any views that they may have expressed that could be relevant to this study. There was also a sense of eagerness from participating individuals to share their understanding of the issue under study and also at the same time make recommendations that they felt will improve the relevancy of the FSI training programmes. They identified with the research easily because they saw it as a mechanism to make their input into the policy processes that guide the development of the FSI curriculum. Through interactions on matters related to diplomatic work and training, a favourable environment was presented for the researcher to document information that was relevant to this study (Monette et al., 1990:240-2).

Twenty five FS representatives were chosen to represent the large group of about 1000 diplomats. According to Monette et al. (1990:131), sampling allows a

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


researcher to study a workable number of cases from a large group, in order to arrive at the results that are relevant to all the members of the group. They further argue that the quality of information drawn carefully from the sampled group can even be more reliable than information that could be obtained from the entire group (Monette et al., 1990:131). It is therefore important that this requirement is taken into consideration to ensure that the validity and accuracy of research results are not compromised (Monette et al., 1990:131).

In drawing the sample, recommendations by Monette et al. (1990:132) in ensuring representativity, were taken into consideration. The authors argue that the sample will be regarded as a representative sample if it reflects the distribution of relevant variables of the targeted group (Monette et al., 1990:132).

In this study, the relevant variables that were considered in deciding on the sample were participation in the FSI training, and being posted to represent

South Africa abroad. Only individuals who have completed the first cycle of posting and are either currently in their next posting or have returned to head office after posting were identified as part of the target group.

The sample was drawn focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of the FSI programme by gathering data from participants who had attended the programme and had had the opportunity to practically apply the knowledge gained during their posting. A proportionate stratified sample was used to ensure that the sample used is proportionate to the strata present in the given population. Thirty two percent of the samples are individuals who have completed one or more postings and have returned to head office. The remainder (sixty eight percent) of the sample comprises those individuals who have been posted more than once and are currently at posting. Individuals who fall in to the above two strata were identified as a stratified sample because every requirement in the targeted group has a known chance of being represented in the sample. Individuals with all the requisite elements were invited to form part of the sample, either verbally or through written communication.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


According to Monette et al. (1990:151) an availability sample or convenience sample is normally used when it is very difficult or impossible to develop a complete sampling frame. Given that South Africa’s foreign missions are across the world and in more than 100 countries, it would have been a difficult and expensive exercise to develop a complete sampling frame. Monette et al.

(1990:151), in support of the utilization of availability samples, argue that an availability sample is one of the common forms of sample used in public service research, because it is less expensive and also because it is sometimes difficult to develop an exhaustive sampling frame. Availability of respondents who had all the required variables was used as a measure to draw the sample. Annexure 1 is the covering letter sent to potential respondents inviting them to participate in the study and explaining what the study seeks to achieve.

Open-ended questionnaires were used in the interviews. In support of the utilization of open-ended questions rather than closed questions, Monette et al.

(1990:169) argue that the former is relevant in an exploratory study in which the lack of theoretical development proposes that limited restrictions should be imposed on respondents’ answers. The questionnaire was structured along a number of key themes informed by the research question, respondents’ preliminary views and the literature review. In short, the themes centre on the

DFA policies, including understanding of foreign policy, and the impact of the FSI programme on human resource development for the execution of South Africa’s foreign policy. As recommended by May (1997:111) the thematic structure and the terms of the researcher allowed respondents to answer questions on their own terms rather on the terms of the researcher. The open-ended questionnaire is an appropriate data gathering tool because it allows the researcher to get more information that relates to participants personal beliefs, considered opinions and insights unhindered (May, 1997:111). Schein (1983:112) supports this approach arguing that only a joint effort by insider and outsider can decipher the essential assumptions and their patterns of interrelationships. The open-ended

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


questionnaire used is attached as Annexure 2. The questions asked were simple and direct, and express only one idea.

Those individuals targeted for the sample who responded positively to the invitation, were contacted telephonically to confirm their preparedness to complete the questionnaire once it was emailed or faxed to them. According to

Monette et al. (1990:182), structuring of questions in interviews is relevant in ethnographic studies because it provides a degree of freedom for the interviewer and respondents in conducting the interview and the answering of questions. The structured questionnaire allowed the researcher, in his capacity as a diplomat, to ask respondents particular questions and allow respondents to respond freely in an informal atmosphere.

Two sequences of interviews were undertaken with eight individuals out of a sample of twenty five, after consent was obtained. The first sequence of interviews were conducted through a non-structured questionnaire and was conducted either face to face or telephonically with the eight respondents. The first sequence of interviews served three purposes. The first purpose was to introduce the researcher and the subject of the research to a section of the targeted sample. The second purpose was to gain an understanding of the practices and policies that inform and guide the development of the diplomatic training programme of the DFA. The third purpose was to preliminarily establish whether the data collection tool (questionnaire) provided the depth, range and quality of information required, and whether the respondents shared this view

(Monette et al., 1990:182). The structure of the dialogue allowed for in-depth conversation between the researcher and the respondents, probing, rephrasing of questions and also allowed for varying the order of questions to fit a particular interview. The respondents were able to trust the researcher and did not feel threatened in anyway during dialogue.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


The interviews were undertaken in conjunction with documentary analysis about the organizational structure, practices and policies that guided the developing of the FSI training programme and formed the basis for finalization of the questionnaire. According to Connell et al. (2001) the deliberations in the first sequence of interviews are important because they provide the respondents an opportunity to enhance the study through informed comments and criticism, and the researcher then has the opportunity to be exposed to themes and issues that they may have ignored when compiling the questionnaire. After the first sequence of interviews, some questions were rephrased, one question was deleted because all the respondents felt that it was too similar to a question already asked and three additional questions were added. The questionnaire was then finalized.

The second sequence of interviews included in-depth interviews conducted through a structured questionnaire. Marshall and Rossman (1989:82) argue that qualitative in-depth interviews are much more like conversations than formal structured interviews because they allow the researcher space to explore and uncover the participant’s meaning and for perspective. In support of this approach, May (1997:111) argues that the thematic structure of the questionnaire should allow people to answer more on their own terms than the standardized interview permits. Questionnaires were emailed to respondents, some were completed through either telephonic or face-to-face interviews. Where environment permitted, telephonic or face-to-face interviews were recorded. After the completed emailed questionnaires were received, telephonic follow-ups were made to clarify some of the responses to the questions. The telephonic followups with the respondents are essential in order to correct misinterpretations of responses by the researcher (Schein, 1983:112). Through the follow-up, internal validity checks are immediately undertaken (Schein, 1983:112). Walsh

(1998:223) supports Schein’s (1983) argument and points out that the follow-ups add to the strengths of ethnography because of the open-ended nature of the process when compared with other research methodologies.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


Once all the questionnaires were received, the process to validate, analyse and summarise into descriptive notes commenced. Monette et al. (1990:187), argue that with an open-ended questionnaire, an experienced researcher is required to accurately identify high points, correctly condense these high points and summarise all the responses. This researcher undertook all the follow-up interviews, analyses and consolidation of responses personally, all the high points were correctly condensed and summarised descriptively for easy analysis.

According to Walsh (1998:223), in order to start any research process an ethnographer needs to review relevant secondary sources on the problems and issues under consideration for the proposed research. The secondary sources may include allied research monographs and articles from journalistic materials, autobiographies, diaries, novels, and so on (Walsh, 1998:223). According to

Potter (1996:88) documents are important to researchers who have to also interview respondents because such documents may provide confirmatory evidence and strengthen the credibility of interviews, informal discussions and participant observations. The criterion recommended by May (1997:190) was used in evaluating the quality of the evidence available through analysis of documentary sources. The criteria include authenticity, credibility, representativeness and importantly the establishment of the meaning of the document and its contribution to the issues a researcher is hoping to illuminate.

Also included in the related literature review is an analysis of existing government policies on human resource development, and literature on the subject and case studies on diplomatic training programme. Topics of the related literature reviewed as presented in Chapter Three include: public administration organisations which are responsible for formulating and implementing

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


government policies; the origin of the concept of diplomacy as an instrument to implement foreign policy; and the impact of globalisation on the profession and process of diplomacy and the challenges diplomats of today and tomorrow will have to grapple with to promote and defend their country’s foreign policy in a globalised environment. The literature also provides an in-depth argument about issues that inform South Africa’s foreign policy and the challenges faced by DFA in implementing South Africa’s foreign policy. The structure of South Africa’s bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relations is also presented to demonstrate the capacity challenges South African diplomats face in executing their mandate.

Government legislation and policies are central to the work of its agencies and are developed and implemented in accordance with established public administration routines, it is therefore essential to subject them to a critical review in answering the research question. Chapter Four presents a review of the relevant acts, regulations and policies to establish the basis that informs human resources development strategy of any government department, including the

DFA, namely: the Skills Development Act, 1998; the White Paper on Public

Service, Training and Development, 1997; the Employment Equity Act, 1998; The

National Skills Development Strategy for South Africa, 2001; South African

Qualification Authority, 1995; the National Qualification Framework, 1995; the

Labour Relations Act, 1995; the White Paper on Human Resources

Management, 2001; the Macro-Economic Strategy for Growth, Employment and

Redistribution (GEAR), 1996; the White Paper on Restructuring and

Development Programme (RDP), 1995; and the Human Resource Development

Strategy for the Public Service 2002-2006. The review of these policies and legislation was crucial because they form the basis from which the FSI training programmes are developed.

Chapter Four also includes three comparative case studies on FS training programmes: The South African FSI training programme of 2004 and 2005, the

Canadian FSI training programme, and the University of Malta diplomatic training

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


programme. The comparison is important to demonstrate how different countries or institutions respond with relevant training programmes to developing the relevant human capacity for the FS as such capacity is crucial for the effective and efficient implementation of a country’s foreign policy. The case studies also assist in the evaluation of the gaps that exist between South Africa’s FSI training and other diplomatic training offered elsewhere.

After the process of data gathering, the collected data needs to be analysed and conclusions drawn that answer the research questions. Monette et al. (1990:216) point out that data analysis may also be referred as ‘content analysis. The authors argue that the content or the data analysis process is a form of measurement broadly defined as a measurement of aspects of data gathered during interviews (Monette et al., 1990:216). According to Monette et al.

(1990:217) validity of data analysis refers to whether the categories the researcher develops and the aspects of the content coded are meaningful indicators of what is measured. They define reliability of data analysis as the ability of the developed measure used in a study to yield the same results each time it is used (Monette et al., 1990:218). In analyzing data this researcher ensured that important elements that fulfil the requirements of validity and reliability were implemented.

According to Walsh (1998:229) when using ethnography, the analysis of data can be said to begin in the pre-fieldwork phase with the formulation and clarification of research problem. The process of data analysis requires the researcher to seek relationships or patterns between various themes that have been identified and categorise them (Lacey and Luff, 1998:3). Hancock (1998:9) points out that in ethnography analysis of data concentrates on understanding and describing the situation from the perspective of the culture or subgroup under study. In this context, data analysis means the description and presentation of the responses

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


generated by participant observations, informal discussions and interviews

(Lacey and Luff, 1998:3).

The process of data analysis that was applied to this research followed the following steps, as recommended by Lacey and Luff. (1998:3-4): familiarization with data through review, reading, listening and so on; transcription of tape recorded material; organization and indexing of data for easy retrieval and identification; making anonymous of sensitive data; identification of themes; development of provisional categories; exploration of relationships between categories; refinement of themes and categories; development of theory and incorporation of pre-existing knowledge; testing of theory against data; and finally report writing. Chapter five presents the findings of data analysis.

The familiarisation with data process involved the researcher reading and rereading the responses to the questionnaire and whatever additional information that was recorded from observation and follow-up interviews. This process assisted the researcher in familiarising himself with the data and at the same time facilitated the writing of brief memos and summaries that would assist in transcribing the collected data. Data were then organized so that each respondent was assigned a code rather than using their name to abide by the ethical code of research and the guarantee of anonymity given to respondents. At the same time a secure file, which linked the respondent to their response was filed in confidential file during analysis and writing of research findings. Any names of places or materials in the data that could be used to identify the source of the data were removed from the questionnaire. The narrative data were numbered by paragraph so that the researcher could easily trace back to the original text any unit of text that he needs to use in the analysis and findings.

According to Pidgeon and Henwood (1996:87), the documentation of data will result in the generation of a variety of concepts, categories and theoretical

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


observations which will provide the building blocks for subsequent theorising.

According to Connell et al. (2001), the mechanism of analysis includes breaking it down, examining it, conceptualising it and categorising it. Dey (1993:96) points out that developed categories must be meaningful internally to ensure that data are the understood in context of the research questions and meaningful externally by ensuring that data are understood through comparison. According to Lincoln and Guba (1985:34) the process of constant comparison of data will stimulate thinking that will lead to the development of descriptive and explanatory categories. The technique to categorise data as recommended by Monette et al.

(1990:219) and Lincoln and Guba (1985:339) are utilized in this research for data analysis.

The categorisation recommended by Monette et al. (1990:219) compels a researcher to consider the following factors when categorising data: presence and absence of an element; frequency of occurrence of an element; amount of time devoted to an element and intensity of expression. Presence and absence of an element category mainly focused on whether the respondents made reference to certain subjects that are informative to the study (Monette et al. (1990:219).

Frequency of occurrence of an element category was concerned in ensuring that the frequency with which statements made by respondents of various values appear on data to be analysed (Monette et al. (1990:219). Amount of time devoted to an element category is composed of those issues during the interview that the respondents spent more time on which may be more informative to the study (Monette et al. (1990:219). Intensity of expression category is mainly concerned with identifying those issues in the interview that the respondents talked strongly about as issues that need attention and also those issues that the respondents responded too softly to as a means of showing that they were of no concern to them (Monette et al., 1990:219).

Lincoln and Guba (1985:339) recommend categorisation to researchers. This entails: first, comparing incidents from the questionnaire data applicable to each

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


category; secondly, integrate categories and their properties; thirdly delimit the theory and lastly writing the theory. Goetz and LeCompte (1981:58) in support of

Lincoln and Guba (1985:339) argue that as new events are constantly compared with previous events, new typological dimensions as well as new relationships may be discovered. This aspect emerges in the process of data analysis for this research. For the purpose of analysis, relevant collected data were categorised and analysed and potential regularities, patterns and explanations were flagged and placed in their relevant categories that are conceptually linked to the thematic guides. All categories that were popular were then used to draw conclusions from respondents views on a particular issue raised in the questionnaire.

Monette et al. (1990:217) argue that for data analysis to be regarded as having attained validity, categories that the researcher develops and the aspects of the data coded must be meaningful indicators of what is to be measured. In order to maintain inductive thrust and this validity during data analysis, checks and balances to control or counter validity threats and ensure reliability are implemented accordingly in data analysis. Lacey and Luff (1998:22) point out that the validity of data analysed will be judged by the extent to which an account seems to fairly and accurately represent the data collected. According to Lacey and Luff (1998:22), to present the validity of data analysis, it must meet the following: consistency of the findings; extent to which the researcher represents all relevant views; and adequate and systematic use of original data. Lather

(1986:78) suggests that for minimum expectations of validity to be met in research designs for results interpretation, the following criteria have to be utilized: reflexive subjectivity – which involves some documentation of how the researcher’s assumptions have been affected by the data; face validity – which entails the process of recycling categories, analysis and conclusions back through respondents; catalytic validity – availing some documentation that the research process has led to insight and, ideally, activism on the part of the

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


respondents; and triangulation – utilization of multiple methods, data sources and theories in the research process.

Walsh (1998:231) argues that ethnography has produced two suggested forms of validation, namely respondent validation and triangulation. For the purpose of ensuring rigour in data analysis, Walsh (1998:231) and Lacey and Luff (1998:23) recommended technique of demonstrating reliability and validity in ethnography through triangulation and respondent validation was found suitable for the study.

They further recommend a technique for respondent validation that allows the ethnographer to show findings of their research to the respondents and allowing the respondents to verify whether the presentation of the findings is authentic

(Walsh, 1998:231 and Lacey and Luff, 1998:23). They continue to argue that it is important to undertake respondent validation because involving respondents in the whole research process addresses concerns about the researcher having the sole power over interpretation of results (Walsh, 1998:231 and Lacey and Luff,


The researcher, in undertaking respondent validation, employed follow-up interviews to share the conclusions reached after data analysis with respondents where possible. The exercise was successful as most of the respondents agreed with consolidated conclusions of their views in the findings. A few respondents felt that their responses, even though presented, were not presented in a satisfactory manner. They felt that the terms used failed to emphasise their strong views on certain issues. These respondents then made additional inputs to address these shortcomings.

To further ensure rigour, the triangulation technique was utilized to compliment the validation technique which enhanced the reliability and validity of the data.

The triangulation technique refers to the process of gathering and analysing data from more than one source to establish whether respondents corroborate one another to gain an in-depth understanding of the situation under study (Walsh,

Chapter 2: Research Methodology


1998:231 and Lacey and Luff, 1998:23). Triangulation was undertaken by the researcher as a participant observer in the operation of the FS in action, and verifying data gathered against these observations. The observations enabled the researcher to gain further insights on the subjects being studied in the same situation. The researcher was then able also to participate in a number of state visits, high-level visits and multilateral conferences over a period of four years in

East Asia, this provided an opportunity to apply the triangulation technique through informal discussions. Informal discussions were held with some of the target group members who did not form the sample group to get their views on some of the issues raised in the research questionnaire. Most of the issues arising from observation and views expressed through informal discussions corroborated data already gathered through interviews.


Through its verification process, ethnography allows for the researcher to argue theoretically because ideas emerging from data can be reconfirmed in new data and can easily be developed into new theories (Spiers, 2002). Through interpretation of data, new theory is developed as an outcome of the research process. Chapter Five discusses the interpretation of the data in the form of a detailed analysis of findings. Strong views that were expressed by a number of respondents on issues that relate to the FSI training programme are presented in summarised form and in some categories, views expressed are quoted verbatim.

This was used to accurately present respondents’ views on the issues covered in the research questionnaire. Through the conclusions and recommendations of

Chapter 6, elements of a new theory emerge. This approach to qualitative research methodology is valid because it meets all the objectives of the study which is ultimately to reach a conclusion which can be easily deemed reliable and valid; to influence the policy process and to generate new knowledge in the training of South African diplomats.

Chapter 2: Research Methodology



This chapter has presented, in detail, the methodology used in this research study and why ethnography was chosen as the appropriate methodology for a research study of this nature. The technique used in the gathering of the primary and secondary data has also been presented in detail. It has been pointed out that three approaches, which include participant observations, informal discussions and interviews, conducted through a structured questionnaire, were used in primary data collection. All the steps that were undertaken in identification of the sample group, formulation of questionnaire, conducting of interviews and analysis of data are explained. The chapter also explains the accessibility of the


respondents to the researcher through telephonic contacts, visits to various missions in East Asia and also participation at multilateral meetings

Chapter 2: Research Methodology




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

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


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.

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


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,


Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


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

Chapter 3: Review of Related Literature


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

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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

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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






As indicated in the preceding chapters, the President of South Africa through the

Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the formulation of South Africa’s foreign policy and its objectives. The work of diplomats is to implement South

African foreign policy; and it is imperative that they have the following public management skills: planning, implementation and evaluation; budgeting and financial management; management of human resources; management of organizational dynamics; and leadership and management.

Denhardt and Grubbs (2003:255) assert that, while the planning, implementation and evaluation of government policies require knowledge of the political and ethical context of public administration, relevant technical aids have been developed for public administrators to acquire skills that will enable them to perform their functions. Technical skills that are required range from strategic planning skills to performance measures in regard to the implementation of government policies (Denhardt and Grubbs, 2003:255). These techniques, if acquired by diplomats, will enable them to account both for their efforts and the impact such efforts have in each given policy area (Denhardt and Grubbs,


Financial constraints can play a vital role in policy implementation. It is essential that the management of these resources is effective in ensuring the realization of the intended objectives. Furthermore, since the craft of diplomacy is undertaken in a unique environment, management of organizational dynamics in this new environment, including the use of locally recruited staff is crucial to the efficient

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


and effective functioning of a mission. Understanding cross-cultural factors provides a strong motivation for the presence of skilled professional diplomats with foreign language expertise and local knowledge (Cohen, 1999:16). Crosscultural and multi-cultural education plays a vital role in understanding other cultures (Cohen, 1999:16).

Potter (2002:1) points out that countries are entering a new world in which knowledge, culture, and communication are key attributes to social cohesion and sustainable development. Countries are, therefore, faced with a challenge to develop economically from the benefits offered by the globalisation process by equipping their diplomats with different skills, techniques, and attitudes from those found in traditional diplomacy (Potter, 2002:2). Today’s diplomatic activities are made up of multiple elements ranging from actions of purely representational character (diplomatic etiquette) to the negotiation of complex international agreements (De Magalhaes, 1988:101). Feketekuty (1996) points out that negotiating and managing a country’s participation in trade agreements have become an increasingly important task as trade agreements have emerged as the key driver for the global organization of production, investment and trade.

These remain the main ingredients for the economic welfare of nations.

Managing a country’s participation in trade agreements has become an increasingly challenging task and is not for the sickly, the weak, the neurotic and the introverts (Kappeler, 1999). According to Kappeler (1999), the days when any well-born and well-bred dilettante of great personal charm could handle diplomatic business (as a result of these in-born qualities) are long past.

Bilateral and multilateral agreements today cover a wide range of domestic regulatory measures, as well as measures at the border, such as tariffs, and these demand that diplomats posses the skills to analyse complex commercial, political, legal, economic, institutional and substantive policy issues (Kappeler,

1999). Furthermore, these demand that diplomats be skilled communicators and negotiators, able to build coalitions involving other states, and negotiate and draft

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


resolutions (Aviel, 1999:12). This broadening and intertwining of the diplomatic agenda with a variety of social, economic and political issues have pushed diplomats toward greater specialization and more involvement in the external affairs by other domestic government ministries, such as those involved in agriculture, trade and investments, civil aviation, tourism, the military, education, among others (Hamilton and Langhorne, 1995:217). In order to consolidate his/her role in dealing with the complex multilateral issues, a diplomat must be able to form coalitions within his/her country among the relevant ministries,

NGO’s and the private enterprises to serve as input into the negotiations of an agreement or treaty ( Aviel, 1999:12).

A diplomat needs to have some special personal character which will be an asset to successfully undertake his/her task (Kappeler, 1999). According to Kappeler

(1999), a diplomat must have a well-balanced personality, possess self-control, be naturally inquisitive, and have an interest in understanding the language, culture and thinking of his/her opposite number abroad. Fust (1999) argues that many diplomats have a kind of psychological resistance to the methods of international cooperation and also fail to take into consideration intercultural exchanges and the basic knowledge they should acquire to do a good job. These diplomats sometimes forget that communicating national goals and interests in their country of posting can be realized by initiating and implementing activities such as cultural events, international broadcasting by the national broadcaster, cultivation of friendships with foreign journalists and academics, hosting seminars and conferences, and translating national publications into local languages to ensure a wider audience (Potter, 2002:3). This demands that a diplomat should have the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake this demanding task successfully as already intimated.

Fust (1999) points out that most development policies today have to be discussed on a multilateral level and that national policies of the signatories must be a reflection of international policies. At the same time, countries are expected,

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


as indicated in the earlier sections, to surrender part of their sovereignty in the shift to global solutions and global governance through multilateral engagements.

This has also demanded the diplomats have competent language skills and be able to speak and hold debates in public, because multilateral diplomacy is now undertaken more and more by means of verbal, face–to–face exchanges rather than in the predominantly written style of bilateral diplomacy (Berridge, 1995:56).

In the past, diplomats used to be largely responsible for finding the relevant information of their country’s interest and communicating it accordingly. Fust

(1999) believes that the dimension of information is changing and the collection and sending of information will become less important. The challenge is to prepare young diplomats to have the relevant skills and knowledge to deal with a rich mass of information, scan the information about the country’s political and business environment to identify opportunities, trends, and threats, and create the appropriate winning strategy (Keegan and Green (2000:26). According to

Hamilton (1999), diplomats must also be able to keep abreast of political and economic developments that might impinge on their citizens travelling abroad and companies engaged in international commerce and investments.

The knowledge used in diplomacy is normally gathered in the course of tertiary education or diplomatic training, especially in subjects, such as international relations and international law, political science, history, geography and also media and exposure (Kurbalija, 1999). Diplomats must have the ability to effectively manage the information that is relevant to their work, because such information creates knowledge that is an institutional resource for decisionmaking (Kurbalija, 1999). This skill assists the diplomat to collect, process/analyse, disseminate and utilize knowledge to fulfil organizational objectives (Kurbalija, 1999).

Decision-making in diplomacy is, in most cases, based on a number of factors, such as political influence, institutional memory, trade-offs on the international,

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


national and institutional level, and the influence of individuals involved (Kurbalija,

1999). A diplomat must possess all these abilities to efficiently implement the mandate to the benefit of his/her country. Kappeler (1999) points out that for a long time it has been argued that a diplomat is born as such and that it is impossible to produce a diplomat by training. According to Kappeler (1999), this argument was based on the inability to see firstly, the distinction between personal characteristics and qualities of the diplomat, and secondly, the knowledge and skills he/she needs to effectively carry out the job. Despite the new developments in technology, diplomacy remains a ‘human intensive’ activity, because it is conducted largely through personal communication and individual actions, evaluations and decisions (Kurbalija, 1999). Kurbalija (1999) argues, in addition, that diplomacy requires spontaneous human involvement and that in essence has limited the use of information technology in undertaking this activity.

According to Feketekuty (1996), most diplomats in the field have acquired their skills and knowledge through on-the-job training, through personal mentoring by an experienced supervisor. Given the increased demand and also the lack of available professional diplomats, the old mentoring/on-the-job training method is no longer adequate to meet the demand (Feketekuty, 1996). Feketekuty (1996) points out that the problem is particularly acute for developing countries and the problem is affecting these countries’ ability to realize the available economic opportunities at their disposal. According to Kappeler (1999), diplomats in the past had been made to study history, languages and law and this was seen as sufficient. This has resulted in foreign ministries employing a large number of people with legal qualifications (Kappeler, 1999). Today's diplomat must, however, have multi-disciplinary knowledge encompassing international political, economic (trade, investment, labour, and so on.) and social (health, education, social welfare, and so on.) spheres/areas.

All the missions of South Africa are expected to develop annual business plans as a planning tool to guide the execution of their mandate through setting out

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


detailed objectives and key performance indicators. Heller (2002:225) argues that an international relations manager must have the skills to identify patterns within a complex global situation to enhance his/her ability to execute his/her mandate effectively. It will, therefore, be appropriate for international managers to balance host country and own country needs to achieve mutually beneficial relations through the implementation of their mandate (Heller, 2002:225). It is important for both the Heads of Mission and the heads of the different sections (political, economic, agriculture, defence, etc.) at the mission to possess the relevant skills to develop business plans informed by South African foreign policy priorities and the environment that they operate in that can be easily implemented and evaluated.

Financing a mission is one of the greatest challenges that many of the developing countries are experiencing. South Africa is no exception in this regard, given all the domestic development challenges that it faces. The public service has its own regulations that dictate the format for compiling budgets and the management of budgets, once allocated. Missions are located in different countries with financial institutions and financial management systems that differ from what is used in

South Africa. The value of the local currency which is used in budgeting for missions also changes every day and this can impact negatively on the implementation of the mission’s business plans. It is, therefore, essential that basic public financial management skills are acquired by diplomats to enable them to manage these dynamics and to support the planning process and execution of mission business plans.

Organizational dynamics, if not properly managed, will impact negatively on the efficient and effective functioning of a mission. Given the fact that missions are located in countries which have diverse cultures, customs, laws, ethics, and the like, it is critical that diplomats are able to manage this environment. The employment of local staff as part of the execution team further compounds the cultural diversity which may contribute positively or negatively to the work of the

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


mission. In most areas, language has become a cultural barrier to the optimum use of potential in the diplomatic corps of a mission. According to Heller

(2002:225), a manager who is responsible for management in an international environment needs to act as a role model for those values and norms of behaviour and understand organizational dynamics and diversity. He or she must promote inclusion, such as respect, fairness and sharing, so as to optimize organizational output.

Missions also need both the Heads of Mission and heads of various sections to play a leadership role to ensure the realization of mission objectives. Such leadership must posses the following fundamental principles of behaviour, as proposed in Management Today (July, 1999): vision, values and energy; strategic fitness; organizational agility and innovation; team calibre and effectiveness; planning for succession; and moral accountability. The mission leadership must create and communicate the same message of what is to be achieved and motivate the entire institution towards the realization of these goals.

Given the central responsibility that South Africa has in the implementation of regional protocols, the selection of capable managers and mobilising them effectively to work together are the only recipe for success. Cleary (2000:42) rightly contends that the capacity to manage current complex policy issues to implement protocols is crucial. Surprisingly, the current implementation arrangements have been found to lack that capacity and have become a major impediment to total regional integration. In order to facilitate such a process,

South Africa’s regional leadership is crucial and several of its missions assigned to regional bodies, such as SADC, must have the capacity to translate that leadership into action to attain regional goals and objectives. The following characteristics of a transformational leader as stipulated by Koehler et al.

(1997:111-8) are also important for the development of regional organizational leadership: leading ‘by example’; developing people; initiating structure; making decisions; and recognition and reward. A regional organizational leader must be

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


hard working and his or her drive must be to genuinely improve the organization’s performance by constantly looking for opportunities that may arise for improvement. Such leaders must tirelessly work on trying to improve the functioning of SADC organs by streamlining their activities to attain the desired mandate and promote intergovernmentalism. They must become role- models and increase their own self-image by improving the self-image of the people who work under them.

Scholarly work has been done on how cross-border issues can be addressed to free the region from the current political and economic crises. Good governance, fiscal discipline, the uprooting of corruption, FDI and political stability always form the basis of any recommendations offered by experts and scholars in the field to address the current challenges facing the region. This must be coupled with effective operational leadership to establish operational plans to ensure the successful implementation of the programmes. The leadership must also invest in building future capabilities through people and infrastructure required for implementation of the regional plans. Political and organizational leaders have to become models for good leadership by leading according to moral and ethical principles as acknowledged through the established legislation, societal norms and behaviour (Dwivedi and Jabbra, 1988:7). Accountability, which is the fundamental prerequisite to prevent corruption, is demanded by a public, which is currently expecting moral conduct from its political leaders and appointed public officials (Dwivedi and Jabbra, 1988:7-8). The region requires accountable and transparent leadership which will direct its power towards the achievement of broadly accepted national goals with the greatest possible degree of efficiency, effectiveness, probity and prudence (Dwivedi and Jabbra, 1988:8). South African missions remain the crucial resource for the country in maintaining regional political and economic stability. South African diplomats must acquire the relevant leadership skills in various sectors of development to drive the process of regional integration. They must be taught about new strategies to speed up the

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


process of integration and good governance ethics in order to be able to lead by example.

The above principles of effective leadership and management techniques have been dealt with in greater detail in Chapter 3. The presented summary of the relevant leadership and management skills is solely an attempt to further identify the critical skills public administrators responsible for the implementation of foreign policy require to execute their mandate effectively and efficiently. Without these skills, public administrators will fail in their attempt to realize South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. The next section provides a brief overview of the current government policies directed at building the relevant leadership and policy management skills to implement its policies.



4.2.1 Introduction to Framework for Training in the South African Public


In South Africa, at present, there has been a gradual development of a legislative framework to provide guidelines and to enforce education and training in both the public and the private sector. The following acts and policies provide the basis of any human resources development strategy within government departments including the DFA: Employment Equity Act, 1998; Human Resource Development

Strategy for the Public Service 2002-2006; Labour Relations Act, 1995; Macro-

Economic Strategy for Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), 1996;

South African Qualification Authority, 1995; Skills Development Act, 1998; White

Paper on Public Service, Training and Development, 1997; The National Skills

Development Strategy for South Africa, 2001; and White Paper on Human

Resources Management; White Paper Restructuring and Development

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


Programme (RDP), 1995.

For the purpose of this study, the following legal frameworks are explained in detail, because these provide guidelines for skills development policies and activities for diplomats in the DFA. White Paper on Public Service Training and

Development 1997, the Skills Development Act 1998 and the National Skills

Development Strategy for South Africa 2001 and the Human Resource

Development Strategy for the Public Service 2002-2006 are the important pieces of legislation and policies that guide skills development in South African public service today and they therefore deserve much attention.

South Africa like any other developing country, finds itself facing challenges to increase the level of economic growth to deal with social disparities and high levels of unemployment. Given the available economic development literature, a number of authors have argued that past experiences in many countries have shown that, for a country to attain acceptable levels of economic growth, it must be able to possess the required human resources to improve productivity and the competitiveness of its industry, business, commerce and services (see

Feketekuty 1996, Kurbalija 1999 and Kappeler 1999). The Skills Development

Act (1998) is directed at correcting the human resources shortfall in South Africa by mandating government agencies to establish new institutions, programmes and funding policies aimed at increasing investment by both the public and private sector in skills development.

The South African government, in its attempt to harness the process of transforming its public service and increasing its efficiency and effectiveness, singled out an urgent need for investment in training and development as a means of building the relevant capacity in public administration. White Paper on

Public Service Training and Education 1998 (WPPSTE) was adopted by the

Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as government’s commitment to training and development in the public service to comply with the

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


Skills Development Act 1998 (DPSA, 1998). The objectives of the WPPSTE are as follows: to provide a national public service strategic policy framework on the training and development of public servants as a means to enhance the public service transformation process; to bring public training and education in line with international best practices, current global trends in human resource development and the national strategic policy context; and to systematically link training and education to the broader process of cohesive and integrated human resources development strategy in the public service (DPSA, 1998).

As a means to further enhance the implementation of the Skills Development Act, the Department of Labour (DoL) adopted a National Skills Development Strategy

(NSDS) for South Africa in February 2001 (DoL, 2001). The purpose of the strategy is to simplify the process for both the public and private sector to comply with the Skills Development Act (DoL, 2001). The NSDS makes provision for the establishment of a new system of learning, which combines structured learning and work experience, culminating in nationally recognized qualifications that signify job readiness within the National Qualification Framework (NQF) (DoL,

2001). The objectives of the NSDS are as follows: developing a culture of high quality life-long learning; fostering skills development in the formal economy for productivity and employment growth; stimulating and supporting skills in small businesses; promoting skills development for employability and sustainable livelihoods through social development initiatives; and assisting new entrants in the development market (DoL, 2001). As a response to the objectives of the

NSDS, government through the DPSA responded with the adoption of a five-year plan called the Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public Service

2002-2006 (DPSA, 2001).

In the foreword of the Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public

Service (HRDSPS) 2002-2006, the Minister of Public Service and Administration,

Ms G. Fraser-Moleketi argues that,

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


Skills development seen in this context is therefore not only a way to improve capacity for individual employees of the state. It constitutes the strengthening of the most important vehicle available to the state to achieve its goals for changing the entire South African society. Skills development has to be aimed at making people better at the roles that they play in a developmental state (DPSA, 2001).

Given the challenges that the Public Service in South Africa is faced with as a means of transforming itself into an efficient and effective vehicle for basic service delivery, human resources with the necessary education and training have become an essential element for the attainment of this objective. As indicated earlier, fulfilment of the country’s legislative framework on skills development as a means to speed-up service delivery and economic development requires that the public service, as a stakeholder in the process, is also subjected to education and training initiatives to strengthen its capacity. The development of the HRDSPS as a five-year plan to guide this process is just one of the important, latest developments to demonstrate government’s commitment in overcoming the capacity disparities that are hampering service delivery and economic development. HRDSPS was mainly developed as a means of implementing five recommendations that emerged from the Baseline Information on Public Service Training and Education (BIPSTE) report of November 2000 commissioned by DPSA to establish key challenges facing human resources development in the South African public service (DPSA, 2000). The BIPSTE report made the following recommendations: the creation of a national human resource development strategy for the public service in South Africa; the establishment of a centralised training structure under the jurisdiction of SAMDI; increasing awareness and sensitivity among senior managers in the training and education field, and investing in people as a means of improving service delivery; the establishment of partnerships with formal training institutions or agencies as a means of strengthening the capacity for the provision of training in the public service; and development of a professional competence framework for the public service trainers and consideration of their career pathing in order to ensure the increase in status of trainers and training (DPSA, 2000).

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


As a culmination to the implementation of the above recommendations, the

HRDSPS is a framework to guide training in the public service to ensure that, by the end of 2006, the South African public service competently delivers effective and equitable services to all the people (DPSA, 2001). The HRDSPS further states that its strategic objectives will be attained through the following actions: full commitment to promote and implement the HRDSPS in all public service institutions and organizations; the establishment within the public service of an effective strategic and operational HRD planning framework; development of relevant competencies within the public service to implement HRDSPS; and establishment of effective management and coordination structures for the implementation of the HRDSPS for the public service (DPSA, 2001).

In order to attain full commitment throughout the public service and to ensure the implementation of the HRDSPS, an information and communication strategy was formulated and implemented. This was used to inform both managers and staff about the HRDSPS in order to ensure their commitment to participate in the implementation process (DPSA, 2001). Furthermore, the HRDSPS stipulates that its implementation will be linked to performance agreements with public administrators to ensure that their evaluation and recognition accorded to these officials is based on their contribution to the development of the officials whom they supervise in order to improve organizational performance (DPSA, 2001). In addition, the HRDSPS calls for the establishment of equity targets for education and training opportunities in the public service (DPSA, 2001). The equity targets are to be realized by the establishment of strategies and policies that will ensure equal opportunities for personal development for all staff members irrespective of race, gender or position (DPSA, 2001).

In order to deal with the current shortages of the required high level skills in all government departments, HRDSPS recommends that each department develop its own learnership skills programmes, promote voluntary internship and

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implement management development programmes (DPSA, 2001). In those areas that specialized training is essential, for example, for IT skills development,

HRDSPS recommends the establishment of IT development centres throughout government departments for all staff members to have access to training in a cost-effective manner (DPSA, 2001). Other specific training that the public service through SAMDI or that the government cannot provide will be offered through service providers.

It is argued in the HRDSPS that its successful implementation will be based mainly on effective and transparent management, coordination and the monitoring of its implementation. These requirements will be met by the establishment of a integrated human resource management system which will focus on performance management, recruitment and selection, succession planning, employment equity, remuneration, reward recognition and employee relations. Each department is also expected to allocate the resources for

HRDSPS implementation and to create relevant capacities and an appropriate infrastructure (DPSA, 2001).

This section has provided an overview of the current policies and regulations implemented in the South African public service as a means of building the skills capacity required for the successful implementation of public policies and the provision of basic services. Since most of the policies mentioned have been developed and adopted since 1994, it demonstrates the importance the present government attaches to an efficient and effective institution of public administration as a vehicle to deliver on its electioneering manifesto. With the proper implementation of these regulations and policies on human resources development, each government department will be able to build the relevant skills in its staff component to execute its government mandate effectively. The next section provides an insight into how the DFA is implementing HRD policies informed by the HRDSPS and other public service regulations. It also outlines the development and implementation of the human resource development strategy

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


as a way of building the relevant skills capacity required for the successful implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.


The DFA is in the process of finalizing an Education, Training and Development

Policy (ETD). The aim of the policy is to provide guidelines to assist employees to develop and improve their competencies for the successful execution of the DFA objectives (DFA, 2003b). The policy integrates education, training and development initiatives, ensuring alignment with the DFA’s Human Resource

Development Strategy and Strategic Plan (DFA, 2003b). The alignment is to ensure that all the DFA policies are enhanced and contribute to the meaningful and successful implementation of its mandate (DFA, 2003b).

The draft ETD provides clear guidelines and a framework for skills development for all employees in the DFA. The draft ETD objectives are as follows: to provide an integrated strategic approach in addressing the education, training and development needs of employees in line with the DFA objectives; to ensure quality education, training and development within the DFA; to improve the employability of previously disadvantaged employees; to facilitate an increase in the skills levels of all employees; to utilize the workplace as an active learning environment; to ensure that education, training and development programmes are accessible to all employees; to facilitate and ensure that education, training and development is linked to the Performance Management System of the DFA; to enhance professionalism, the image and status of the DFA as an institution of excellence (DFA, 2003b).

Table 4.1 presents an extract of the DFA Human Resource Development

Strategic Plan from 2005 to 2008 (DFA, 2005a). The strategy mainly emphasises the role played by the FSI in the development of human resources for the DFA. In

Table 4.1 emphasis is on strengthening the FSI to provide relevant training that is

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


in line with the capacity needs of the DFA. From Table 4.1 the DFA presents a framework in the form of a strategic plan on how it intends to enhance the FSI capacity to provide quality training between 2005 and 2008. The framework indicates that the strengthening of the FSI will be undertaken by streamlining its programme, developing its human resources, providing finances and improving its training infrastructure (DFA, 2005a). The purpose of strengthening the FSI is to ensure that the institution is able to provide quality training programmes and administer such training effectively.

Table 4.1 also provides indications that there are critical issues that are currently impacting negatively on the effective performance of the FSI. Critical issues identified in Table 4.1 include: lack of funding, research and training facilities; the non-availability of training material and means to assess the quality of the training; and a lack of the relevant human resources to offer training (DFA,

2005a). In brief, the Table acknowledges that the FSI is still undergoing reform in its structure and function and also in the content of its training programmes. It is, therefore, clear from this brief that the current FSI training programmes are not accredited and there is no instrument in place to measure the quality of the training. A conclusion can be drawn from Table 4.1 that the current training programmes do not provide any guarantee that those who have been trained will be equipped with the relevant skills to execute their mandate.

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


Table 4.1: The DFA Human Resource Development Strategic Plan 2005-2008



Human Resource


To obtain support HR development in SA and


-Funds, technology transfers, training programmes and other forms of assistance secured from foreign governments, NGOs, training institutes and universities

Provide efficient and effective support services: repositioning and transformation of the


Strengthen the FSI by streamlining and developing its human resources, sourcing finances, improving infrastructure and enhancing its image and reputation

Enhance the visibility of the FSI: promote visibility and image of the FSI nationally and internationally

Improve the quality of training: manage the training programme effectively

Re-align the FSI qualifications with the DFA

-Competent staff

- Improved infrastructure

-More visible and reputable the FSI

-Well coordinated and smoothly running programmes

-the FSI programmes responsive to the needs of the DFA and NQF


-lack of funding as well as research and training facilities

-National Human Resource

Development Strategy


-staff training

-availability of library material

-availability of adequate financial resources and equipment

-availability of the FSI marketing strategy

-availability of the FSI prospectus

-availability of the FSI brochures and newsletter

-establishment of accredited training programmes

- establishment of a training policy

-establishment of a quality management system


Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview

201 needs and NQF requirements

Fast-track French language acquisition in the DFA: increase the number of French speaking officials

Encourage research in the

FSI: expand diplomatic knowledge, enhance skills, values and attitudes of trainees and trainers through research

Explore the feasibility of

E-learning at the FSI: make the FSI programmes more accessible to all the DFA officials

Ensure efficient management of finances at the FSI: ensure that finances at the FSI are managed in compliance with PFMA and other relevant services

-Increase number of French speaking officials

-Existence of functional research unit and research output

-Feasibility study conducted and E-learning framework developed

-Expenditure incurred within

PFMA prescripts

- establishment of a recognized relevant SETA

- alignment of the DFA needs with existing the FSI qualifications

-availability of French trainers

-implementation of the cooperation between French and the DFA

-formalisation of UNISA/THE

DFA co-operation

-establishment of the FSI research unit

-appointment of Director the

FSI Research Unit

-coordination of research seminars

-conducting feasibility study

-existence of E-learning framework

-ICT support and cooperation

-establishment decentralized corporate service unit

-training the FSI staff in the


(Source The Department of Foreign Affairs Strategic Plan 2005-2008)

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


The South African FS was established in the 1920s and the training of the diplomatic staff was handled by a division within the Administrative Branch of the then Department of Foreign Relations (Geldenhuys, 1984:132). Oliver (1977:131) points out that the formal training for South African diplomats was only established in 1967 in the DFA. It was not until 1981, that the first comprehensive

FS training programme catering for political and information branches was introduced (Geldenhuys, 1984:132). The initial FS training lasted 12-18 months and only 7 or 8 months was spent in the training centre in Pretoria and the rest was in-service training. FS training was mainly offered by officials with the rank of

Counsellor, representatives from other departments and academics and other outside experts (Geldenhuys, 1984:132). The requirement for entry to the FS training was an academic degree (Geldenhuys, 1984:132). FS training programme at the time included modules on diplomacy; economics; politics

(South Africa constitutional and policy-making structures, politics of black African states and of the great international powers, international organizations and topical international issues); constitutional and international law; and a foreign language (Geldenhuys, 1984:132).

When the democratic government came into power in 1994, there was a rethink on the content and structure of FS training in the DFA. A review of FS training was initiated and resulted in its configuration into the FSI. The FSI remained part of the DFA with its main mandate being to build relevant human resources capacity required for the implementation of the South Africa’s foreign policy (DFA,

2005a). The FSI was also given the responsibility of undertaking a training needs analysis for FS, planning, designing and organizing training programmes, and coordinating and managing all the DFA service training activities (DFA, 2005a).

According to Ngwevela (1998), after the reorientation of the FSI training

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


programme from 1995 to 1997, South Africa’s diplomatic training programme is now based on well-investigated practices and conforms to acceptable international standards. The Diplomatic Training Programme (DTP) is the core component of the course, complemented by foreign language and mission administration training (Ngwevela, 1998). The training programme at the FSI accommodates every diplomat from Head of Mission to FS officer for a period of training and orientation to be able to represent South Africa abroad with distinction. Furthermore, Ngwevela (1998) argues that no academic institution or private enterprise could offer such an induction within the work environment. The

FSI training reinforces the academic base of candidates by inducting the trainees with skills that are critical in effectively operating in a diplomatic environment

(Ngwevela, 1998).

The FSI training programme objectives ensure that a South African diplomat understands the social and economic policies of the country (education, health, welfare, labour, economy, trade, defence and security) and the country’s political, legal and justice system (Ngwevela, 1998). The FSI training programme modules include: practical skills for negotiations; conflict management and resolution; multilateral diplomacy; trade and investment promotion; public and media relations; public speaking and preparation of speeches; cultural diversity management; and protocol and etiquette. Students with postgraduate studies are targeted to join the FS, and local tertiary institutions are also used to offer certain modules and assist in the review of course content (Ngwevela, 1998).

International specialists from its partner countries (Britain, Germany, India, Korea,

Australia, Pakistan, Brazil and Northern America) are also invited to offer certain modules in the training programme (Ngwevela, 1998). Despite all the above,

Ngwevele (1998), acknowledges that the FSI is still affected negatively by a legacy of conflict of social values and political division between the old and the new order. A comparative case study is undertaken in the succeeding sections of the FSI training programmes for 2003 and 2005 to establish which modules are

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


offered in the training of South African diplomats.

Heads of Mission Course is offered in both the 2003 and the 2005 FSI training programme and only to incumbents identified to head missions. The FSI training programme includes module/courses that are tailored for Heads of Mission, operations functionaries and administrators services. Heads of Mission Course is undertaken over a period of about six weeks (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

The role of a head of a mission is crucial in ensuring that he/she provides the leadership and management to the overall function of the mission and the execution of mission’s objective. Through the course, Heads of Mission are inducted in understanding what the responsibilities of a Head of Mission are and how to execute protocol related activities (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The purpose of this module is to prepare them to operate in the diplomatic environment and understand the implications of international and national laws in the execution of their mandate. The induction also covers those areas that relate to the effective management of the mission and lines of reporting to Head Office.

Participants in this module are expected to leave the module well equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to lead and manage the implementation of

South African foreign policy in various missions (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

Officials identified for positions in the operational functionaries such as Minister,

Minister Counsellor, Counsellor and First Secretary, attend an International

Relations module was offered in both the 2003 and the 2005 FSI training programmes given its importance (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The module aims to assist them to understand the workings of the international relations machinery. Participants are introduced through the International Relations module, to multilateral and bilateral relations. Under multilateral relations, participants are exposed to international relations overview from a South African perspective on issues such as multilateralism versus unilateralism, regionalism,

North/South divide, South/South Cooperation and other related issues (DFA,

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


2003a and DFA, 2005b). On bilateralism, participants are introduced to South

Africa’s bilateral relations with countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe,

North and South America. Participants are also introduced to the UN mainly its structures, function, its centres and locations of its various agencies (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

In the 2003 FSI training programme, Mission Administration Course was offered. In the 2005 FSI training programme, a similar module the name of the

Mission Administration Course is changed to Management module but the content of the module remained the same. The module is directed at building the necessary capacity required to support the missions to function effectively (DFA,

2003a and DFA, 2005b). Resources need to be procured and properly managed, space needs to be identified for the mission, and contracts negotiated for lease.

Contracts need to be signed for office space and accommodation for diplomats; accounts need to be paid, local staff need to be recruited and appointed; salaries paid; and so on. Public administrators identified to be appointed to the corporate/administration services of missions are expected to first attend this course (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The course is extremely important, because the management of government assets and finances in a foreign country can be very challenging and the failure to manage these resources properly may impact negatively on the effective functioning of a mission.

Officials who are going to provide internal administration support at missions attend the Mission Foreign Affairs Assistant Course. The course is offered in the 2003 and the 2005 FSI training programme and only to those officials identified to take the roles of Foreign Assistants or Attachés at missions. The operation of the mission includes those areas that can compromise national security but which do not require high level people to deal with them (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The management of documentation and especially the sensitive communication between the mission and Head Office cannot be

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


supported by the locally recruited staff. Incumbents in this course acquire relevant administration support skills to operate and maintain the FS communication infrastructure and other services in support of the administration section at the mission. Once officials are equipped with these skills, they will also be able to provide general assistance in sensitive areas (DFA, 2003a and DFA,

2005b). These incumbents also assist in the offices of Heads of Mission and, in addition, provide consular services. In communicating between the Head Office and the Mission, a particular mode of communication instrument is used. The

Information System is a support tool through which written messages are delivered instantly to the relevant recipients and can be responded to immediately. The Operational Information Services module is offered to incumbents who are taught how to operate these systems and why such a system is essential to communication between Missions and Head Office (DFA,

2003a and DFA, 2005b). Inability to utilize this instrument, could severely affect missions operations, thus impacting negatively on the implementation of foreign policy.

When married officials are posted, they are normally accompanied by their spouses. A Spouse Orientation (SOP) Course is aimed at assisting spouses who are going to accompany their partners to missions to understand their support role (DFA, 2003a). The module was only offered in the 2003 FSI training programme to spouses of officials appointed to foreign missions. Since they will be also enjoying diplomatic immunity during the period of the posting, it is important that they understand the implication of such privileges (DFA, 2003a).

Given the challenges that posting presents to many families finding themselves in a different environment from that which they are used to, SOP provides spouses with strategies to cope. The programme focus is on protocol and etiquette in a diplomatic environment. Spouses will also be able to act as Ambassadors of their country and it is essential that they undertake this course to be furnished with the skills to undertake this function.

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


A variety of introductory language courses are offered for diplomats to be posted in various countries. The module is presented in 2003 and the 2005 FSI training programme. Even though Foreign Language Acquisition module is still at a very introductory level, to date French and Mandarin courses have been offered by contracted experts from tertiary or private institutions (DFA, 2003a and DFA,

2005b). Foreign Language Acquisition module is offered for the purposes of introducing participants to important languages that are used in diplomatic engagements (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Participants in this module are introduced to elementary-level skills for foreign language acquisition, some understanding of the French culture, understanding of everyday oral texts in

French, speaking and responding in everyday situation in French and understanding of selected texts in French (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

In most instances, incumbents are also exposed to seminars or workshops that deal with diplomatic issues. The participants on the Seminars in Diplomatic

field course come to understand current issues in the diplomatic arena and how the diplomatic machinery works in practice (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Senior diplomats in the DFA and other experts in the diplomatic field are invited to share their experiences. The workshops also use case study as a means of drawing the attention of participants to the environment in which diplomatic activities take place (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). At the end of the course participants will be equipped with the relevant diplomatic skills that should enable them to execute their mandate in any diplomatic environment with success.

Ad hoc Training for Partner Departments, such as the DTI, Agriculture,

SANDF and Home Affairs, who are expected to have representation in various countries, appoint incumbents who also undergo an introductory course on diplomatic etiquette and protocol are offered on a need basis (DFA, 2003a and

DFA, 2005b). This assists incumbents to understand the basic work of a diplomat

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


and the various instruments available for a diplomat to efficiently and effectively perform his or her functions (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). This training can be categorised as orientation because it is an information sharing process that lasts a few days. The purpose of the orientation is to ensure that officials from these departments, once seconded to missions support mission work in their various specialized areas (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Understanding of diplomatic protocols and etiquette is essential. Officials from partner departments whose level is at Deputy Director or above are not expected to attend this course and are therefore encouraged to undertake self-study of a few chapters on diplomatic etiquette.

The 2003 FSI training programme offered modules that were regarded as appropriate to equip participants with the relevant skills to execute their mandate effectively. An introduction on the work of the DFA in the making and implementation of South African foreign policy is examined in detail in the module

Overview of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA, 2003a). The module also provided the relevant challenges and skills required by senior and middle managers as well as desk officers in the implementation of foreign policy (DFA,

2003a). The functions of different officials at missions tasked with the management of foreign policy must be examined, with particular focus on the office of the Head of Mission and other divisions that make up and mission. The issues of accountability and reporting were also included to enable incumbents to understand how missions relate to Head Office in regard to operations (DFA,

2003a). In the 2005 FSI training programme, a revamped Introductory orientation module to replace the 2003 introductory module, Overview of the

Department of Foreign Affairs was offered (DFA, 2005b). The new elements added to the 2005 introductory module when compared to the 2003 included an introduction on the FSI, its programme and the global context of the training to be offered. Furthermore, a team-building exercise was undertaken to profile the personality of each participant, and also to provide participants with the tools for

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


learning and communication, leadership, decision-making, conflict resolution, diversity management and professionalism (DFA, 2005b).

Public diplomacy is the effort undertaken by a government of another country (in this case South Africa) to influence public opinion or certain sectors of a community in another country positively. In the 2003 FSI training programme, the

Public Diplomacy module was offered (DFA, 2003a). The module focuses on the basic principles of undertaking public diplomacy as a means of achieving

South Africa’s foreign policy objectives (DFA, 2003a). Participants are introduced to the essential skills of how public diplomacy could be used as an instrument to achieve foreign policy objectives. Public diplomacy skills must relate to the management of engagements with the media, responding to negative news about

South Africa, participating in an interview and also activities that relate to increasing public awareness and creating a positive image about economic potential that the country offers for FDI (DFA, 2003a). Also in the 2003 FSI training programme, the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges module was offered to supplement the Public Diplomacy module (DFA, 2003a). Under the

1961 Vienna Convention, diplomats posted in various countries are accorded certain privileges and immunity. The Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges module examines, in detail, the implications of the Vienna Convention to the functioning of a mission and the activities of diplomats (DFA, 2003a). This also assists in ensuring that diplomats conduct themselves in an appropriate manner that will not embarrass South Africa when undertaking the various activities of implementing the country’s foreign policy (DFA, 2003a). During diplomatic misunderstandings, the understanding of the Vienna Convention through the module must enable diplomats to manage the situation in the way that does not further strain the relationship between their country and other countries.

The Protocol module supplemented the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges in the 2003 FSI training programme (DFA, 2003a). In diplomacy, there are a

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


number of unwritten rules called protocols that need to be respected by diplomats. The Protocol module examines these rules in detail to equip incumbents with protocols on the most important basics of diplomatic conduct

(DFA, 2003a). Failure to follow the necessary diplomatic protocols may impact negatively on the implementation of a country’s foreign policy, while failure to observe protocol may be interpreted as an insult or lack of respect by other countries with adverse results. At the end of training, participants must possess the basic skills that are required to undertake the protocol responsibilities assigned to them and also observe protocol in all their diplomatic engagements

(DFA, 2003a). An Introduction to Diplomacy module was also presented at FSI in the 2003 training programme. The module focuses on the history of diplomacy with special emphasis on its evolution and development to its current norms

(DFA, 2003a). This module is important, because it provides an overall picture of why diplomacy is so critical in the current global environment and what role South

Africa is playing in this regard to realize its foreign policy objectives (DFA,


In the 2005 FSI training programme, the Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges, the Introductory to Diplomacy, the Protocol and the Public Diplomacy modules were consolidated into the Diplomacy module (DFA, 2005b). The

Diplomacy module provided participants with an introduction to diplomacy, diplomatic immunities and privileges, consular matters, protocol and etiquette and public diplomacy (DFA, 2005b). This module was offered also in the 2003 FSI training programme and its purpose was also to deal with in the preceding paragraphs. The Diplomacy module also complemented the Diplomatic Skills module which was offered in both 2003 and 2005 FSI training programme (DFA,

2003a and DFA, 2005b). In order for a diplomat to act professionally and to effectively execute his/her mandate in the diplomatic environment, he/she needs to be equipped with a variety of additional skills. General diplomatic skills include the ability to negotiate, promote, facilitate, coordinate and advise and a good

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


diplomat must master these skills (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

The 2003 FSI training programme, modules such as Interpersonal Skills,

Leadership Skills, Analytical Skills, Art of Networking, Professional Skills,

Speech-writing, Thinking Skills and Research Skills were consolidated into the Diplomatic Skills module offered in the 2005 FSI training programme (DFA,

2003a and DFA, 2005b). The Leadership Skills module exposes incumbents to the basic principles of leadership and how to use those skills to execute their tasks successfully (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The purpose of the module was to equip incumbents with the relevant skills to provide leadership and manage missions in a dynamic and diverse environment (DFA, 2003a and DFA,

2005b). Without proper leadership in the activities of the mission, resources might be wasted with little or no progress in the realization of South Africa’s foreign policy. In addition to Leadership Skills module, the Interpersonal Skills module was offered to enhance diplomatic skills of incumbents (DFA, 2003a and DFA,

2005b). A successful diplomat is also one who is able to network effectively. The

Art of Networking module was offered to supplement the Interpersonal Skills module (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). The module equipped participants with a range of skills a diplomat needs to establish contacts in various areas of their work that will be fruitful to the attainment of the objectives of his/her work.

This Art of Networking module provides the necessary tools for incumbents to build contact through trust in diverse cultures that will provide positive input in the execution of their mandate (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). A diplomat must be a good strategist. He/she must be able to see the number of pitfalls during negotiations and successfully manage these to achieve the intended results. The

Strategic Thinking module exposed diplomats to the relevant skills that are essential for them if they are to think strategically for the successful execution of their mandate (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Strategic thinking skills are also essential in the effectiveness of the planning and implementation processes of

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


mission objectives. Equipped with these skills, incumbents must be able to allocate mission resources appropriately and also understand what is achievable and what is not in given circumstances. A good diplomat is one who also has the ability to analyse the situation, whether it is a newspaper article or media briefing, for example, and communicate his/her understanding of the issue correctly to his principals. The Analytical Skills module was offered to enhance the Strategic

Thinking module (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Key analytical skills concepts are examined in the Analytical Skills module. Analysing situations and advising

Head Office on the course of action is essential for the success and relevancy of a mission. The module is intended to equip diplomats with the relevant analytical skills that they may successfully utilize in their diplomatic activities (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

Diplomats must be able to undertake some research on the various aspects of their work. The focus of the Research module is to equip incumbents with the relevant skills to undertake mini-research work and to be aware of the framework and the tools available to officials (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). In the implementation of foreign policy, grey areas need to be researched to generate the required information that can be used for the execution of the mandate or to recommend other appropriate action to Head Office. Diplomats are expected to write speeches for presentation by Heads of Mission, or by other high level officials, government leaders or themselves. They are then exposed to the concept of speech-writing and what is needed to write a good speech for a particular audience. The Speech-writing module exposed them with the required skills that are essential to speech-writing for different audiences. In diplomacy, certain words mean certain things and may result in diplomatic incidents if not properly communicated in a speech. The module aims to equip incumbents with the relevant skills that are essential for writing good speeches that send a positive message and a strong image of South Africa (DFA, 2003a and DFA,


Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


Diplomacy is presented as a profession in this module. The personal characteristics and skills that contribute to professionalism are analysed, with a particular focus on the ways in which the incumbent can acquire these qualities in his/her work. The Professional Skills module equips incumbents with the relevant skills which involve not only undertaking work professionally, but also dressing for success (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Diplomats are a mirror of

South Africa and their appearance sends a clear message of the country is standards. It is, therefore, essential that their professional skills enabled them to fulfil this role with distinction, thus enhancing the efforts to successfully implement the country’s foreign policy.

Missions deal with the public and so it is essential to ensure that the level of service delivery is in accordance with the government policy of Batho

Pele/Service Excellence. The Service Excellence/Batho Pele module was only offered in the 2003 FSI training programme (DFA, 2003a). The module provides the basic principles of Batho Pele and explains the obligation diplomats have in missions in regard to the upholding the image of the government by rendering an efficient and effective high level customer service (DFA, 2003a).

International politics impact directly on South Africa’s foreign policy. It is therefore very essential that the latest developments are brought to the attention of future diplomats before their posting. The history of the development of international politics and the operation of international organizations at multilateral diplomatic levels are and their impact to South African foreign policy are explored in detail in the International Politics module (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Furthermore, all diplomatic activities are undertaken in an international political environment.

Therefore, it is imperative that incumbents are equipped with the relevant skills that will enable them to execute their mandate in diverse political environments.

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


The forces of globalisation have radically changed the way governments do their work. Since diplomatic activities take place in a globalised environment, the

Globalisation module was offered in the 2003 FSI training programme and focused on the introduction of globalisation and its effects on the international political economy (DFA, 2003a). The module also narrows the implication of globalisation to South Africa’s economy and international relations and focuses on how diplomats must manage the environment in attaining South Africa’s foreign policy objectives (DFA, 2003a). In addition to the Globalisation module, the 2003 FSI training programme also included a module on Commercial

diplomacy (DFA, 2003a). Commercial diplomacy is the diplomacy undertaken by a government and is aimed at influencing foreign government policy and regulatory decisions that affect global trade and investment to achieve its own objectives (DFA, 2003a). The Commercial Diplomacy module is offered to equip diplomats with relevant skills to promote the commercial sector of the

South African economy. A diplomat tasked to advance South Africa’s commercial interests must have a clear understanding of the imperatives which his/her is to advance and the implications thereof, so the module focuses on this aspect.

In 2005 FSI training programme, the Globalisation and Commercial diplomacy modules were combined into the Economic Trade and Finance (DFA, 2005b).

In this module, participants are given an introduction to basic economics and global economic issues. Under basic economic literacy, the areas covered include economic systems, macro-economic performance of the South African economy, the growth path of South Africa’s economy, the challenge to attain equity, monetary policy, fiscal policy, and the role of budget. Global economic issues that are addressed include multilateral economic diplomacy, international trade systems (regional trading blocks), international financial architecture

(Bretton Woods Institutions, European Development Bank/African Development

Bank, etc.), and ODA, Debt and Trade and Investment. On completion, participants are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of both micro

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


and macro economic issues that have an impact on South Africa’s foreign economic policy objectives and possess relevant skills that will enable them to execute their mandate in this area successfully (DFA, 2005b). The improvement of the module in the 2005 training programme demonstrates the acknowledgement of the need for South Africa’s diplomats to possess the necessary knowledge on specific economic issues and also the relevant skills that are essential for the effective and efficient implementation of the country’s foreign policy.

In the 2003 FSI training programme modules on Government Functions and

South African Foreign Policy are offered (DFA, 2003a). It is important for diplomats to understand the functioning of their own government, because some of the issues that they will be expected to deal with will have an impact on other government departments, not only the DFA (DFA, 2003a). Understanding especially of the work of other departments like the DTI, Agriculture and Home

Affairs, is obligatory for a diplomat. The Government Functions module explores in detail the work of these departments, reflecting on the specific areas that affect the work of an embassy. In order to practise as a professional diplomat, it is essential that incumbents understand the history behind the profession (DFA, 2003a). This module is complemented by a module on South

African Foreign Policy (DFA, 2003a). Diplomats are expected to manage the implementation of South African foreign policy in all facets of their work during their posting. A comprehensive introduction to South African Foreign Policy and its objectives is presented in this module (DFA, 2003a). The challenges and opportunities are also explored to enable the incumbents to identify their responsibility in the realization of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives (DFA,

2003a). At the end of the module, incumbents must be able to understand and communicate South Africa’s foreign policy and objectives in any given forum and on any current international agenda.

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


In the 2005 FSI training programme, modules on Government Functions and

South Africa Foreign Policy are consolidated into Understanding South

Africa in Africa module (DFA, 2005b). The module provides participants with an overview of the historical, political and social framework of South Africa and where its foreign policy is anchored over a 23 day period. Issues included in the module provide participants with an understanding of how the government functions and how the DFA fit into government structures (DFA, 2005b).

Participants are also introduced to a framework of South Africa’s political economy and are given an introduction to the DFA’s interface with other departments on matters of international relations (DFA, 2005b). The module includes an introduction to participants in regional organizations such as the AU,

NEPAD, and SADC, and to current efforts undertaken for regional cooperation and integration (DFA, 2005b). This module was not offered in the 2003 FSI training programme and its inclusion in the 2005 FSI training programme demonstrates the realization by the compilers of the programme of the importance of Africa in the achievement of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives.

In the 2003 FSI training programme, a module on Foreign Affairs and

International Law is presented. The implication of a country’s foreign policy in relation to laws that guide international relations is provided in the Foreign

Affairs and International Law course (DFA, 2003a). The purpose of the course is to introduce the participants to the international legal framework in which South

African foreign policy is implemented (DFA, 2003a). The 2003 module on

Foreign Affairs and International Law is divided into two modules in the 2005 training programme, namely, Foreign Affairs and International Law and

International Law modules (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Participants are introduced to issues of International Peace and Security, such as arms control and non-proliferation of small arms in the Foreign Affairs and International Law module (DFA, 2005b). Major emerging issues that challenge government’s of

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


today, such as terrorism, sustainable development, international crime

(drug/human trafficking) and other related issues are covered (DFA, 2005b). This module was also offered in the 2005 training programme although not in the 2003

FSI training programme. This acknowledges the challenge posed by emerging issues to international security such as unilateralism in the face of multilateralism that has implication on the implementation of South African foreign policy.

In addition to the International Peace and Security and Major Emerging

Issues module participants are introduced through the International Law module to all international laws that have implications in international relations, such as Public International Law, Treaty Law, Law of the Sea, International

Criminal Law, International Property Law, International Trade Law, International

Humanitarian Law, Refugee Law, International Human Rights Law and

International Private Law. Furthermore, participants are introduced to the role of the State Law Advisor in the management of international relations (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). At the end of the two modules, participants will possess a comprehensive understanding of how peace and security is maintained in the world and the role played by international laws and court in all these matters

(DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b). Participants are expected to fully comprehend how international law and South Africa’s foreign obligations impact on domestic laws and policies (DFA, 2003a and DFA, 2005b).

After formal training, participants are allocated to various FS desks in the

Branches of the DFA through for Practical Desk Training module (DFA, 2005b).

The module was only introduced in the 2005 FSI training programme after the realization of the important role of the country desks on the execution of foreign policy by missions. Participants at the desk are given the opportunity to apply their learning to a working environment. The module ensure that participates understand the DFA strategic and operational plans, business plans, writing of diplomatic documents, operational plans for missions, national policies and their

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


practical application at bilateral or multilateral relations, and related aspects

(DFA, 2005b).

In the above section, a detailed presentation has been made on the FSI training programmes of 2003 and 2005. The purpose of presenting the two programmes is to illustrate the evolution of the FSI curriculum in an attempt to obtain the right mix of modules that will enable it to achieve its mandate of building skills capacity for the effective implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy. It has also emerged through comparative analysis of the 2003 and the 2005 FSI training programmes that there has been an emphasis on remodelling the training programme in 2005 to include those areas that are crucial to the successful implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy, such as the modules on

Understanding South Africa in Africa and International Peace and Security

and Major Emerging Issues (DFA, 2005b). There has been less emphasis on certain critical skills in the 2005 FSI training programme where modules such as

Strategic Thinking, Leadership Skills, Analytical Skills, Interpersonal Skills,

Public Diplomacy and Professional Skills which were presented individually in the 2003 FSI training programme were consolidated into one module called

Introduction and Diplomatic Skills. The reason for this might be to lessen the burden for incumbents but such actions may further erode the quality of training rather than enhance the quality of the training.



The Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI) is the professional development and training arm of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International

Trade (DFAIT). The CFSI’s role is to enhance the knowledge of potential

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


diplomats and to create opportunities for them to acquire relevant additional skills to ensure that they function efficiently in their new work environment (CFSI,

2004). The CFSI training programme for diplomats is called the Foreign Service

Development Programme (FSDP) and its objective is to prepare diplomatic recruits by building their capacity in order to help them to become accomplished

Foreign Service officers (CFSI, 2004).

The FSDP promotes FS and leadership competencies through a diversity of experiences which include a variety of assignments, some mentoring, on-the-job learning and an organized educational component (CFSI, 2004). The FSDP is managed through close cooperation among the Assignments Division, the

Recruitment, Counselling and Promotion Division, the CFSI and the officers’ supervisors (CFSI, 2004). Each supervisor receives an assignment confirming the enrolment of their subordinates with the CFSI explaining the first year of the programme and an explanation of the supervisors’ role in the development of an

FSDP officer (CFSI, 2004). Supervisors are invited with the officer he/she supervises to attend an information session on the development of competencies and work appraisals before the beginning of the programme (CFSI, 2004).

The CFSI organizes and manages the DFAIT learning and training necessary for both headquarters and overseas assignments (CFSI, 2004). The FSDP is a fiveyear development programme that consists of assignments at headquarters, one assignment abroad and formal training in the classroom or through computer assisted learning (CFSI, 2004). The CFSI training programme is divided into streams. The division of the course curricula into streams is intended to guide officers in preparing their training plan, but does not prevent them from taking courses in the other stream-specific curriculums if they wish to do so. Some courses are delivered through the Virtual Campus (VC) (CFSI, 2004). Throughout the year, more courses might be developed using the VC and these may be

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


added to the list of courses available for credits. (CFSI, 2004)All formal training will be measured in credits. Sixty credits are required over the five-year programme. Most of the training is offered during the first year (CFSI, 2004). New officers have to acquire 50 credits before their first posting which can occur at the end of that first year (CFSI, 2004).

The CFSI 2004-2005 FSDP consists of the following elements: an Introductory

Session, which takes place in the classroom, is held in September and October of each year. All new officers attend this three-week session. It provides training in some selected skills and knowledge areas which will assist new officers to perform more efficiently as Foreign Service officers (CFSI, 2004). The session consists of in-class modules, simulations, presentations and activities facilitated by departmental experts and/or external instructors on issues, such as various components of the FS and their functions; Canadian foreign policy, including the domestic context; oral communication; and protocol and etiquette (CFSI, 2004).

In short, the introductory session acquaints officers with foreign policy issues and the DFAIT in general, while highlighting some of the essential skills required for performing well in the FS. Most of the FS learning happens in the workplace.

Assignments offered provide developmental opportunities to new officers, while contributing to the functioning of the Department (CFSI, 2004). The DFAIT uses a new competency-based approach to training and evaluation of the FSDP officers

(CFSI, 2004). Participants must master eleven behavioural competencies during this session. The development of competencies takes place through various work experiences, multiple sources of feedback and specialized training. There is also a Handbook for On The Job Learning for new officers and their supervisors which explains the various steps of the learning process (CFSI, 2004). This guide outlines tools to facilitate the development of competencies and help supervisors to enhance officers’ performance through exposure during the performance of assigned responsibilities.

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The 2004-2005 FSDP also includes specialized training designed to complement the learning process (CFSI, 2004). Specialization takes place when new officers are assigned to divisions that specialize in various sectors in pursuit of foreign policy objectives (CFSI, 2004). The CFSI specialization courses range in length from one to five days and are offered at regular intervals to allow some flexibility to both the participants and the divisions. The specialization courses deal with particular skills and knowledge required at the local headquarters and abroad

(CFSI, 2004). Each new officer is expected to develop a training plan in consultation with the CFSI. This plan must be discussed and signed by the officer’s immediate supervisor.

The CFSI Common Curriculum includes a number of courses with some of the courses being compulsory and other optional and depending on the function that an incumbent will be undertaking once posted. The first course offered is the

Policy Analysis and Development Course. The purpose of the course is to improve participants’ abilities to apply the principal elements of policy analysis and development to a variety of Canadian international public policies (CFSI,

2004). Presentations are made on various stages of an applied problem-solving model of the international public policy process, and commercial-economic and political-economic policy cases. Exercises are used to illustrate the application of the above stages in the analysis and development of Canada’s international policies. The DFAIT realizes that in implementing Canadian foreign policy, it is crucial that all incumbents possess the relevant policy analysis and development skills (CFSI, 2004). The skills acquired will provide the answers on how best a mission could implement a policy given the basic understanding of the public policy process.

Another course is that on Oral Communication. This course is designed to develop or refine communication and presentation skills required by officers in the FS (CFSI, 2004). As with the South African equivalent, this course provides

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the following diplomatic tools: professional techniques for effective presentations, the ability to communicate with confidence, the need to structure and tailor presentation to clients' needs, the skills required to persuade and convince an audience to take action, the techniques used to maintain control in impromptu situations, and the use of visual aids to enhance and support presentations

(CFSI, 2004).

Given the implication that issues that relate to the management of the environment have taken the centre stage in multilateral diplomacy, a VC course on Introduction to Sustainable Development is offered. This course was developed to familiarize personnel with sustainable development as a subject and as a legislated operating premise (CFSI, 2004). It includes an overview of the

DFAIT’s current sustainable development strategy. The Introduction to

Sustainable Development course takes approximately three hours to complete.

The course can be accessed any time on the trainees’ office computer or on a home computer through the Internet. Trainees undertake the course in their own chosen time. To supplement the Introduction to Sustainable Development course another course is also offered on Environmental Assessment (also provided through VC) (CFSI, 2004). The Environmental Assessment course provides an overview of both project environmental assessment and strategic environmental assessment, evaluates the potential environmental consequences of a policy (CFSI, 2004), plan or programme proposal. Practical examples of how the DFAIT activities can have an impact on the environment are included in addition to links to other learning resources. Two interactive case studies enable participants to apply the principles learned during the course. The two courses reaffirm the central role that issues relating to sustainable development play in

Canadian foreign policy and South Africa could well benefit from the introduction of similar modules in the FSI training programme (CFSI, 2004).

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The Negotiating Skills (bilateral and multilateral) course is also offered to the incumbents as negotiation technique is the main tool that a diplomat has at his or her disposal when executing mandates (CFSI, 2004). This compulsory course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to identify and apply the principles and practices of negotiation. The skills to be acquired include: recognition of the impact of negotiation types on a working relationship; the selection and development of an effective negotiation plan; the abilities required to initiate, conduct and conclude mutually acceptable negotiations; and the use and recognition of strategies, tactics, ploys and counters in negotiations

(CFSI, 2004).

When appointed to a mission and depending on the level of appointment, diplomats are expected to supervise their subordinates, including the locally recruited staff, and are provided with supervision skills through the Supervisory

Development Programme course (CFSI, 2004). The purpose of the course is to enable participants to acquire relevant supervisory skills that are essential to lead the units and division to the effective and efficient execution of their mandate.

The course content includes customized case work, role-playing, discussion and syndicate groups. The goal of the course is to introduce supervisors to various skills and techniques involved in communication, team management, leadership, motivation and dealing with difficult people (CFSI, 2004).

A Canadian Foreign Policy course is also offered to provide an integrated overview of the domestic and international contexts for the conducting of

Canadian foreign policy since the 1960s, with special emphasis on the 1990s

(CFSI, 2004). The course is compulsory. The Canadian foreign policy course emphasizes the dynamic interplay among key domestic actors (the ministry, the

Prime Minister, Cabinet, Parliament, other government departments, civil society), international institutions, and core Canadian foreign policy principles

(Canada in the World) (CFSI, 2004). An extended simulation weaves through the

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course and provides participants with a real-world exercise of integrating

Canadian domestic and foreign policy objectives. The South African equivalent course is South African Foreign Policy.

A Writing Strategically for the DFAIT course which is designed to assist participants in developing strategies to streamline their own writing processes is also presented and is compulsory (CFSI, 2004). Participants are presented with tools that will enable them to develop relevant writing skills and also be able to analyse the writing of others. Senior diplomats at the DFAIT experienced in various techniques of writing for diplomatic purposes are invited to share their experiences and knowledge with participants (CFSI, 2004). Participants are given the opportunity to acquire techniques required for a strategic communication approach through writing. Participants also learn about drafting questions and answers for use in Parliament, briefing books and other specialized departmental correspondence (CFSI, 2004). The similar issues are dealt with in the South

African equivalent course called Diplomatic Skills.

CIFS also offers specialized training for those incumbents identified for political and economic work at missions. A number of courses are offered in this specialization stream. Given bilateral and multilateral economic instruments accessible to Canada and the country's participation and membership in multilateral economic and financial institutions, the Economic Diplomacy course is presented to provide incumbents with a good understanding of these economic instruments and their strategic importance to Canadian national economic interests, the making of Canada's international economic policy, and how to use this knowledge strategically in a bilateral/regional context for the advancement of

Canada's trade, economic and security interests (CFSI, 2004). The South African equivalent course is Economic Trade and Finance module.

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International engagements through a multilateral forum increased significantly after the Second World War. These have provided challenges for diplomats to operate in this new and ever-changing environment in which diplomatic activities take place without relevant skills (CFSI, 2004). A Multilateral Diplomacy course is offered and designed to give participants an overview of multilateral institutions and Canada’s participation in them. Participants will be exposed to issues on the horizon that may be relevant to mission operations and the evolving role of civil society, in particular NGOs, in multilateral diplomacy (CFSI, 2004). Participants are equipped with relevant skills to operate in a multilateral diplomatic environment to execute their mandate successful. The South African equivalent course is Diplomacy module.

Given the importance attached to the respect of human rights in its foreign policy, two courses, Human Rights I and Human Rights II, are offered. The Human

Rights I course provides an overview of the evolving human rights issues and their connection to Canadian foreign policy, focusing on the roles of various stakeholders, and offering tools to follow-up on human rights issues, as well as tactics to promote human rights, the relationship between trade and human rights, and reporting on this issue (CFSI, 2004). Human Rights II is an advanced course which is designed to prepare officers being sent on a posting to conform to the high standards of the DFAIT in the work they have to do at missions in the

Human Rights area. It focuses on international instruments, Canadian practices and reporting on these issues. Prospective diplomats must take both courses

(CFSI, 2004).

Given the importance of international law in the implementation of a country’s foreign policy, Canada like South Africa offers a course designated an

Introduction to International Law. This course is designed to provide new officers with a basic understanding of international law, to illustrate the importance of international law in relations between nations and governments,

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and to demonstrate how the DFAIT, via the Legal Affairs Bureau, deals with various current issues requiring international solutions (CFSI, 2004).

The Political/Economic Practice course is presented to improve participants' understanding of contemporary diplomatic practice and its institutional context within the DFAIT headquarters and missions abroad (CFSI, 2004). Participants develop specific skills required for diplomatic practice, such as information, contact management and professional ethics. Participants learn to identify key characteristics of traditional and contemporary diplomacy as well as patterns in

Canadian diplomatic practice in order to advance the capacity necessary to the realization of Canada’s economic and political interests (CFSI, 2004).

In pursuing Canada’s national foreign policy interest as a peacemaker, incumbents are offered a Conflict Prevention course which is designed to equip them with the skills required for effective involvement in conflict analysis, prevention, management and resolution (CFSI, 2004). The training is done through case studies and simulation exercises encompassing various situations requiring involvement and/or intervention in international and intra-national conflicts (CFSI, 2004). In a current affairs context, participants also learn about

Canada’s role in various conflict prevention missions abroad and the outcomes thereof.

Since Canada’s security and economic situation depends mainly on the USA, a course on Canada — USA relations is presented and is compulsory (CFSI,

2004). The course is designed to provide participants with knowledge of the USA

(its political culture, its history, and its institutions) in order to foster an understanding of the complexity of the USA policy process. In particular, participants will be exposed to the ways in which domestic considerations shape

USA policy towards Canada and the rest of the world, as well as to the implications of the broad reach of USA influence and foreign policy interests

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(CFSI, 2004). The workshop also seeks to acquaint participants with the basics of the Canada-USA relationship, and helps participants to better understand how the USA system can be accessed and influenced (CFSI, 2004). The South

African equivalent course is Understanding South African in Africa.

Security has become a main concern for many countries since the 9/11 terrorist attack in the USA. International security matters have taken the centre stage in all major diplomatic activities (CFSI, 2004). An International Security course is offered to expose participants to the world’s evolving security system, in particular, to the emergence of new dimensions to such issues as economic, human and environmental security (CFSI, 2004). The role and importance of multilateral institutions on international security management is also explored in detail in the course. Participants are equipped with relevant skills to engage on matters that relate to international security at multilateral or bilateral forums and the course is not compulsory (CFSI, 2004). The South African equivalent course is the International Peace and Security and Major Emerging Issues module.

The CFSI also offers specialization courses only for those incumbents who are identified for as Trade Commissioners. Courses offered in this regard include a course on Investment Development and Strategic Alliances (CFSI, 2004). The course provides relevant techniques to be used by participants when undertaking investments and trade promotions abroad. Case studies and exercises are used to assist in identifying target companies, presenting investment opportunities to potential investors, and using the support network in Canada (CFSI, 2004). The course also includes a module on the variety of forms that strategic alliances can take and that can be used to implement mutually beneficial relationships between

Canadian companies and foreign business partners. The South African closer to equivalent course is the Commercial Diplomacy module and it may be helpful to include some of the elements of the CFSI course to enhance the module.

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Another course offered to incumbents identified for Trade Commissioners’ responsibilities is the International Financial Institutions course. This course provides an insight into the role of Multilateral Development Institutions in the financing of international trade opportunities and how Canadian business people can succeed in pursuing opportunities generated by countries benefiting from assistance from these institutions (CFSI, 2004). Participants acquire techniques that they will be used to monitor projects funded by intergovernmental financial institutions in order to advise Canadian business to source contracts to undertake the projects (CFSI, 2004). The issues raised in this course are dealt with in the

South African equivalent module, the Economic Trade and Finance.

The Trade Commissioner Service — Serving our Clients course is offered to familiarize participants with the new approaches to service clients in foreign markets. The course covers the outcome and implications of a performance measurement initiative (a new approach to management), and describes how officers’ time can be better allocated through the implementation of new service guidelines, client support techniques and post support tools (CFSI, 2004).

Potential Trade Commissioners are also offered a Trade Policy and Market

Access course. This course examines the principal trade regulations as they are applied in various international agreements. It covers the fundamentals of the trading system, such as hidden barriers to trade, GATT articles and other agreements, market interventions, the new trade agenda, and policy and access issues often encountered at missions (CFSI, 2004). Participants are provided with the skills to understand and identify trade distorting policies implemented by other countries and how to engage through multilateral institutions and bilateral arrangements to resolve these matters (CFSI, 2004). Some of the issues dealt with in this course are dealt with in the South African equivalent module, the

Economic Trade and Finance.

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To enhance the Trade Policy and Market Access course, a course on Trading

Houses is offered. The Trading Houses course focuses on the financial and trading institutions as potential partners in the realization of Canada’s foreign policy objectives. The main objectives of the course are: (a) to improve awareness among participants with regard to the significance of trading Houses in international trade, (b) to create two-way communication channels between participants and traders, (c) to help create business partnerships to respond promptly and effectively to international opportunities (CFSI, 2004).

Given the importance of accurate information in making decisions on how to compete in international markets, it is also the responsibility of the DFAIT to undertake the gathering of intelligent information to give Canadian business a competitive edge in international markets. A Competitive Intelligence course is offered to enhance the capacity of incumbents to undertake this function. This course concentrates on the systematic collection, analysis and dissemination of political, economic and commercial intelligence reporting from missions (CFSI,

2004). Among other skills, participants learn effective interviewing techniques, creating and managing competitive intelligence, and efficiently integrating advanced and targeted Internet searches into the competitive intelligence process (CFSI, 2004). Furthermore, a course on Working Trade Shows from

Both Sides of the Aisle is offered. This innovative course equips participants with skills that will enable them to gather market intelligence, to establish new contacts, to analyse a trade show and the products and services available and to be able to utilize the information gathered to enhance mission work (CFSI, 2004).

South Africa could well benefit from introduction of similar courses.

The United Nations Procurement is also a specialization course. This course provides an understanding on the procurement activities of agencies of the

United Nations system and what type of export opportunities they represent, and the nature of interactions that Canadian government agencies have with UN

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agencies (CFSI, 2004). The purpose is to ensure that once incumbents are posted, they are able to identify business opportunities for Canadian business from UN procurement contracts and advise Canadian companies on how to succeed in tracking these opportunities (CFSI, 2004).

Before incumbents are sent to missions, a number of pre-posting obligatory courses are offered. A Consular Briefing course is offered to participants to provide them with an understanding on consular services responsibilities abroad and in the DFAIT (CFSI, 2004). It is designed for officers who will be required to act as duty officers or to render occasional consular services. A Public

Diplomacy Abroad course is also offered to provide an insight into public diplomacy activities at the mission, including public affairs work, communication

(understanding media) and cultural and education promotion and outreach activities (CFSI, 2004). Participants are encouraged to focus on the application of advocacy methods for the systematic promotion of specific Canadian interests and officials have an opportunity to meet and discuss public affairs/public diplomacy activities with the DFAIT clientele and potentials partners.

The ability of a diplomat to influence negotiations at both bilateral and multilateral level is critical to the attainment of Canadian foreign policy. An Advocacy and

Influence Strategies course presents a methodology for the systematic promotion of specific Canadian interests, along with tips on how to advocate these interests effectively (CFSI, 2004). Participants are exposed to the application of the methodology suitable for advocacy specific issues and how to develop an advocacy campaign plan. Participants are provided with a computer template for use in the planning and implementing an advocacy strategy (CFSI,

2004). Once posted, participants will be expected to use the skills gained through the course to implement their mandate efficiently and effectively.

Given the fact that diplomatic activities are undertaken in diverse cultures, an

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Intercultural Effectiveness course is offered to address skills requirements in this area. This course examines the roles of culture, communication, and interpersonal behaviours and relationships and their impact on diplomatic activities in a different cultural context (CFSI, 2004). The course emphasizes intercultural skills building and practical applications related to the work in missions and in the countries of assignment. Also featured is country and areaspecific information as well as a meeting with senior diplomats to share their experiences during assignments (CFSI, 2004). Spouses are also invited to attend the sessions dealing with country-specific information and strategies for individual and family adaptation.

The Managing Staff Abroad course is aimed at ensuring that, once posted, staff is able to supervise subordinates appropriately. The effective functioning of a mission depends largely on the organisation of its human resources (CFSI,

2004). This course deals with human resources management in an overseas context. Topics include working with Canada-based and locally-engaged staff at a mission; basic supervisory skills; coaching and feedback; dealing with underperformers; defusing conflict; hiring and firing procedures; and stress and time management (CFSI, 2004).



The Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MADS) of the University of

Malta has been involved in offering a diplomatic training programme through seminars, online interactive learning, self-study material, individual research and graded assignments based on course lectures and relevant to the work of the participant (MADS, 2004). The series of seminars and interactive online lectures are conducted by a team of international experts on various aspects of diplomacy and international relations. The objective of the MADS training programme are:

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(a) to strengthen or improve knowledge in bilateral, multilateral, economic and media diplomacy, and diplomatic negotiations, organization and management of diplomatic activities and Internet diplomacy, (b) to update skills and knowledge about electronic communications and Internet diplomatic activities, (c) to improve participants’ skills in formulating strategy proposals for their superiors and tactical suggestions within a negotiating process as well as timelines for negotiations and other diplomatic activities, (d) to improve participants’ basic negotiations skills, (e) to assess the importance of the media in diplomatic work and to acquire basic tools for interacting with them, (f) to increase the understanding of the structure and functioning of diplomatic embassy or mission, and (g) to increase the understanding of the workings of international organizations (MADS, 2004).

There are prerequisites that must first be met for one to be enrolled in the MADS programme. Participation in the programme is for those who are currently serving as diplomats and civil servants or for individuals actively pursuing international diplomatic relations with the aims of acquiring new knowledge in the field or of preparing for a posting abroad (MADS, 2004). Individuals may enrol in the course only after completing an undergraduate university course complemented by an understanding of diplomacy or international relations. A good command of

English, the language of instruction and administration, and computer skills are also essential.

The MADS programme is offered in a form of modules. Each module that is offered is made up of four to six lectures drawn from a number of important themes. Emphasis is on ensuring that each group of participants may choose which themes are relevant to their interest in each module and fit their own particular requirements. As intimated, modules are on bilateral, economic, multilateral, media and public and Internet diplomacy (MADS, 2004).

The content of the module on Bilateral Diplomacy addresses the diminishing

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role of a resident embassy as a result of instant communications, direct communications between ministries of foreign affairs, foreign travel of heads of state and foreign ministers (MADS, 2004). The argument that informs the bilateral diplomacy module is that the missions have become co-managers of foreign relations given the roles undertaken directly by various agencies of government with their counterparts in other countries. The module on bilateral diplomacy provides the knowledge required to empower a diplomat at a mission to act as a unique databank in a new headquarter-mission partnership (MADS, 2004). The module also presents the key areas of diplomacy and the tools and techniques that can be used by a diplomat in an innovative way of relationship building.

Themes addressed in the Bilateral Diplomacy module include The Framework

of Bilateral Diplomatic Relations. Under this theme, realist and liberal theories of international diplomatic relations are presented with more emphasis on the complexities of bilateral relations in the current global order (MADS, 2004).

Participants are also provided with tools to assess profiles of countries.

Participants are introduced to concepts and tools that enhance ‘relationshipmanagement’ in the interplay between headquarters and mission in the implementation of a country’s foreign policy. The theme of Building Bilateral

Political Relations is also presented in the module and participants are introduced to concepts that form the basis of bilateral relations and an analysis of methodologies available to equip diplomats with the relevant skills to build bilateral political relations that will facilitate the implementation of their country’s foreign policy (MADS, 2004). Participants are also exposed to the management complexities and challenges ministries of foreign affairs encounter in the current global order owing to the ever blurred distinction between foreign and domestic affairs (MADS, 2004).

Another theme included in the Bilateral Diplomacy module is the Building

Bilateral Economic Relations. Given the challenges that countries encounter in

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their bilateral relations, economic issues have become a critical area and every country is compelled to pursue its national economic interests in a global environment (MADS, 2004). Participants on this theme are exposed to methodologies that enable them to promote trade (especially maximising exports), services promotion, mobilization of direct investments and technology transfer (MADS, 2004). The dedicated module on Economic Diplomacy is discussed in details a title later in this section.

It is important to note that without an understanding of the culture of the diplomatic environment, the diplomat’s performance will be greatly affected.

Participants are offered a Building Bilateral Relations in the Areas of Culture,

Media, Education, Science and Technology, and Public Diplomacy theme to acquire the skills that will enable them to foster the mutual understanding of the country’s culture and how to built relations with the local media (MADS, 2004). In addition, participants are exposed to tools that will enable them to build development-orientated relations through promotion exchanges in education, science and technology.

The foreign ministry is an institution of any government that is responsible for guiding the formulation and implementation of that government’s foreign policy.

Participants are offered The Foreign Ministry module mainly introducing them to the generic work of the ministry of foreign affairs, especially the role of each level of performance and the execution of the country’s foreign policy (MADS, 2004).

Levels that are presented and analysed include the work of the desk officer, middle and senior managers, and the executive authority. Practical case studies of various ministries of foreign affairs and relations with other countries are used as a means of showing how an optimally performing ministry is structured. The

Embassy/Mission theme is also presented to expose participants to the role of an embassy or mission (MADS, 2004). The participants studying this theme are exposed to the functions of different officials in a bilateral embassy, with a focus

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on the first secretary (together with junior officials normally referred as ‘foot soldiers’), the ambassador and the deputy chief of the mission (MADS, 2004).

The personal characteristics that contribute to good performance in each category are presented and analysed with particular emphasis on ways which junior officials can optimize the performance of the mission. Furthermore, a theme on Diplomatic Reporting is offered because good analyses and reporting on the developments in the host country are key requirements for the relevance of a mission in this global order and are also the life-blood of the diplomatic process (MADS, 2004). Participants are apprised of the methodologies for good oral and written reporting which include quality periodic reports, special dispatches and cipher messages that could impact positively on and enhance the work of the mission (MADS, 2004).

In bilateral diplomacy, countries identify areas of mutual interest that may be realized through commission or working groups as structures to deliberate on and to implement decisions made by political leaders. Other groups may include the appointment of an ‘Eminent Person’ or ‘Track II’ to bring together stakeholders and resolve a potentially explosive issue in bilateral relations (MADS, 2004).

Participants are therefore exposed to the methods and tools that enable them to develop a structure and to allocate responsibilities to enable such commissions or groups to perform optimally through a theme on Joint Commissions and

Other Groups (MADS, 2004).

Missions, as agencies of government, must also have a performance measuring tool to monitor whether the annually set key performance areas are realized according to mission set objectives and the allocated budgetary resources.

Participants are introduced through the Performance Monitoring theme to the practical application of performance measurement techniques used in generic management science to detect underperformance and implement corrective measures (MADS, 2004).

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Under the Trends and Challenges in Bilateral Diplomacy theme, participants are presented with the impact of the current global order on the tasks of a resident mission. Areas that are looked at include the trend towards regional economic and security blocks, FTAs, active direct participation of heads of states or government and the foreign ministers, tensions aiming bilateral-multilateral regional policy, public accountability and relationships with non-state actors

(MADS, 2004). This focus is to address the development trends of transforming a resident mission from a full manager of foreign relations and a major contributor to foreign policy formulation to a co-manager of bilateral relations. Participants are equipped with knowledge and management skills that enable them to remain relevant and crucial players in the maintenance of bilateral relations despite the declining relevancy of missions as more players become involved in the management of foreign relations (MADS, 2004).

The second module offered at MADS is the Economic Diplomacy. The content of this module is structured in such a way that it provides an introductory guide for practitioners of international trade diplomacy. Emphasis is mainly placed on international trade diplomacy and economic integration. The module is made up of six thematic areas which are briefly explained below. The purpose of the module is to equip diplomats with the skills necessary to find their way through complex terms and structures of economic diplomacy (MADS, 2004). The first theme of the module is The Framework of International Economic Diplomacy.

Participants are introduced to the political and economic environment that makes up the global economy and are exposed to existing international economic structures and institutions, the main stakeholders and how they interact to create a global economic environment (MADS, 2004). Another theme that is also offered in this module is the Basic Concepts in International Trade. Given the ever imposing role that international trade development has had on the sovereignty of states, participants are introduced to the basic concepts of international trade in

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this theme. The introduction to the basic concepts enables participants to understand the objective of international policy and why it is important for countries participate in its formulation (MADS, 2004).

In international trade, IGOs have taken the centre stage in the facilitation and coordination of international trade activities; and diplomats are expected to understand the organisation and implementation of their country’s foreign policy.

A Multilateral Trade Instruments theme is offered to participants in the module as a means of introducing them to the principles that underlies the

GATT/WTO/GATS agreements as well as their structure and content (MADS,

2004). Other topics that are included in this theme are a brief presentation of the terminology that is used in defining trade relations, for example, most favoured nation, national treatment, transitional rules for developing countries (MADS,

2004). An understanding of this theme is crucial in the global environment.

Also included in the Economic Diplomacy module is a theme on Regional

Integration and Free Trade, which is distinct from Building Bilateral Economic

Relations theme under Bilateral Diplomacy module, discussed earlier (MADS,

2004). Across the continents, countries are forming regional economic blocks that are essential for easy market access in each other’s territories. Participants are introduced to the basic concepts of regional integration and the role of free trade agreements in regional economy. At the end of the theme participants are expected to have acquired relevant skills that will enable them to participate fully in or give advice on regional economic integration and free trade matters or negotiations (MADS, 2004). Such skills will be further enhanced in the theme on the Content of a Free Trade Agreement. Given the global trend in strengthening of bilateral relations through an FTA by countries, participants in this theme are exposed to the following elements of this form of agreement: scope and coverage, origin rules, national treatment, flanking policies, safeguards and institutions (MADS, 2004). The themes that also relate to the

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above two themes are the one on The Negotiating and Approval Process of a

FTA and Topical Issues of Regional Integration. The complexities of negotiations (balancing of interests among national stakeholders [producers, civil society, government, parliament, press, etc.]), approval and implementation of an

FTA are also presented and analysed. Participants are exposed to proper procedures that are commonly utilized to strike a balance between the competing needs of the different constituencies, focusing on negotiations and internal preparations for negotiations (MADS, 2004). Participants are apprised of existing regional bodies, such as the European Union, the African Union and SADC.

Every effort is made in the content of the lectures to address regional specificities according to the interest of participants. Basic theories that underpin regional integration are presented and analysed to enable the participant to understand their impact in the global economy (MADS, 2004).

The implementation of the objectives of the Economic Diplomacy of a country is commonly undertaken by an economic counsellor at the mission. A theme on

The Functions of the Economic Counsellor is offered to enable participants to understand the role and activities of an Economic Counsellor in regard to the economic mandate of a mission (MADS, 2004). The responsibilities of the

Economic Counsellor, which include the surveying of the economic situation, initiation and development of bilateral agreements, consultation over multilateral economic matters, trade promotion and investments, are presented and analysed

(MADS, 2004). At the end of training, participants are expected to have acquired the relevant skills required by an Economic Counsellor to effectively execute their mandate. Participants are also introduced to one of the major catalysts for economic development, that is, how to promote inward investments in the modules on the Investment Promotion theme (MADS, 2004). Participants are taught the techniques to attract internal investments in different environments through an introduction of the preconditions and implications. Skills acquired in this sector enable participants to actively engage in those promotion activities

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that will convince investors that their country has a sound investment environment when compared to other countries at the same level.

The third module offered at the MADS is the Multilateral Diplomacy module. In this module, participants are introduced to the basic concepts of multilateral diplomacy with special emphasis on its evolution, the main actors, methods and techniques (MADS, 2004). Areas covered include preconditions for diplomacy, the evolution of multilateral diplomacy, the history and development of international and supranational institutions, and the rise and development of

NGOs (MADS, 2004). The module consists of six thematic areas which are briefly discussed below. The first thematic area is on Actors of Multilateral Diplomacy.

Although governments have remained the main actors in multilateral diplomacy over the past century, non-state actors, such as NGOs have also found themselves participating fully in multilateral diplomacy (in the last half of the past century) directly or indirectly. Participants are exposed to the changes that these developments have made to the composition, membership and powers conferred on international organizations which are the institutions under which multilateral diplomacy is undertaken (MADS, 2004). Participants are, therefore, introduced to the main actors (states, professional bodies, lobbies, media and civil society) and their role is analysed in the context of multilateral diplomacy (MADS, 2004).

The second thematic area is a Framework of Multilateral Diplomacy.

Participants in this theme are introduced to the diverse institutional and organizational frameworks of multilateral diplomacy. The institutional arrangements that are examined include conferences, international organizations, international regimes and other arrangements that can be decided on by the parties involved (MADS, 2004). Complementing the above theme is a theme on Methods of Multilateral Diplomacy. This is covered in the

Multilateral Diplomacy module. Participants in this theme are introduced to the methodologies of undertaking multilateral diplomacy and getting the most out of

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that process. Participants are exposed to aspects including bilateral interactions in the sharing of an idea and seek consensus from various stakeholders outside the main forum (MADS, 2004). The theme encompasses the role of international secretariats and the management of formal and informal meetings. In addition, a theme on Techniques of Multilateral Diplomacy is also offered in this module.

Multilateral diplomacy techniques are introduced to participants to enable them to understand how multilateral diplomatic activities are undertaken successfully

(MADS, 2004). Participants are further introduced to both the traditional and current multilateral diplomatic challenges. Issues, such as how to prepare for multilateral conferences, are presented and analysed with special emphasis on the introduction of critical tools of consultation and coordination in reaching a consensus (MADS, 2004). At the end of this thematic area, participants are expected to emerge with the relevant skills and to be confident of their abilities to apply techniques of multilateral diplomacy when pursuing their country’s foreign policy objectives.

IT has become is a key instrument in facilitating any international engagement timeously and successfully. The IT and Multilateral Diplomacy theme is also offered in the Multilateral Diplomacy module to expose participants on the role that IT plays in multilateral diplomacy. Instruments that are used for instantaneous communication, joint work on a single text, negotiation by means of hypertext links or real time with delegates attending via their computers are presented and analysed (MADS, 2004). Participants are given those skills that will enable them to utilize IT as a means of enhancing their participation in multilateral engagements (MADS, 2004). In addition to the above theme, there is the Language and Documents of Multilateral Diplomacy theme that introduces participants to the language of multilateral diplomacy used when writing multilateral documents (agreements, conventions, treaties, programmes, etc.). A survey of the language and documents of multilateral diplomacy is presented and analysed in equipping participants with the relevant skills to fully

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


participate in these processes (MADS, 2004).

The fourth module that is offered at the MADS is the Diplomatic Negotiations module. The art of negotiations is a diplomatic tool countries or organizations use to regulate relations in modern society. In this module, presentation of the general background and principles that are relevant to the negotiation process is made. Special emphasis in the eight themes that form the module focuses on techniques and tools for diplomatic negotiations (MADS, 2004). Participants are introduced to the basic terminology, principles, concepts, strategy and tactics of modern techniques to undertake diplomatic negotiations (MADS, 2004). In this module, the first thematic area covered is on Cross-Cultural Negotiations.

Participants are exposed to three aspects of the cultural influence on negotiations under the Cross-Cultural Negotiations theme namely, national, organizational and professional cultures. Organizational culture studies expose participants to specific cultures developed within international organizations, such as the UN,

WTO and EU (MADS, 2004). A professional culture session exposes participants to cultures that are shared and developed in different technical fields, such as environment, education, defence and health. Furthermore, participants are introduced to the Language of Negotiation theme in which they are exposed to the language of diplomatic negotiations, with the main focus being on specific language techniques frequently used during negotiations, including ambiguities, analogies and historical rhetoric (MADS, 2004). A Media and Negotiations theme is also presented in the module and its purpose is to enable participants to acquire skills needed to manage issues that arise from media coverage that may affect certain aspects of their diplomatic negotiations participants also learn how to use media as an aid for constructive negotiations (MADS, 2004). The pros and

cons of public and secret negotiations with a special focus on the tactical interplay between the media and negotiations are presented and analysed.

The Diplomatic Negotiations module presents themes on how properly to

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


prepare for negotiations. An Internal Preparations theme of the module introduces participants to the modern negotiation process, which begins with the initiation phase, followed by consultations and coordination with all interested stakeholders in regard to positions for negotiations (MADS, 2004). The consultation and coordination process is presented to participants as a tool designated to elicit their input, amendments a proposed negotiation position, approval of the negotiation brief and selection of the delegates to form part of the negotiation team. In the session, participants are introduced to techniques that are used to prepare for multilateral negotiations, such as conferences and negotiations within existing deliberating organs (MADS, 2004). Techniques that are learned include, deciding on the venue and date, drafting of rules and agenda, material invitation, invitations, appointment of a special rapporteur, deliberation of proposals and circulation among participating countries and preparatory deliberations of negotiating groups. Furthermore, a theme on Rules

of Procedures introduces participants to the rules and procedure for multilateral negotiations that include opening, closing, suspension, adjournment, elections, point of order, proposals, consensus, and the like (MADS, 2004). Participants are exposed to rules that relate to groups, such as the presentation of candidates for organs, the presentation of group positions and the relationship to the individual positions of members.

The Diplomatic Negotiation module includes themes, such as Organs of

Negotiations, Techniques of Negotiations, Opening and Conclusion of

Negotiations and Introduction, Objectives, Types and Framework. In these themes, participants are introduced to various organs of negotiation that include deliberating bodies, plenary meetings, committees and subcommittees, credentials committee, drafting committee, and so on. The roles of the chair and secretariat and their appointments is presented and analysed (MADS, 2004).

Candidates are also exposed to techniques of negotiations that include general considerations and attitude and informal aspects of negotiations. Issues that are

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


presented in the session include joint proposals, coalition building, and exchange of concessions, delaying tactics, mediating conflicts, informal meetings, contact with non-participants and experts, courtesy, and the opening and closing of meetings (MADS, 2004). Participants are introduced to the framework of bilateral negotiation which includes standard bilateral negotiations, joint commissions and the utilization of multilateral forums for the purposes of bilateral negotiations.

The fifth module is on Media and Diplomacy. Two thematic areas are covered in this module namely Methodology for Information Dissemination and

Language of Negotiation. This module is distinct from the previous given module on Diplomatic Negotiation because it deals with the management of information in a diplomatic environment outside diplomatic negotiations (MADS,

2004). Given the role that the media place in influencing global opinion and in directly impacts on the activities of countries in international relations, participants in the module are introduced to the role and importance of the media for the diplomat as an instrument to transmit information and influence national or international opinion. Under the theme Methodology for Information

Dissemination, participants are introduced to the basic methodologies of using the media as a tool to disseminate information that is directed at influencing public opinion or influencing certain policy decisions in international relations

(MADS, 2004). Techniques that are presented and analysed in the session include how to prepare the audience, prepare the message, and choose the type of media that are relevant and how to get feedback. In the Language of

Negotiation theme, participants are introduced to the art of dealing with the media through practical simulated exercises assessing their strengths and weaknesses in dealing with the media. The participants are also introduced to skills of handling the media in the following situations; controlled – preparing press releases and official statements, how to handle press conferences and studio interviews, and uncontrolled – dealing with news interviews and on-thespot questions (MADS, 2004).

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


The sixth module is Internet Diplomacy. There is no doubt that the development of the Internet as a communication tool has had a major impact on all facets of society including the environment of international relations and diplomacy. The module is mainly directed at introducing participants to the interaction between the Internet and diplomacy in the following three thematic areas; the Internet and the changing environment for diplomatic activity, the Internet as a new topic in diplomatic agendas, and the Internet as a new tool for diplomatic activities

(MADS, 2004). The Internet and the Changing National Environment for

Diplomatic Activity session introduces participants to the impact that the wide utilization of the Internet has made on national societies especially in developed countries were it has led to the shift in the distribution of power in diplomacy, political life and legislative process (MADS, 2004). Participants are exposed to strategies that could be used in executing their mandate through effective utilization of the Internet. The Internet and the Changing International

Environment for Diplomatic Activities session mainly looks at how the development of IT has given rise to changes in the relations among states.

Participants are introduced to the tools that will enable them to use the IT in the ever evolving international environment for diplomatic work (MADS, 2004). The

Internet as a New Tool for Diplomatic Agenda session covers new topics that have arisen in the diplomatic agenda because of the development of the Internet.

Furthermore, the impact of the Internet on states in relation to protecting legal and public order are presented and analysed and also the role of international relations in developing international regulations for the use of the Internet.

Other areas covered in the Internet Diplomacy module is Internet and New

Topics on Diplomatic Agendas – Copyright, Cybercrime, E-commerce and

other Financial/Economic Issues theme. In this theme, participants are taught techniques to develop legislation to deal with Internet problems that require legal solutions, such as copyright in areas where international cooperation is required

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


(MADS, 2004). Existing international regulations and potential future solutions that relate to the use of the Internet, such as cybercrime and other related technologies, are presented and analysed. Initiatives, such as ‘Bridging Global

Divide’ and the ‘Global Knowledge Partnership’ are introduced to participants as tools to be used in international relations on issues that relate to the development and use of the Internet (MADS, 2004). Participants are further introduced to the role of multilateral organizations, such as the WTO in the regulating global

Internet transactions.

Other thematic areas that are covered in the Internet Diplomacy module include

Introduction to Information and Knowledge Management, Finding

Information with Search Engines, Finding Information on Diplomatic

Services and Missions, Finding Information on International Organizations

and NGOs, Negotiating via the Internet, E-mail and Mailing List and Security

(MADS, 2004). Participants are offered the tools that will enable them to deal with massive information that is generated through the Internet. Strategies, tactics and tools for the management of ‘information discrepancy’ are presented and analysed. Participants are also introduced to the process of using Internet search tools to find specific information on the Internet. Techniques that are explored include knowing the types of search engines, search strategies and how to formulate requests for maximum returns (MADS, 2004). Participants are introduced to the available technology that necessitates negotiations via the

Internet, especially how to create a good condition for such negotiations. Tools and techniques are presented and analysed to enable participants to maximize their diplomatic engagements through Internet-based negotiations (MADS, 2004).

Other areas covered include the utilization of the e-mail and mailing list as a tool provided by the Internet for effective communication. Additional emphasis in the session is based on the packaging of information, security, and organizing and storing the knowledge and information contained in e-mails (MADS, 2004).

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


The seventh module is on Organization and Management of Diplomatic

Activities. Participants in this module are introduced to the institution of diplomatic/foreign service through a comparative study of a number of countries’ diplomatic services (MADS, 2004). The presentations also include looking at the factors that impact on the form of the different structures in the administration of diplomatic services institution implemented by different countries. The first thematic area covered in this module is the Organization of Diplomatic

Services. A practical exercise is undertaken to introduce participants to the techniques that are used to initiate the establishment of diplomatic service by a country (MADS, 2004). Participants are exposed, through a simulated process, on how justification is provided for the establishment of diplomatic services to a panel which has to make a decision. Participants are expected, by the end of the training, to have gained practical skills that will enable them to establish a new mission. When a mission is approved for establishment, human resources are required (MADS, 2004). A theme on Human Resource Management is presented and in this theme participants are introduced to the process of recruitment, training, on-going training throughout their career, posting policy, career planning, assessment and promotion in the diplomatic service (MADS,


Other themes covered in the module are Time and Time Management and

Drafting of Diplomatic Documents. Since time management is an essential factor for the performance of diplomatic duties, participants are introduced to the following topics; time in negotiations, political time, administrative time, and information technology tools for time management (MADS, 2004). Participants are also exposed to all forms, practices and the history associated with diplomatic documents. Each type of diplomatic document, for example, Note Verbal, will be presented and analysed. Furthermore, participants are taught in this session about the process of drafting different types of agreements (MADS, 2004). In addition, they are introduced to the role and use of modern technology for the

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


collaborative drafting of diplomatic documents.


This chapter has reviewed South Africa’s human resources development policies with special emphasis on the training of its diplomats for FS. It is also clear that the policies and regulations on HRD explored demonstrate the commitment of the

South African government to building an efficient and effective public administration institution to implement its mandate. The three curricula offered by the FSI, the CFSI and University of Malta have clearly demonstrated that the skills required for FS are very broad. Therefore, the challenge is for the decisionmakers to decide on a programme for FS training, based on what they need to achieve in their foreign relations. The restructuring or re-orientation of the FSI which is the first in the Southern African region shows the understanding by government of the challenges it faces in ensuring that it has the capacity to manage the implementation of its foreign policy objectives. The FSI still faces challenges to continue to adapt to the new challenges by ensuring that its programmes take into consideration the new skills capacity requirements. It is pointed out in this chapter that the CFSI when compared to the FSI offers more modules which are specifically tailored for certain categories of diplomats. The

CFSI programme places more emphasis on developing diplomats for a specific country’s foreign policy objectives. Individuals who are identified for certain posts are assigned to the specific training that is directly related to their new assignments on posting. It is, therefore, imperative that even though there is an urgent need to multi-skill diplomats, their actual identified areas of work and

South African foreign policy objectives must form the basis of any of the FSI training programme.

The MADS programme also presents modules that are similar to the FSI modules. However, this may be misleading because the content of the modules

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview


differs as it covers a number of additional themes that are important but not critical if diplomats are not specializing. The FSI modules are more of a generic introduction, whilst the MADS modules have a specific focus and are more detailed in their approach. Both the CFSI and the MADS training programmes provide justification for the continuing process of the DFA to review the role of the

FSI, especially its FS training programme. Once the alignment of the FSI training programme is undertaken in line with the existing international format, the institution will be able to achieve its mandate of producing the required capacity to successfully implement South African foreign policy.

The next chapter presents the findings of the field research to determine, for

South African diplomats, the relevance of the FSI curricular in building the required skills capacity for the implementation of South African foreign policy.

Chapter 4: Pedagogical Approach: A curriculum overview



As indicated in Chapter Two, this chapter presents a summary of the results of the primary data collected through interviews and the distribution of a structured open-ended questionnaire. The respondents were requested to complete the questionnaires which were e-mailed or faxed to them, after they had confirmed their willingness to participate. In other instances, telephonic or face-to-face interviews were used in order to complete the questionnaires. Most of the followups, to clarify some of the emailed or faxed responses, were undertaken through telephonic discussions. A sample of 25 targeted people was able to provide their responses through completion of the questionnaire. The results were then collected and verified with all the respondents over a period of four months, from

August to December 2005.


The questionnaires were primarily used to gather substantive information on the views of diplomats with regard to the relevance of the FSI training programmes and their ability to implement South Africa’s foreign policy in the global context. It was not intended to serve as an opinion poll for determining whether the FSI is necessary or not, nor was it an evaluation of the efficiency of the DFA in its implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy. The selection of interviewees was designed to achieve a random or representative sample. The ethnography research methodology used provides an exploratory look at the views of the targeted group of South African diplomats who are actively involved in the implementation of their country’s foreign policy diplomacy.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


Part One: Personal Information

1. Number of Years of Service in the DFA

The majority of respondents indicated that they had been working for the DFA for more than seven years.

2. Position currently occupied by respondents

Forty-four percent (44%) of the respondents reported that they are at the level of

Assistant Director, at mission First Secretary. Thirty-two percent (32%) indicated that they are at the level of Deputy Director, at mission Counsellor. Twenty-four percent (24%) indicated that they are at the level of Senior Administration Officer or lower, at mission Second Secretary, Third Secretary or Attaché.

The majority of respondents indicated that their work included political, economic, trade, tourism and investment promotion aspects.


Number of postings

All the respondents indicated that they had been posted more than once. Sixty percent (60%) of the respondents indicated that they had been posted more than once and were now in their second posting, or back at head office. Forty percent

(40%) of the respondents indicated that they had already completed their second posting, and are in their third posting or back at head office and providing support to the work of various missions abroad.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


It became clear when talking to respondents on this question that the majority of them joined the DFA after the first democratic elections in 1994. This provides a clear indication that most of them understood the foreign policy positions of government.

4. Last posting date

The majority of respondents (84%) were still at posting and only sixteen percent

(16%) were back at the DFA head office and providing support and coordinating mission work from the desk (offices responsible to coordinate and facilitate mission-head office communication and execution of activities).

5. Highest educational qualifications

All respondents indicated that they at least have one junior university degree.

Twenty- eight percent (28%) indicated that they have more than one university degree.

Part Two: Organizational Information

6. The DFA Branch of the respondent

Thirty-two percent (32%) of the respondents interviewed were from the Asia and

Middle East Branch, sixteen percent (16%) were from the Europe Branch, twelve percent (12%) were from the Americas and Caribbean Branch, twenty four percent (24%) were from the Africa Branch, twelve percent (12%) were from the

Multilateral Branch and four percent (4%) was from the Africa Multilateral Branch.

The participation of the researcher at the WTO meeting in Hong Kong in

December 2005 provided an opportunity to interview targeted respondents who

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


are part of the study and who are working as South African representatives based at multilateral organisations.

7. Understanding of Branch objective in relation to South Africa foreign policy objectives

Seventy-two percent (72%) of the respondents, which is a majority, knew that their Branch’s objectives were the same as those underpinning South African foreign policy objectives and were stipulated in the DFA Strategic Plan. Twenty percent (20%) of the respondents pronounced mission business plan objectives as Branch’s objectives in relation to South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. Only eight percent (8%) respondents did not know what exactly constituted both the

Branch objectives and the principles that underpin the DFA foreign policy objectives.

Respondents in the Administration Support Sections and those at lower levels, for example, third secretary or attachés seemed not to care about understanding what informs the core business of the mission. They saw their responsibility at the mission as the provision of administrative support, asset management, financial management and local human resource management rather the actual implementation of country’s foreign policy objectives.

Sample Comments:

‘The Branch is responsible for monitoring the political, economic and social

relations between South Africa and the countries that fall under the rubric of the Asian Branch’.

‘In addition, the Branch also advises our political leadership on the best

policy approach to the US and how we can encourage the US to support our national foreign policy priorities’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


‘To establish, enhance and maintain greater political ties/relations with the

People’s Republic of China in a way that serves our national selfish interests’.

‘Pursue international relations of South Africa with the EU and Americas

on matters that relate to national interests, political relations, development partnership, trade relations and economic dialogue between the North and

South. Our overall approach is developmental’.

‘The attainment of peace and economic development in Africa remains the

pillar that holds South African foreign policy and our Branch is mandated to ensure that this objective is realized in support of the overall foreign policy objectives’.

‘Multilateral organisations have become the centre of global deliberations

in an attempt to influence scope and nature of the new global order.

Developing countries still find themselves one way or another marginalized through this process and our country remains in the frontline and is advocating for the reform of these organisation to give developing countries a bigger say and that is in short what our Branch objectives are all about’.

8. Number of missions in the Branch

The majority of the Branches that the respondents were drawn from have more than 15 missions and only the Branches responsible for Multilateral work have less than that. Given the limited number of multilateral missions, South Africa has continued to increase the number of bilateral missions across the world in order to be in a better position to influence international matters for the realization of the country’s foreign policy interests.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


9. Progress in the implementation of foreign policy objectives by the branch

The majority of the respondents were positive about the impact their various branches have made in the implementation of South African foreign policy given the status that South Africa is enjoying in various countries and intergovernmental organizations since the first democratic elections in 1994.

There was also optimism that, given the current state of affairs, the country will still achieve more as it continues to make inroads in international affairs, given the support it enjoys from important players in international affairs. A lack of human resources was singled out by the majority of the respondents as an element that has become a major constraint on making more progress in the implementation of South African foreign policy objectives.

Sample Comments:

‘To the extent, the Branch has made strides and is building on the current

achievements to do much more in the future’.

‘Partly yes we are doing pretty well, our only major constraint now is

relevant human resources to broaden the current achievements because the conditions are still good for us. Many of the countries that falls under our Branch are very supportive of our efforts because of our hard work ’.

‘In many ways. In the DFA, the approach embraced in designing Mission

Business Plans and KPA’s find their genesis in Branch Business Plans,

Branch Business Plans and KPA’s are part of the DFA’s strategic plan to implement South Africa foreign policy’.

‘Although the Branch has wherever possible endeavoured to progress in

the implementation of South Africa foreign policy, it still suffers from a severe lack of capacity and human resources’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


‘Matters of foreign policy are very peculiar and not easy to measure. The

Branch successfully ensured that EU supported our stand at the WSSD,

AU, NEPAD initiatives, and at the G8 meeting for financial support. This and other many issues that cannot be listed here show that the mission and Branch are successful in executing their mandate’.

10. Mission’s activities

The majority (72%) of respondents outlined the basic activities that all missions undertake to promote South Africa’s national interests, such as hosting promotions for trade, peace making, investment and tourism. The majority of the respondents singled out South Africa’s effort as a major peace-maker as unprecedented not only in Africa but on other continents and these efforts have earned the country’s diplomats a lot of envy and respect among their peers.

Sample Comments:

‘The mission is primarily a support mechanism for our foreign policy. The

missions also assume an advisory role when necessary and also execute instruction from head office in the country of assignment’.

‘Articulation of South African policies and priorities. Advancement of South

Africa’s interest. Cultivation of sound relations is one of the many functions that are undertaken by missions’.

‘The mission further assists and facilitates matters on behalf of visiting

South African delegations to our jurisdiction ensuring that the necessary follow-up work is done to ensure the maximum benefit is derived from the mission’s establishment and delegations’ visit respectively’.

‘Our mission is sometime expected to undertake mediation activities in

conflict resolution were the warring parties see us as an independent interlocutor and we have always prevailed in such situations given our high

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


moral ground and the ability of our leaders to build peace bridges where they never existed’.

‘Furthermore the mission has organized and hosted a number of large

events to highlight the opportunities and possibilities which South Africa had to offer’.

‘The mission is currently promoting investments, trade and economic

development, building bilateral relations on the political and social front, and peace and security in Africa. Peace and security and economic development had eluded the rest of Africa in the past century and we are on the mission to correct that through diplomacy and we dare not fail the people of Africa because that will also result with our own failure’.

‘Overseeing multilateral engagements with the EU on issues that relate to

South Africa’s interests. Lobbying and shaping policy trends towards Africa through forums of Africa, SACU and SADC Ambassadors’.

11. Mission capacity to implement South Africa foreign policy

The majority (84%) of respondents felt strongly that their missions do not have the capacity to fully implement their various business plans and thus contributing to the realization of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. Most of them cited the lack of relevant skills required for diplomatic activities. Few cited financial constraints as a prohibiting factor for the DFA to fill all vacant posts at various critical missions. Another issue raised by most respondents was the lack of leadership skills by the head of mission (Ambassadors) to lead and manage the execution of the mission’s mandate under limited capacity. Most respondents indicated that it is time now that the appointment of Ambassadors also takes into consideration the requirements of the responsibilities that they are expected to undertake in promoting the national interests.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


Sample Comments:

‘More often we are forced to downscale our activities. Human resources

seem inadequate and further compounded by the level of understanding of issues involved in executing our mandate’.

‘Definitely, No. The mission currently only has one line function official to

cover all issues that related to diplomatic work that you can think about’.

‘Due to lack of a number of officials with relevant skills for posting, half-

cooked officials are sent to missions, this has a negative impact on the level of operation of our mission’.

‘Yes, to a certain extent, not really enough. Need more people with expert

knowledge in areas like health, education, arts and culture, media, etcetera.’

‘The times when Ambassadors were appointed to represent South Africa

at cocktails and golf courses are over. Today an Ambassador is expected to act like a Chief Executive Officer of the mission who executes the mission strategy with very very limited capacity to achieve great things for their South Africa and outpace their sluggish counterparts’.

‘Maintaining a mission is a very expensive exercise for South Africa so

every body counts from Ambassadors to attachés, everyone has to contribute to the productive work of the mission’.

12. Rating of Mission performance between 1 and 5

Almost all (92%) the respondents gave their mission a three out of five when it came to performance. The majority of respondents indicated that given the excellent profile South Africa has in many host countries, their various missions have also been accorded respect by both the host government and missions of various countries and that enhanced their performance. The respondents also

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


indicated that this success has been made possible by the positive work of the former President Nelson Mandela and now President Thabo Mbeki on international relations matters. Given this, the majority of the respondents felt that in order to sustain the status accorded to the country in international affairs,

South Africa must build the necessary capacity to continue playing a leadership and constructive role in bilateral and multilateral relations.

Sample Comments:

‘I will go for a three. Yet it would have been much better to adequately

fund the mission for more profiling at other levels’.

‘Without doubt we are a great country outside here because of the stature

accorded to our political leadership. It makes one feel very good, and the challenge is to maintain this position as long as we can through our positive contribution to world prosperity, peace and security. I give our self a three’.

‘However, in order to achieve the most from the mission to the greatest

benefit of South Africa, the number of resources must be drastically increased. The rating for the mission would be 3’.

‘We have achieved well beyond our capabilities. I go for 4’.

‘A three will be a good reflection because I am convinced that we still have

a lot of potential to do better than this ’.

13. If Mission performance is 3 or below between 1 and 5, what remedies are recommended to ensure that the Mission’s improves?

The majority (76%) of the respondents felt that in order for their missions to improve performance there is a need for vacant positions to be filled. Other institutional resources, such as material and financial resources, were also indicated as crucial to the ability of missions to operate efficiently. There was also

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


a feeling by a minority (24%) of respondents that a mission’s organisational structure and capacity allocation needs to be flexible enough to ensure proper acquisition of the relevant capacities. Relevant FSI training and enough orientation once posted to a mission was also cited by the majority (84%) as impacting negatively on the performance of missions.

Sample Comments:

‘To maintain this level of competency and rate of delivery, we need more

resources – human, material, financial and general support’.

‘The DFA would need to fill vacant posts to ensure that mission operate to

the maximum’.

‘The reason for 3 is that so much additional work promotion could be done

to market/present South Africa to the world’s largest market’.

‘Lack of people and cultural management skills, old order mission

structures seriously impacts on the performance of missions’.

Owing to the lack of the relevant capacities for posting to various missions,

officials are just rushed through training and half cooked they are then posted without any proper orientation through the desk. When they arrive at missions capacity constraints does not allow proper orientation and this result with years of underperformance’.

‘Our mission need a head of mission or deputy head of mission who really

understands challenges encountered in securing trade and investment in the host country. Someone who will be more strategic to look at the market and identify opportunities and provide leadership for the execution of a strategy (mission business plan) and we will definitely do better than this.’

‘Mission structures which are not flexible enough to accommodate some of

the capacity challenges that missions experience when executing their mandates, there is a need to move away from generic to robust structures that support the need of missions in the execution of their mandate’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


14. The DFA human resources policies’ impact to the realization of its mandate

The majority (76% of respondents indicated that the DFA has the appropriate policies relating to human resource management that will in the long-term build the relevant capacity to implement South Africa’s foreign policy. Most respondents also indicated that the DFA policies were correct to build capacity and also to ensure that South African representatives abroad reflect the demographics of its population. A minority (40%) of respondents felt that despite the fact that the DFA have good HR policies, the main challenge was the capacity to implement these policies to achieve the desired objective.

Sample Comments:

‘The thinking behind the policies, i.e. representativity, gender sensitivity,

and so on, are sure to impact on the future pool of diplomats. It is a new orientation for a new breed of people’.

In the light of Globalisation process, the DFA is increasingly forced to seek

out the best skills and expertise without compromising its own longer-term strategy of equity’.

‘Although I agree that a very careful and specific/detailed recruitment

policy is required, in order to ensure that the correct person is chosen for the job, the process in my view is far too slow’.

‘They are somewhat flawed in the sense that the new recruits have been

recruited to top positions, for example, Assistant Directors/Deputy

Directors, without relevant experience and could not perform in the new task’.

‘Integration was a problem and current HR policies have failed to address

the challenge. The old order is still in charge and this frustrates people with experience and qualifications. Nonetheless the DFA can be

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


applauded for making some efforts to address some of the problem.

Leadership and capacity is lacking in the implementation of some of the current HR policies’.

‘There is an urgent need to match appointments with job requirements and

that is how the application of these HR policies is failing. Currently individuals who complete the training are just sent to countries with cultures that their personality or believes/religion are different from their own. This then hampers the ability of these individuals to effectively perform their function, they just become lame ducks for their four years of posting because of their inability to break the cultural barriers.’

Part Three: Foreign Service Training

15. Attendance of the FSI training programme

All the respondents indicated that they have attended the FSI training programme. What was evident was that the periods of attendance and the length of the training programme differed significantly. Some (28%) indicated that their training programme took three months, some (40%) six months, some (28%) nine months and (4%) ten months.

The difference in the length of training indicates that the FSI was offering training when there was a massive demand for officials to be posted as new missions were opened and at the same time the FSI was also undergoing re-orientation of the structure and organization of training and curriculum.

16. Year of attendance of the FSI training

The respondents indicated that they attended the FSI training programme in the following years and periods:

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


• 1995 for 3 months

• 1996 for 6 months

• 2000 for 9 months

• 2002 for 10 months

17. Difficulty of the training programme

All respondents indicated that the training was not difficult and felt strongly that it was very simple. The respondents expressed the view that since the training was work-related and despite the fact that they had no diplomatic experience, their academic background prepared them more for the diplomatic work than the FSI training. The conclusion was that the training was simple may be informed by the practical nature of the training and the environment.

Sample Comments:

‘80% of the modules was like a refresher course for most of us because

some of the subjects presented we dealt with at tertiary level in detail’.

‘Not really. Albeit quite challenging’.

‘No, the training programme proved boring and of little use as I had been

on the desk for three years prior to training and had at that time already dealt with all aspect of issues that cadet were exposed to at training’.

‘Simple but challenging because I had a lot of theoretical knowledge and

little practical experience in the application of that theory so the training assisted in bridging this gap’.

‘Very necessary because despite my academic background in political

science and international relations, diplomatic techniques were new to me and were really valuable in my new posting’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


18. Role of educational background at training

All the respondents indicated that their educational background played a greater role in their evaluation of the training. The majority (84%) of the respondents felt that their educational background, rather than the training programme, gave them a better understanding of issues at stake in international relations and the capacity countries develop to effectively operate in the management of both bilateral and multilateral relations. The majority (64%) of respondents have done political science and international relations courses during their undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Sample Comments:

• ‘Yes it did and apart from that one’s interest in international relations came


‘Yes (perhaps). It is my feeling that besides education it is important to

consider a persons mind set and his/her ability to adapt to the conditions around them (e.g. think on their feet)’.

‘My academic studies were in political science and international relations

so the workings of the global order are something that I am always following with interest. The class discussions at the FSI more or less enriched my experiences but there was nothing new.

‘The good thing about the training its aspect of orientation. It is an

excellent orientation for someone who is new in government and the government foreign relations activities to supplement their academic background’.

‘The training is excellent because it opens one’s eyes about the reality and

the small things that matters in diplomatic activities. My academic studies provided me with the basis that forms international relations and the

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


training provided me with major issues that inform South African foreign policy and its implementation.

19. Relevance of the training to the job

All respondents indicated that the training was relevant in that it introduced them to the world of diplomacy and the art of diplomacy. The majority felt that this created more interest, for them, in the profession and they started to read more on matters related to diplomacy to enrich their knowledge and perfect their diplomatic skills in areas where training was not provided. A minority of respondents felt that the training did not provide them with the relevant skills they require to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. There is an indication by the minority of the respondents that there was not enough orientation to apply what was learned and to see what works or does not work in a given environment. The current generic approach to training is failing to create relevant specialized capacities that are essential to make progress at missions without support from other departments and various sectors.

Sample Comments:

‘Furthermore, reading interest in current events assisted in perfecting the

art diplomacy’.

‘The basics still remain relevant, although the current challenges have

meant that I had to improve my educational background. For this I subsequently did three non-degree purpose courses of International

Politics I, II and III’.

‘No. THE DFA would have to select suitable candidates against the

background of required skills and the necessary educational qualifications’.

‘The training was to a certain (small) degree relevant to my current

responsibilities, although as previously mentioned most of my experience

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


was practical whilst working on the desk, prior to training’.

‘Only a small percentage of it is relevant in my current job’.

‘It adequately prepared me for the real politick world of diplomacy because

the approach is to treat the world as an entity whilst in reality the world is very complex for diplomatic activities. The diplomatic approach that resolves issues in the western countries will not be applicable in Asian countries’.

‘Our work is mainly to coordinate and facilitate the realization of our

national interests in global environment and the skills training to address this capacity do not exist. Country desk are failing to work with other national and provincial departments let alone local government and all government effort coordinate its foreign interactions in many areas is just chaotic’.

20. Relevant skills acquired to champion course for Africa’s economic development

The majority (76%) of respondents disagreed that the training prepared them for advocating Africa’s economic development. The respondents perceived the training as mainly being focused on the art of diplomacy in promoting South

Africa’s national interests in both bilateral and multilateral relations. They felt that the training did not prepare them to understand the political dynamics of each

African country in relation to South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. All the respondents indicated that NEPAD was only initiated, developed and adopted after their training. In summary, respondents pointed out that emphasis on promoting a better and prosperous Africa in both bilateral and multilateral relations have been made clear by government since the first democratic

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


elections but the training has not been good enough to equip trainees with the relevant skills to mobilize African countries especially at bilateral levels to push for support of the African agenda. The respondents expressed a general feeling that the FSI training did not provide skills that they can use to build bridges with various African countries and their missions abroad given the current undeclared resentment that threatens the realization of South African policy objectives

Sample Comments:

‘No intensive training was per se administered in this regard.

Understanding of NEPAD was privately acquired’.

‘Dealing with African embassies on developing common positions to

engage the host country to get buy-in on NEPAD is just impossible because most of them see NEPAD as a programme that will disadvantage them in accessing financial and material support from donor countries directly’.

‘No, my training was 10 years back and during those days, South Africa

was new in the field of international diplomacy and regional development so the emphasise was to equip us with basic diplomatic skills that will enable us to establish new missions and put the old ones into full operation given the impact of the country’s isolation diplomatically for decades’.

‘There is this feeling of bad blood between the various African countries

when they look at the work that our country is doing in supporting the course of the Continent, we should have been prepared for this hostile receptions’.

‘The facilitation of some modules by academics was not properly thought

through. Many of these academics rather than training for diplomatic work were just there to question some of the government foreign relation policies that we were supposed to be trained to go and implement’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


The training need to also focus on providing skills that will enable our

diplomats to analyse what our competitors are doing in relation to Africa’s economic development and be able to advise and influence their decisions to support our positions’.

‘No. However, there is much room for improvement given that Africa’s

development is at the centre of our foreign policy’.

21. Relevance of training to promotion of South-South and North-


All the respondents indicated that South Africa is a clear champion for South-

South co-operation and North-South dialogue. The majority of respondents indicated that insightful knowledge on this was provided in the training programme but the respondents were not exposed to strategic skills that are essential in dealing with partners in the South or the North in their different environments. Failures to acknowledge and equip trainees with the relevant skills to operate in different cultures in different regions were seen as shortcomings.

Sample Comments:

‘To some degree, although limited. Some of the facilitation on these issues

was compromised by the neo-liberal thinking of academics which was just opposed and critical to government policies. Cadets were made to be critical of government policies rather than the other way round’.

‘Yes, the course gave us some exposure in these areas but also fell short

of providing us with the relevant tools to contribute to pushing this agenda in our area of assignment’.

‘Yes, the training covered themes on South-South and North-South

relations in line with our foreign policy priorities’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


‘To a certain degree yes, there were a few international lecturers that were

invited that gave their perspectives on either South-South or North-South

Cooperation. However, once again, the information was general’.

‘It is my feeling that the information provided was enough to engage in a

generic discussion, and that for those dealing directly with such issues great clarification would be provided/taught whilst on desk’.


Seventy-two percent (72%) of the respondents felt that the FSI curricula did not prepare them adequately to engage in economic development matters with confidence. Respondents further indicated that trainees were never really prepared to enter a competitive environment and market South Africa. Issues that were regarded as important in the course were more centred on the political aspect of the job such as peace and security. Twenty percent (20%) of the respondents felt that the structure or the composition of the models seems to be taking it for granted that trainees have basic background knowledge that has equipped them with the relevant skills to market South Africa as an investment destination. Eight percent (8%) of the respondents felt that the training was relevant because it served as an introduction to the world of diplomacy.

Sample Comments:

‘For those officials that experienced deskwork for a period prior to

commencement of training, the issues were of little use as they were discussed in detail or debated to the class as though nothing was known/understood in relation to the subjects’.

‘Yes, the emphasis those days was on the Reconstruction and

Development of South Africa, especially the development of rural areas’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


‘To a greater extent it did but the rest is ongoing-on-the-job learning

because the world is evolving so fast and global dynamics are changing everyday. This demands a diplomat of today to be on their toes and explore the emerging dynamics and advice the country now and then on how to respond to these dynamics’.

‘The training failed to develop us to be able to present a compelling case

and outmanoeuvre our competitors in the global environment for the attention of few potential investors or traders’.

23. Relevance of training to trade and investment promotion

The majority (80%) of respondents felt that the trade promotion module was inadequate in equipping them with the relevant skills required to do the job correctly. Most respondents indicated that operating at the missions has really exposed them to the difficulties of implementing mission objectives that are related to trade and investment due to lack of skills to develop and implement relevant strategies. In trying to deal with the shortcomings, most respondents indicated that their missions were forced to copy what other missions of other countries do in promoting the economies of their countries, with little success due to lack of human and financial resources. Most respondents also called for a need for specialized skills at missions rather that the outdated approach of diplomats doing both political and economic work at the same time. Sixty percent

(60%) of the respondents also indicated that investment and trade intelligence information is critical to the development of South Africa investment and trade promotion strategies and they find themselves lacking skills to gather such information. The respondents recommended an urgent need for the training programme to include acquisition specialization skills for priority sectors as another stream of the FSI programme, rather than concentrating solely on generic diplomatic training.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


Sample Comments:

‘The trade promotion module at the FSI is inadequate. More field and

practical training on trade promotion with possibilities of internship at either

DTI or trade promotion consultancy firms need to be explored’.

‘To be honest we are not skilled to be critical in analyzing trade and

investment trends except what we read from print or electronic media.

Probing, observation, critical analysis of information and advice to headquarters is non-existent, we just reproduce articles and send. We need expertise in critical areas of our work’.

‘International relations is a generic term that includes under its ambit trade,

law, economics, sociology, politics, and so on. In this regard, our international relations modules presented a broad framework of the areas of work our trade covers’.

‘No. Although it is my belief that no training can fully prepare you as an

individual for this ... The training may provide insight, but environments/countries vary, thus your skills and method of approach would vary’.

‘Yes, as I said, it was all about trade and investments in general and fell

short in providing us with the necessary skills that will put us above our peers. To be honest some countries that are more or less at the same level like us are doing even better than us because they have officials who specialize in these areas that are priority of their missions’.

‘Remember our country pursue different objectives in different countries

and it is unfortunate that the current system of posting officials to missions and also the FSI training fails to recognise this fact. This one-size fits all approach need to be reviewed in order to ensure that officials are posted not as generalist but specialists in countries where such skills are needed for the realization of our national interests’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


24. Relevance of training in facilitating the work of other departments in foreign relations

Eighty percent (80%) of the respondents indicated that the training was general enough to give them an understanding of how government works but fell short on clarifying how departments interface in their work. The majority of the respondents further felt strongly that this failure to outline coordination even through the existing government clusters have also negatively affected their ability to deliver on those objectives where expertise from other departments rather than the DFA are needed. Respondents also felt that with proper strategic skills through training, they could be in a position to engage other departments on issues of national interest for buy-in and contribution with their relevant expertise for the successful execution of mission’s mandate.

Sample Comments:

‘Our training programme just a first phase in a number of processes and

interventions that seeks to make our journey through this trade an inspiring experience... Suffice to say, as an official of government, one has to know the relationships between departments’.

‘The diplomatic training programme definitely requires more information

and presentations by the various departments so as to enable cadets to gain better understanding of their specific objectives but unfortunately this opportunity is lost during training’.

‘Yes, the training did prepare me for the facilitation of the international

work of government departments but there was no particular module on the explanation of cluster approach in government. Issues around working with sister Departments were merely introduced for the purposes of also providing some administrative support function to them’.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


‘Currently our provincial and local governments travel all over the world

pursuing what they call international cooperation programmes in a manner that is not aligned to the national foreign policy approaches and we find ourselves at odds with these layers of government when we seek clarity on their engagements. This calls for a need for equipping through the FSI training the officials responsible for coordinating and facilitating provincial and local government international relations with relevant diplomatic skills’.

‘Complex issues are now dealt with in international relations and in most

cases South African positions is needed, forwarding enquiries to related desks is just a waste of time because most of the desk officers in Pretoria lacks basic skills to gather relevant responses timeously from other government departments and with proper training in this area this constrain could be overcome’.

25. Relevance of training in negotiations and drafting of agreements

Seventy-two percent (72%) of the respondents felt that the role-playing art of negotiation and bargaining was too narrow to equip cadets with good negotiation and writing skills. Many of the respondents felt that the two elements are very critical in diplomacy but unfortunately very limited training time was spent on them. Forty-eight percent (48%) respondents were of the view that training in negotiations must also attempt to break the world into different blocks based on the culture that goes with negotiations. The same respondents also argue that the strategy for lobbying for support for a certain South African position through negotiations with small or big and powerful countries need to be acknowledged in the content of the negotiation modules.

The majority of the respondents also felt that even if they were training in the art of writing diplomatic documents, it was just basic introduction because most of them are not in a position now to draft documents such as agreements

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


independently. All respondents felt that outcome of negotiations result in agreements that impact on national laws and policies so it is very important that in the drafting process they are fully skilled to suggest the phrasing of sentences that accommodate national interests.

Sample Comments:

‘Engaging in negotiations in India, Nigeria, US, China or Japan cannot be

undertaken using the same approach. The module on negotiations fails to point out that in different environment, different negotiation skills must be used’.

‘Negotiations in multilateral setting and drafting of outcome documents is a

very complex process that the training fails to acknowledge. There is an urgent need for more practical exposure by experienced practitioners on this area during training’.

‘No. Although practical exercises of this nature were used, once again it

does not prepare you for the actual matter when it takes place. This in my opinion can only be learnt through practical application and knowledge gained on the desk and through watching and learning from your supervisors’.

‘Because we follow political, economic, trade, and so on. issues, we come

across and discuss negotiations, be it in the WTO, IMF, Burundi peace talks, and so on. In short, the programme provided valuable insight but engaging in real negotiation is something that need time to learn through observation and practice’.

‘Yes, we were lectured on these issues especially South Africa’s relations

with other countries and different economic blocks and the process of negotiations are undertaken through multilateral and bilateral organisations’.

‘During negotiations you are sometime faced with a hostile environment

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


given misunderstandings that happens because of language and cultural differences and this evaluations are a reality that need to be accommodated and trainees need to be exposed to the relevant skills to overcome this’.

26. Relevance of training programme to implementation of foreign policy

Eighty-four percent (84%) of the respondents felt that the training was successful in introducing participants to the world of diplomacy but was not really focused on successful implementation of South Africa foreign policy. Many of the respondents still felt that in modifying the training, emphasis needs to be placed on practical factors or activities that need to be undertaken when implementing

South African foreign policy. Thirty-two percent (32%) of the respondents felt that the training was more an introduction of diplomatic activities to participants and it was therefore imperative that participants undertake further studies independently to improve their practical skills in the art of diplomacy.

Sample Comments:

‘The training created a jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-nothing,

sometime one finds themselves rendered paper pushers because of the failure to fully comprehend and engage in depth on issues of national interests ’.

‘To some degree, although much could be done to improve it in order to

energise most of our diplomats who once posted seems to be disorientated and sluggish in doing what is expected of them and realise what their hard work could do in resolving some of the economic challenges that our country is going through rather be obsessed with personal material benefits that the diplomatic profession offers ’.

‘It got me halfway through but the sense of motivation and focus on the job

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


at hand is just lacking, we need to all love and be passionate about our country and be seen to do whatever is needed to contribute to its development’.

‘The training programme is not an event, but the beginning of a long

process of learning through experiencing and experimenting… The training provides practitioners of diplomacy and international relations with

basic tools of trade and the rest you imbibe as you move’.

‘No… . The training does not even tackle the matter of culture shock’.

27. Comment on training programme in regard to the reality in

working environment

All respondents indicated that diplomatic work is challenging because the incumbents have to operate in a strange environment with very limited support from headquarters and the training needs to highlight that and equip incumbents with the relevant management skills. The respondents further felt that the different working cultures and languages that incumbents have to adapt to in a very short time, and management of the locally recruited staff with a different working culture impact severely on the efficient functioning of the mission. Fiftytwo percent (52%) of the respondents also felt that not knowing the working language in a country is a setback in their work because they cannot independently monitor political or economic developments, or seek more information on matters of interest independent of their local translators and interpreters.

Sample Comments:

‘This is a very closed community and you really have to bend all the

existing rules at home to make any progress’.

‘Not knowing the local language impacts negatively on about 50% of our

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


work here, from correspondence to meetings, you have to rely on someone to put your point across and in the process you lose half’.

‘The part that I feel is somehow undermined is the one on language

acquisition. This area is left to the cadet to elect to do or otherwise’.

‘Once again, it is my opinion that it is dependant on a person’s ability to

adapt and learn under pressure…rather than attending a course where everything is provided in a theoretical context rather than in practical form’.

‘I will say the FSI training programme needs to be overhauled to ensure

that it offers training within the policy framework of the government of the day because this element is just missing. More emphasis must be put on essential elements that will ensure successful implementation of South

African foreign policy’.

‘Experts who better understand the transformational agenda of our

government together with experienced diplomats should play a more active role in our FSI’.

‘It was relevant at the time and don’t know now. It taught me a lot of things.

I learned to deliver a speech without doubting myself, I learned to face TV interviews, deliver impromptu speeches, learned to write reports/speeches, and so on. In short it gave me confidence’.

28. Proposals for inclusion in the training programme

All candidates felt that the critical aspects of their work, rather than political, must include also trade and investment promotion, and that it was important that these modules are given the attention they deserve. Another important element that the minority of respondents highlighted was the need for FSI training programme to include a module on African political and economic situation. Such a module the respondents felt that it must focus on the economic and political dynamics in at least a number of important countries that impact on the political economy of all the regions of Africa. Thirty-two percent (32%) of the respondents felt that

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


interface between and amongst departments in the implementation of the foreign policy need to be accommodated in a separate module because it is critical to the successful implementation of South African foreign policy. Such a module must include the aspects of facilitation and coordination of the work of other departments in foreign relations by diplomats.

Sample Comments:

‘Our foreign policy is mainly centred on the development of Africa, so the

training has to be biased in preparing us to build bridges of economic development and peace and security for Africa in Africa and for Africa in the rest of the world’.

‘Yes. I think in light of the current challenges South Africa faces as an

emerging country, our diplomats would have to be trained in issues such as negotiations, lobbying and research skills’.

‘More practical training, sharing of experience by seasoned and practicing

Ambassadors and diplomats’.

‘Yes. Although most senior diplomats rise within the ranks of the service to

occupy positions of senior management in Missions, there is nothing that prepares them for this eventuality. As such, we need management training sessions’.

‘The other aspect relates to finance and project management. Cadets

have to be orientated into these important sciences, because their jobs will inevitably involve knowledge of both worlds’.

‘More specialized training. The DFA officials, unlike other countries do not

specialize in a particular region or country but may be posted to Egypt for four years, then work on the Eastern Europe desk for two years and then be posted to Japan’.

‘It is my belief that in order to maximize the limited human resources that

the Department has, officials should specialize. By doing so an official

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


could learn the language, the culture, the way a country does business, their strengths and weaknesses … whilst building a strong and long standing relationship with the officials and department of country/region they specialize in’.

‘Therefore, officials should be identified to specialize in a region/ country,

thereby making the best use of their talents and knowledge’.

‘More than anything else, the training should constantly be in line with the

ever changing strategic objectives of government dictated of course by the fluidity of the global system’.


The methodology used allowed the researcher to create a dialogical relationship with the respondents through communicative symmetry, open-mindedness and open-heartedness, responsivity, mutual trust and respect in order to get honest response rather than as a separate entity (McCotter, 2001 and Smaling, 2002:3).

Views expressed by the respondents were summarised and sample of their comments are also presented verbatim. It is clear from the responses that there was enthusiasm by participants to take part in the research. The brief extracts taken from the responses are used to provide what the respondents actually said, in their own words. This is one of the advantages provided by the chosen research methodology.

The responses received from the interviews give an indication that most of the respondents understand the importance of skills in their ability to function effectively in their various areas of responsibility to realise the objective of South

African foreign policy. What emerges in the findings and which is discussed in

Chapter Six is the overall consensus that all missions are performing above average but still could be achieved through proper resourcing of missions with officials possessing the relevant diplomatic skills. The issue of coordination

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings


between various departments, government agencies and also the efficiency of various country focused desks at the DFA results with a number of constraints to the efficiency of missions. Proper FSI training programme is identified as a necessary intervention for officials who are responsible for coordinating and facilitating international relations. The majority of the respondents have also expressed an urgent need for the development of a specialization stream in the

FSI training programme to provide critical training in those sectors which are the main priority areas of South African foreign policy. Chapter Six provides a summary of the study draws conclusions and offers recommendations.

Chapter 5: Analysis of Findings




The research question addressed in this research is: ‘To what extent is the

Foreign Service Institute (the FSI) training programme relevant to the challenges

facing a South African diplomat in the global context’? It is against this background that this study explores the organization of the institution or organ of government responsible for the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy, which is the DFA. Through the transformation and refocusing of the FSI after the

1994 democratic elections, a large number of resources have been channelled into the FSI to develop and present programmes that will equip South African diplomats to fully implement South Africa’s foreign policy and meet its international obligations. Despite all the efforts to build diplomatic capacity, the study was able to establish that many of the modules offered by the FSI have not been able to build the appropriate capacity that is required for diplomats to be able to successfully execute their mandate. This study suggests that efforts to address these shortcomings need to be pursued to develop an institution of FS training that is able to multi-skill South Africa’s diplomats. This institution further needs an appropriate structure that will enable it to develop diplomatic training programmes that are uniquely South African.

Work is ongoing in the DFA to review the FSI programme and its management structure in relation to the fulfilment of its mandate. This review effort confirms the finding of the study and points to the realization in the DFA that current diplomats are not sufficiently multi-skilled, especially with regard to the relevant public administration skills, to operate efficiently in the complex global environment. The prioritisation of the need for relevant training for diplomats and the high level intervention through the appointment of a committee by the DFA to guide the turning around of the FSI needs to be commended and encouraged. Such

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


measures will definitely result in the desired training programme including various management and leadership skills that South Africa’s diplomats need for the successful execution of their mandate.

For many years, a generation of African leaders with their unique diplomatic skills such as Henry S. Williams, Nkwame Nkhruma, Jomo Kenyatta, Julias Nyerere,

Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela have left a mark in international affairs due to their own unique diplomatic approaches to resolving international conflicts.

These African leaders have also managed, through their various diplomatic efforts, to confront systems that were meant to create inequalities in the world according to race, and restore the pride of the oppressed through diplomatic engagements that were uniquely African. The adoption of some of their approaches as part of a new curriculum at the FSI will further enhance the multiskilling process of building a unique South African diplomatic capacity to implement its foreign policy successfully.


Chapter One presents, in detail, a discussion of the research problem and setting. The chapter also includes the research question and research sub- problems. Also included in the chapter are the arguments that support the need for a study of this nature and the benefits that can be derived from the outcomes of the study. The organization of the study is included as part of this chapter. To set the context under which the study is undertaken, the research question, scope and delimitations are included in this chapter. The last element dealt with in Chapter One is the definition of concepts to be used in the research report.

Chapter Two focuses in detail on the research methodology used in this research study, and why the ethnography methodology was chosen as the appropriate methodology for research of this nature. All the activities that were undertaken in

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


identification of the sample group, formulation of the questionnaire, conducting of interviews and analysis of data are explained in detail in this chapter. Size of the sample and how the sample was chosen form part of this chapter. Other aspects addressed in this chapter are the methodology used in gathering data, the documentation, and the approach used in the analysis of such data.

Chapter Three presents a detailed literature review on the phenomenon under study. The role of government in national and international affairs is elaborated on in detail. The role of public administration in the implementation of government policy, nationally and internationally, receives attention. Basic public administration theories and practices that enable successful formulation and implementation of government programmes are explained in detail. This chapter includes relevant literature on the evolution of the process of diplomacy and its implications to governments all over the world with the dawn of globalisation.

Attention is paid to the South African foreign policy objectives and the challenges its public administration faces in implementing those policies in a global context.

SADC development objectives are dealt with in detail because the region remains the front line for the implementation of South African foreign policy. Furthermore, the failure of South Africa to successfully implement its foreign policy in SADC will be generally interpreted as a failure in Africa and the rest of the world.

Examples of South Africa’s diplomatic relations with other countries and in intergovernmental organizations, such as the UN, the AU, the WTO, the IMF and the WTO, are presented in this chapter. Chapter Three then establishes the skills deficiencies in many African public administration organizations that are continuing to erode the confidence in Africa’s ability to participate fully and influence the making of and implementation of international policies. This has clearly limited the capacity for optimism in Africa’s international affairs because its agenda continues to be determined by the developed world which uses their surplus resources to advance their own national agendas.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


African governments are found to be lacking the resources that could be used to supplement the tertiary training of public administrators to receive relevant diplomatic training on the management of foreign relations. In a lot of cases, many countries in Africa, which do not have training facilities for foreign relations, appoint public administrators with generic public administration skills to the FS, without enhancing these skills with relevant diplomatic training. This has impacted negatively on the capacity of many African FS institutions ability to deliver on their foreign relations mandate. Chapter Three deals with South

African foreign policy objectives and the DFA which is mandated to implement or facilitate the implementation of the country’s foreign policy. Strategic plans that guide the work of the DFA in the management of the implementation of South

African foreign policy including the development of human resources, and the structures and categories of South African missions and how they are staffed are also explained in detail in this chapter. Chapter Three further points out that

South Africa is unique in its approach to foreign relations and its foreign policy is strongly biased towards Africa. It is therefore correct to conclude that the FSI training programme must be unique to the South African situation. Its modules must equip participants with the relevant leadership and management skills to successfully drive the regional (SADC) and continental agendas (AU and


Chapter Four provides a review of South Africa’s human resources development regulations and policies with special emphasis on the training of its diplomats for

FS. It is clear that the policies and regulations on HRD explored demonstrate the commitment of the South African government to build an efficient and effective public administration institution to implement its mandate. The three training programmes, offered by the FSI, the CFSI and the University of Malta clearly demonstrate that the skills required for FS are very broad. This study argues that this presents a challenge to the decision-makers to decide on a programme for

FS training, based on what they need to achieve in their foreign relations. The

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


restructuring or re-orientation of the FSI, which is the first of its kind in the

Southern African region, shows understanding by the South African government of the challenges it faces in ensuring that it has the right capacity to manage the implementation of its foreign policy objective. The FSI still faces challenges to continue to adapt to the new global environment by ensuring that its programmes take into consideration the new skills capacity requirements.

Chapter Five presents an analysis of the findings in respect of interviewees’ views on the relevance of the FSI training for the successful implementation of

South Africa’s foreign policy. Arguments are presented on how informed research is enhanced by an effective methodology. The methodology used allowed the researcher to create a dialogical relationship with the other party that possesses the required information through communicative symmetry, openmindedness and open-heartedness, responsivity, mutual trust and respect in order to get honest responses. Views expressed by the interviewees are summarised in this chapter and some of the comments that were made are presented in the interviewees’ own words. It is clear from the responses that there was a lot of enthusiasm from participants to take part in the research.

The ethnography methodology employed allowed the use of different techniques of inquiry and observation of things that happen in the diplomatic environment though listening to what people say and questioning some of these observations.

This chapter covers key issues that were identified by interviewees as critical in enhancing their capacity for successful implementation of, or facilitation of the implementation of South African foreign policy. This study has established that the majority of interviewees are of the view that the FSI programme that they attended did not prepare them sufficiently for the demanding responsibility of implementing or facilitating the implementation of South African foreign policy.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


The majority of interviewees indicated their tertiary education came in handy when they attended the FSI training programme and that enabled them to complete the course with ease. Despite all this, the realities of FS dawned on most of them only when they were posted to missions, because of their inability from the onset to fully comprehend what was expected of them. All interviewees felt that the critical aspect of their work is not the maintaining of political relations, but rather trade and investment promotion. It is important that these modules are given the attention they deserve in the FSI programme.

Another important element that a minority of interviewees highlighted was a module on Africa’s political and economic situation, where this might focus on the economic and political dynamics in at least a number of important countries that hold the balance of power and impacts on the political economy of all the regions of Africa. A few interviewees felt that interface between government departments in the implementation of foreign policy needs to be accommodated in a separate module because it is so critical to the successful implementation of South African foreign policy. Such a module should also include the aspects of how missions facilitate and coordinate the work of other departments. This study highlights, through interviewees’ views, the challenges that South African diplomats are faced with when implementing or facilitating the implementation the country’s foreign policy, given the complex issues that they have to deal with. A field of specialization in training was found as being critical. It was further suggested by interviewees’ that there is an urgent need to build capacity for specific aspects of diplomatic engagements such as environmental matters, international crimes, terrorism, regionalisation, and so on.

This study was able to point out the skills challenges for South African FS has to overcome in the implementation of the country’s foreign policy and has pointed out relevant skills necessary for this purpose. This study points out that South

Africa has attained a high profile in international affairs as a champion and leader

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


of the developing countries, and therefore a lot of expectations for the country’s diplomats to provide that leadership in various diplomatic forums. These expectations will only be realized through the building of diplomatic capacity with the relevant skills to successfully execute the national and international mandate.


Five important issues have been raised as areas which define the scope to address the research question. The five areas are: South Africa’s institution of foreign policy administration and its foreign policy objectives; examination of global diplomatic practices; skills challenges faced by diplomats in the global context and relevant diplomatic training programmes to address the challenges; relevant public administration skills required for South African diplomats; and analyses and interpretation of the findings. In drawing up the conclusions of the study these areas will be used as a means to draw conclusions on the findings of the study.

6.3.1 South Africa’s Institution of Foreign Policy Administration and its

Foreign Policy Objectives

This study has shown that the political leadership of South Africa has made it clear in their utterances on foreign policy and their actions that the success of

South Africa, both economically and politically ‘to create a better life for its

people’, is premised on the same happening to the rest of the African continent.

The responsibility now lies with the DFA which is the country’s institution of foreign policy administration and its FS personnel to ensure that this objective is realized. In order for this mandate to be successfully executed, the FS must be staffed with officials that are multi-skilled with the relevant public administration skills to efficiently and effectively deliver good service on the international relations front.

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The structure of the DFA, its vision and mission are explored in this study. The

DFA business plan is also included as an indication of how, through this framework, it intends to execute its mandate. In the implementation of foreign policy, diplomats at missions play a central role and this fact is reflected throughout the study. The structure and categories of missions and the generic role of each diplomat are further stated to show the impact each of the different categories of missions is supposed to have.

There is no doubt that with the changing global order and the creation of a new balance of power, South Africa’s role in diplomatic affairs will continue to increase in its attempt to further consolidate its role and that of Africa in international affairs. These developments will place more demands on the country’s diplomatic capacity to engage and attain this mandate. South Africa has indicated through action that it is committed to continue to build on this commitment and it is urgent that its public administration institution of FS tasked to execute this mandate has the necessary capacity to do so through the acquisition of the relevant diplomatic skills.

6.3.2 Examination of Global Diplomatic Practices

The current global diplomatic activities have shown that in the past century diplomatic practices have changed significantly. With emphasis being on multilateral diplomacy and not on traditional bilateral diplomacy, diplomats have, therefore, found themselves being challenged. Diplomats are now expected to operate at both bilateral and multilateral diplomatic levels in order to successfully execute their country’s foreign policy. Issues that are undertaken by diplomats have even moved away from mainly the traditional peace and war issues to complex economic and environmental issues. These have placed a lot of demands on the need for diplomats to be capacitated with the relevant public

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administration, diplomatic and specialist skills that are a prerequisite to the successful implementation or to facilitate the implementation of their country’s foreign policy.

Developed countries have been very successful in ensuring that their foreign policy is directed at ensuring their continued domination on global matters is further strengthened by the deployment of well-skilled diplomats in all their critical missions or areas of diplomatic activities. Developing countries have so far failed to build the relevant capacity of skills in their diplomatic institutions due to a lack of resources to create institutions of good governance for foreign policy implementation. It is important to note that this fact has continued to perpetuate the current imbalances of power in favour of the developed world in international affairs.

Intergovernmental organizations such as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO have emerged as critical foreign policy arenas for many countries. These institutions are seen as not acting in the interest of developing countries. There are still loud voices, including the voice of South Africa, calling for the restructuring of these

IGOs to reflect the interests of developing countries. The fact is that developing countries are major deal makers in these organizations because of the number of countries they represent and are often used as a tool for the foreign policy of developed countries. The need for the diplomatic engagement by developing countries like South Africa to be backed by the relevant resources and relevant diplomatic capacity to ensure equity in decision making for their benefit of developing countries. Failure to meet these requirements will continue to impact negatively on the ability of developing countries to effectively engage in international affairs for their own benefit.

It is therefore critical that South Africa develops a viable institution of FS that is able to adapt to the current changes in global diplomatic activities to successfully

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implement its foreign policy. With proper FS capacity, South Africa will further consolidate its position as one of the important leaders and spokes-countries of

Africa, and the developing world and the spin-offs of such an image may result in the achievement of its foreign policy objectives.

6.3.3 Skills Challenges faced by Diplomats in the Global Context and

Relevant Diplomatic Training Programmes to address the Challenges

Case studies presented on diplomatic training by the Canadian Foreign Service

Institute and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies of the University of Malta are essential in demonstrating the current trend in the curriculum content used by other countries and academic institutions in developing various diplomatic capacities. As indicated in the training programmes presented by these two institutions, there are various modules tailored to be presented to certain groups of participants for different outcomes. There is now one annual programme that has to be undertaken by all participants who will eventually be posted to different environments that demand different skills like currently done at the FSI.

What is suggested is that given the fact that approaches and practices of international affairs undertaken by governments differ from country to country, region to region and continent to continent there is a need for this to be acknowledged and accommodated in the development of the FSI training programmes. Diplomats need to be multi-skilled with strategic focus on the area they have been recruited to or identified for, whether in the bilateral or multilateral setting, to implement South African foreign policy. Whatever remodelling of the FSI structures and programmes is undertaken, this suggestion needs to be part of the new thinking.

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6.3.4 Relevant Public Administration Skills required for South African


This study points out that the recommended FSI training programme must focus mainly at building diplomatic capacity by equipping diplomats with generic public administrative skills such as negotiation skills, organizational development, management of organization dynamics, leadership, financial management, human resources management, governance issues, and governance institutions for the implementation of public policy. Other areas that must be included in the public administration module are regional governance challenges (SADC, SACU, and so on.) and continental governance matters (AU and NEPAD) because these areas impact directly on the successful implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy in Africa.

It has been established in this study also that the current FSI training programme is inadequate in equipping South African diplomats with relevant public diplomatic skills to effectively implement or facilitate the implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy. This study has identified a need for an FSI training programme that will be able to develop multi-skilled diplomats in various areas for successful implementation of its foreign policy. Furthermore, there is also an emphasis in the development of specialization diplomatic skills in strategic areas of South African foreign policy objective that will deal mainly with technical issues that are time consuming and very complex.

The process to reform the current FSI training programme needs to be encouraged with the aim that it will result in the development of a uniquely South

African diplomatic training programme that will address the required and relevant diplomatic skills that are informed by challenges faced by its diplomats. Such a programme must be able to address issues of interest that South African diplomats are expected to pursue for national and African interests and the

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interest of the rest of the world. The new FSI training programme will have to take into consideration other factors that form the basis of the art of diplomacy that is practiced internationally such as its processes, procedures, structures and approaches and emerging diplomatic approaches that result from the everchanging global economic and political environment.

The suggested FSI training programme, unlike the current training programme, should be able to multi-skill diplomats with the relevant public administration skills that will enable them to operate and deliver the best outputs in the complex world of international relations. Due to the fact that South Africa, despite its national challenges, has assumed the responsibility of leadership and champion for the

African continent in global affairs, the FSI training programme must reflect this in its attempt to build capacity that will be able to provide leadership when called upon. The current FSI training programme has failed in placing more emphasis on this fact and that has impacted on the ability of South African leaders to succeed in meeting demands for faster progress in creating economic development, peace and security especially in Africa to ensure a better life for its people and the African continent.

6.3.5 Analysis and Interpretation of the Findings

There is an unequivocal acknowledgement by the majority of respondents that given the current challenges they are facing in executing South African foreign policy, they have fallen short due to the lack of relevant skills in the current diplomatic environment. Many of the respondents point out that the current FSI training programme has not successfully addressed the skills required for successful diplomatic activities. The current success in South African foreign policy is credited to the country’s political leadership in international affairs. There is also an indication that to sustain South Africa’s positive image in the resolution of global economic and political issues diplomatically, it is imperative that efforts

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are made in the development of multi-skilled diplomatic capacities.

Many of the respondents were able to make suggestions on how the FSI training programme could be reviewed and improved in order to address the actual practical challenges that South African diplomats encounter in their daily work.

Case studies presented in the study illustrating diplomatic programmes offered by other institutions further strengthens the need for review and improvement of the

FSI programme as suggested by the respondents. The respondents are of the view that such a review and improvement will further strengthen missions’ capacity to realize their foreign policy objectives.


This study suggests the multi-skilling of South African diplomats through the development and implementation of a uniquely South African diplomatic training programme. This will enable its diplomats to overcome the challenges posed by the complex international environment in effectively implementing South African foreign policy. A number of recommendations that are made to assist in the remodelling of the FSI training programme have been suggested:

6.4.1 Rethinking the FSI Training Programme in the context of Public


South Africa has advanced policies and legislation for capacity building in the public service. Government agencies such as the SAMDI and the PSC have been established to be the custodians of some of the policies focused on enhancing capacity in the public service. The FSI was established solely to develop the capacity of the public service concerned with the implementation or facilitation of the implementation of its foreign policy. It is therefore critical that

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this institution is appropriately equipped with the necessary structures and expertise to execute this mandate. Its programmes which are derived mainly from public administration and the existing legislation and policies must be able to develop diplomatic capacity that will be able to effectively implement South

African foreign policy in any global environment.

Issue 1.1: This study points out that the skills required for the implementation or facilitation of the implementation of South African foreign policy, even though informed by same principles as those in the general public service, require additional public administration skills for diplomats to operate outside the national environment. In the international environment, many factors outside the national legislation and policies need diplomats with appropriate competencies and expertise to fulfil their mandates.

Recommendation 1.1: The FSI training programme should include a module on relevant leadership and management skills required for FS that must take into consideration the challenges of implementing foreign policy in an international environment and the uniqueness of South Africa’s foreign policy approaches especially its leadership in Africa. Such a module should take into consideration this uniqueness and provide the necessary training intervention in building the relevant capacity for the successful implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Issue 1.2: Public Administration forms the basis of any government’s public service. It provides the necessary framework for organizational development, human resources development, human resources management, financial management, performance measurements, strategic planning, policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Whether a public servant is to operate effectively and efficiently within the realm of national laws or policies, or within the international environment, it is critical that they understand the basic

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principles of public administration which are in many form standard across the world.

Recommendation 1.2: The FSI training programmes should include these basic principles of public administration, which include acquisition of skills on organizational development, human resources management and development, public finance management, performance measurements, strategic planning, policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation in order to create an effective an efficient governance capacity in the implementation of South Africa foreign policy.

6.4.2 Governance and Foreign Service

Good governance is a process in which relevant institutions of government are well established and capacitated for achieving its service delivery objectives efficiently and effectively. The DFA, as a government organ mandated to achieve its foreign policy objectives, must also be established on the basis of good governance. It is therefore critical that proper institutions of the FS must be established and capacitated with officials who are multi-skilled to operate in an international environment to successfully execute its mandate. Failure to do that will result in inadequate service delivery which, in turn, will impact negatively on

South Africa’s international image.

Another aspect of governance that needs attention is the management of missions as the instruments to implement or facilitate the implementation of a

South Africa’s foreign policy. The findings of the study point out that there are some deficiencies in the management of missions which is cited as impacting negatively to their performance. Public administration provides a guiding framework of how to design an organization and capacitate it to fulfil its mandate.

The important governance issues that are addressed through the practice of

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public administration include, among others, organizational design and development, human resources management and development, financial management, strategic planning, performance measures, policy formulation and implementation and monitoring and evaluation. All these are an integral part of any organization and will determine whether such an organization succeeds or not in planning and executing its mandate. For any government organization to attain good governance status, those who are in the leadership positions must possess the relevant skills to design and manage organization to realize their mandate.

Issue 2.1: The study findings indicate that a lack of capacity and resources, whether financial or human, hinders a missions’ ability to fulfil their mandates.

There is no doubt that the establishment by South Africa of more than 100 permanent missions within ten years has had huge financial implications.

Missions will never be capacitated as may be necessary because the government will never have sufficient financial resources to achieve that. This study points out that the difference in categories of missions is used to determine the level of financial resources each mission is entitled to and smaller missions tend to suffer most.

Recommendation 2.1: To entrench good governance through good FS management and leadership, principles of good governance should be included in the FSI training programme to equip diplomats with the relevant skills to enable them to manage the realization of mission objectives with the limited resources. This will ensure that the limited capacity of a mission is not used as an excuse for failing to meet its foreign policy obligations.

Skills acquired will enable each diplomat at the mission (from Ambassador to attachés) to do their bit in the realization of South African foreign policy objectives at missions.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


Issue 2.2: Given the historical trends illustrated through an overview on international economic and political development challenges for developing countries in the study, it is very clear that globalisation has been directed to benefit the strong countries. In order to push further from the work that has already been done by the political leaders of South Africa to change this trend, proper structured FS governance institution capacitated with multi-skilled human resources is essential. This can be attributed also to the failure of the training process to expose officials to the principles of managing in an international environment.

Recommendation 2.2: The FSI training programme should incorporate international management as one of its modules. The module will empower

South African diplomats with the relevant skills to develop and capacitate missions to function effectively even in complex environments and given the limited resources at their disposal. Their success in achieving this will depend solely on South African diplomats having the appropriate basic international management skills for good governance of FS.

6.4.3 Understanding Leadership Role vis-à-vis Government’s commitment to Africa

This study has pointed out that South Africa has assumed a strategic leadership role as a champion and leader of Africa and developing countries, with strategic focus on Africa. It is with this understanding and commitment that a lot of South

African government resources, both human and financial, are towards peace efforts, rebuilding and strengthening of institutions of governance at national, regional and continental levels in Africa. This study has demonstrated that efforts have already been undertaken successfully in several instances by South African political leaders in refocusing the global attention to the challenges that Africa faces in regard to peace, security and economic development. Issues that are

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


identified as negatively impacting on Africa’s ability to engage the rest of the world are a lack of appropriate governance structures and diplomatic capacity in institutions of foreign relations, and it is therefore important that South Africa continues to play this role. These place a greater demand on South Africa’s diplomats to demonstrate leadership competencies. A module on leadership for the implementation of South African foreign policy that is uniquely South African needs to be developed and offered at the FSI to enhance the leadership of those identified for FS.

Issue 3.1: Issues that are identified in this study as negatively impacting on

Africa’s ability to engage the rest of the world in dealing with the challenges that the continent faces are lack of appropriate governance structures and diplomatic capacity in their institutions of foreign relations and it is therefore important that

South Africa continues to play this role.

Recommendation 3.1: Since commitment by South African leadership to champion the course for Africa’s development has become a burden on its institution of FS, FSI training programme should be remodelled to include a module on building diplomatic institutions and capacity. Such a module must place emphasis on equipping diplomats with relevant tools and skills to be able to establish or re-configure missions to ensure successful execution of South Africa’s foreign policy. It is therefore critical that such a module incorporates organisational design and human resources development to create the necessary capacity for efficient and effective execution of the mission mandate.

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6.4.4 Understanding Integrated Governance and the Implementation of

South Africa’s Foreign Policy

This study has pointed out that there is currently a challenge for South African FS training programme to remain relevant in the current global environment with the complex issues that requires specialists’ knowledge emerging everyday. Almost all government departments, in one way or another, are involved in both bilateral and multilateral diplomatic institutions in international relations matters that form part of their national mandate. Disagreements sometimes emerge between the

DFA and other departments on certain international relations issues that seem to overlap between or among departments. Formation of clusters especially the one on International Relations, Peace and Security have been specifically geared towards the resolution of these conflicts. The cluster has limited success in integrating government work on international relations because of a major gap between the senior officials who participate at the cluster meetings and those who are responsible for the implementation of South Africa foreign policy.

Issue 4.1: The findings of this study indicate clearly that the FSI training programme has not incorporated the aspects of integrated government that are currently the central focus of the South African government to avoid duplication and conflict and accelerate service delivery. A South African diplomat must possess basic skills that will enable them to build important contacts in other government departments. These contacts will always be available to assist with relevant technical information and advice to enable them to undertake their responsibilities promptly and efficiently.

Recommendation 4.1: It is, therefore, imperative that the remodelled FSI training programme includes a module on integrated government vis-à-vis the implementation or facilitation of the implementation of South African foreign policy. Such a module will equip participants with the relevant skills

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and knowledge that will enable them to use other government departments’

expertise appropriately in the execution of their mandate.

6.4.5 Information Technology as an Aid for the Implementation of South

African Foreign Policy

This study points out that, given the amount of information that is generated daily through 24 hour news channels and the Internet, it has become a greater challenge for any diplomat to provide a unique analysis in their areas of responsibility. A lack of proper analysis of issues that get picked up by the media and an understanding of the actual positions of government or institutions of intergovernmental relations may impact negatively on a government’s ability to make an informed judgement or intervention. In any government organization, the policy formulation process is driven mainly by the gathering of relevant or accurate information. It is important to indicate that whatever information that is gathered remains a key factor that will make or break any policy formulation and implementation process. It is important to point out that a government takes action or certain positions on international issues based on the information provided by their diplomats in FS. Any government decision or action on international developments whether on bilateral or multilateral issues need to be informed by well-gathered, well-analysed and well-communicated information.

Simple information such as NEPAD regional integration programmes maybe requested from a diplomat on issues of national interests that impact on some of

NEPAD’s programmes. A South African diplomat must be able to utilize the available information technology to access this information, package it accordingly and communicate it appropriately. A South African diplomat must be able to package information according to the level of the recipient of such information and the level of confidentiality required for such information.

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Issue 5.1: Information is not only a tool for decision making for governments but also an aid to diplomats in implementing or facilitating the implementation of their country’s foreign policy. In order for diplomats to make an informed judgement in certain aspects of negotiations, background information on the global trend on the issues under discussion may come in very handy. Skills in the utilization of information technology may reduce the time that it normally takes to put together such information which will empower the diplomat or a negotiating team of diplomats to remodel their approach informed by existing international trends against their country’s national interests.

Recommendation 5.1: The FSI training programme should include a module on information management and utilization for diplomatic purposes as an additional diplomatic skill to aid the successful implementation of South

African foreign policy. The introduction of this module will be in line with the existing international norm for diplomatic training programmes.

Issue 5.2: There is no doubt that diplomats’ special responsibility includes listening, observing and studying for the development of a knowledge resource that is key to the successful implementation of a country’s foreign policy but in today’s world the role played by information technology in this regard cannot be discounted. The availability of information technology and the ability to use it has also empowered diplomats’ ability to readily access and package information necessary for the successful execution of their country’s foreign policy.

Recommendation 5.2: A module on Information Technology as an aid to the implementation of South African foreign policy should be offered as part of the FSI training programme. Information technology skills will enable South

African diplomats, rather than rewriting what has become public knowledge, to critically analyse the provided information and undertake

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independent search for more information to collaborate their conclusions through the use of available information technology.

There is a need to strengthen the ability of South African diplomats through proper training to be able to communicate clearly, verbally and write strategically.

The study suggests that this can be achieved if the remodelled FSI training programme includes a module on diplomatic strategic verbal communication and writing. It is important, as has been demonstrated in this study, that one of the tools at the disposal of the diplomats in executing their responsibilities is the ability to accurately and strategically communicate orally and in writing.

Any intervention that a South African diplomat makes whether at a bilateral or multilateral level in pursuing foreign policy is based on the information and recommendations its leaders in government receive from their diplomats.

Diplomats are the primary source of information and therefore their ability to communicate both in writing and verbally must not be underestimated because any miscommunication may result in the government making ill-informed statements or decisions that may have serious political or economic implications on its international standing. In other instances, countries may respond very slowly to regional, continental and global issues because of a failure in communicating their positions properly. There have been already a number of diplomatic incidents that have been pointed out in this study where countries had very serious deficiencies in the implementation of its foreign policy because of the inability of their diplomats to communicate strategically and accurately through their verbal briefings and written reports.

Issue 6.1: Any deficiencies in the ability of a diplomat to communicate or write strategically and accurately may seriously compromise the implementation of the

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country’s foreign policy. Without relevant communication and writing skills, South

African diplomats will fail to appropriately report or brief their principals accurately and timeously. This may compromise their ability to do their work which will impact negatively to the realization of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives.

Recommendation 6.1: The FSI training programme should include a module on strategic verbal communication and writing to equip diplomats with the relevant skills to offer high level reports and powerful briefings that will enable the government to make informed decisions in the implementation of its foreign policy. Furthermore, these skills will provide the competencies to enable diplomats to execute their mandate effectively.

6.4.7 Thinking Strategically: Promoting Creativity and Innovativeness in

Foreign Service

FS is all about countries in many areas jockeying for different positions that come with different benefits. The processes that diplomats have to follow when implementing South African foreign policy may be slow depending on their innovativeness and creativity. Given the complex environment which is unpredictable and changeable every hour and day, week, month or year, and the distance from decision-makers in the capital city, a diplomat has to rely on their gut feeling to act appropriately in given situation. Such action, if not well thought through, may have serious implications for their country. It is therefore essential that diplomats are equipped with the relevant skills to not make costly mistakes.

South African regulations and policies on training have also reflected the need for innovation and creativity as a means to accelerate service delivery and attain the government policy objectives. The same needs to happen in FS as a public administration arena where a crucial action by any of the South African diplomats within the framework of its foreign policy is essential for the realization of the

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


national interests and ensure ‘a better life for all’. It is common that many of the diplomats will in most instances prefer to not act without getting authorisation from the decision-makers at head office which may result in the benefit that could have been accrued with speedy action being lost forever because of their failure to think strategically. This may have serious long-term negative implications even for future diplomats who will have to regret the lost opportunity.

Issue 7.1: This study establishes that strategic thinking and innovative skills are essential in creating a unique type of diplomat who will be able to independently or within a team analyse the environment on the issues that are placed in front of him/her, refer to their country’s position on the matter under consideration and make an informed judgement that will not be questioned. Situations that arise at intergovernmental meetings or working committees between countries demand diplomats who possess strategic thinking skills. During the diplomatic process there are also deadlocks and disagreements on issues or the wording of communiqués or minutes. The ability to think above the opposite numbers and presentation of alternative wording or in-depth, informed explanation may ensure the adoption of your country’s position even by those countries who were initially opposed to that. Such ability has also shown that the creative and innovative diplomat naturally earns the respect of their peers and is relied on if such an incidence arises again in the future. Diplomacy is all about winning opponents to accept a position or positions of your country and this will definitely impact positively to a country’s standing in international affairs, thus enhancing the possibilities for successful implementation of its foreign policy.

Recommendation 7.1: FSI training programme should include a module on strategic thinking and how to be innovative to equip diplomats with the essential skills to make informed decisions in complex environments for the realization of South African foreign policy objectives. Innovative and creative skills will ultimately provide diplomats with appropriate

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


competencies and expertise to deliver far beyond the expectations on their mandate.

6.4.8 Field of Specialization

The findings of this study indicate that there is a need for areas of specialization in the South African FS. To be a generalist and multi-skilled is a must but in some missions, where certain foreign policy objectives are being pursued, there is a need for relevant special capacity to be deployed to enable the realization of these objectives. Public diplomacy has become a key weapon that is used to create a good image for a country that will ensure the realization of the country’s foreign policy objectives.

Issue 8.1: Public diplomacy has become a critical strategy that is used to create a good image for a country to ensure the realization of the country’s foreign policy objectives. Misinformation by national or international media on certain developments in South Africa, if not well managed may result in a negative image that is costly to the standing of South Africa globally and its national economy.

Proper media management, whether foreign or domestic, forms a very critical aspect for successful foreign policy implementation for any government.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of public diplomacy skills in the South African FS.

Recommendation 8.1: A specialization module on public diplomacy should be offered at the FSI and it must be a compulsory module for those diplomats that are identified for strategic missions for public diplomacy purposes to support the implementation of South African.

Issue 8.2: This study established that the processes at IGOs like the AU, WTO,

UN and its agencies, the IMF and the World Bank can be very complicated and

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


frustrating for a beginner. From the time of the posting to reach a stage where a diplomat is fully functional may take up to two years. Unfortunately, a diplomat’s lifespan in one posting on average is only four years. These IGOs have complex procedures and use a different technical language in their deliberations and for reaching consensus, which mostly disadvantages diplomats from developing countries and prevents them from fully participating and ensuring that their national interests are accommodated.

Recommendation 8.2: Diplomats identified for assignment to these multilateral organizations should undertake a compulsory specialization module on multilateral diplomacy. Such a module will assist them to understand how IGOs are structured and mandated, and their internal politics, and what South Africa’s view and obligation to these organisations are. Furthermore, the content of the module must present tactics that South

African diplomats assigned to institutions of multilateral diplomacy must use to influence decisions in favour of the country’s foreign policy.

Issue 8.3: As highlighted in this study, globalisation has had a major impact on all countries of the world. There is currently fierce competition for resources between countries, regions and continents. South Africa has not been spared from this competition for resources, whether financial or material, for economic development purposes in its attempt to achieve ‘a better life for all its citizens’.

Behind the strategy of ‘a better life for all’ is the need for economic development through trade and investment. Even though the primary responsibility for the promotion of trade and investment lies with the DTI, it forms the basis of South

Africa’s foreign policy. The DTI has representation in a number of strategic missions but even where it is represented its capacity is very limited. The DFA has sufficient resources at all the missions and any political work is mainly for the economic outcomes.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


Recommendation 8.3: It is recommended that a module on South African economic development strategy through FDI and trade should be included in the FSI training programme. The module on South Africa’s economic development strategy through trade and investment must be only offered to diplomats identified for posting to strategic missions where this aspect forms the basis of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Issue 8.4: Economic development policies globally are being pursued through regional blocks such as the AU, EU, ASEAN, MERCOSOUR and the Arab

League, to mention a few. The challenge is for countries to create diplomatic capacity that can operate in such an environment and ensure the successful realization of their foreign policy objectives. There is a lot of political and economic dynamics in these engagements and it is critical that individuals identified for assignment to these bodies are offered the relevant skills to effectively and efficiently execute their foreign policy objectives.

Recommendation 8.4: A Specialization module on the role of regional economic bodies and their impact on South Africa’s foreign policy should be included in the FSI training programme. The skills to be provided through this module critical for the successful implementation of South

Africa foreign policy must be offered at the FSI.

Issue 8.5: Debates on sustainable development form the basis of fast tracking economic development in multilateral organizations. The challenge for developing countries remains their diplomatic capacity to engage meaningfully in multilateral forums to ensure the balancing of decisions on the need for rapid economic development vis-à-vis environmental conservation in developing economies.

Skills development in this area also needs to be prioritised to enhance the ability of South African diplomats to understand the implications of sustainable development in the implementation or facilitation of the implementation of South

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations


Africa’s foreign policy.

Recommendation 8.5: A specialization module on sustainable development and its impact on the economies of developing countries should be included in the FSI training programme. With such skills, South African diplomats will be able to successfully engage on this issue at multilateral level to ensure that the global agenda on sustainable development does not impact negatively on the need for rapid economic development in the country and the rest of the continent.

6.4.9 Implementation of Findings and Recommendations

Issue 9.1: This study suggests that the remodelling of the FSI training programme must be prioritized to enable the institution to create multi-skilled diplomats who will be able to effectively and efficiently implement or facilitate the implementation of South African foreign policy. The current process undertaken by the DFA to review the FSI is overdue and needs to be undertaken with the urgency it deserves to create a pool of multi-skilled diplomats. The successful implementation of the above recommendations will be only realized if the FSI is encouraged to build on the findings and recommendations of this study.

Recommendation 9.1: The FSI must establish an empowered task force to assist with the remodelling of an improved FSI training programme. The task force must be given the mandate to develop a set of guidelines for diplomatic training which takes into consideration the required core competencies and academic credits that will make an official eligible to attend the training programme. The task force must also explore and develop skills requirements for South African diplomats and provide set of guidelines or training objectives that will be used by FSI as a standard to measure the effectiveness of its improved training programme.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations



Chapter Six provides a summary of all the chapters including the methodology, literature review, case studies, findings, conclusions and highlight important issues that needs attention in the development of diplomatic capacity and also makes various recommendations. The focus in this chapter is to further explore appropriate training programmes for the multi-skilling of South African diplomats with the relevant diplomatic skills to enable them to effectively implement or facilitate the implementation of its foreign policy. The chapter focuses on pointing out the shortcomings of the current FSI training programme and make recommendations for the development of intervention strategies to enhance it.

The need for relevant diplomatic training is very urgent and critical in order to build a diplomatic capacity that will enable South Africa to fulfil its international obligations for the benefit of its people, the peoples of Africa and the world.

Issues that are highlighted as challenges for the training of diplomats are findings from the literature review and the primary data from the questionnaires.

Recommendations are drawn from the literature review, primary data and case studies of the diplomatic training programmes of FSI, MADS and CFSI. Future areas of research that may need attention in relation to this study is to investigate the contribution that Schools of Public Administration and Management at institutions of higher learning can make to support FSI training programme by offering a public administration programme that include courses/modules as electives on diplomacy to public administration students who are interested in becoming career diplomats.

Chapter 6: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations



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Annexure 1

First Secretary

South African Embassy


P.R China

Fax: 00 8610 6532 0174

20 July 2005

Dear Colleague

Research: To What Extent is the Foreign Service Institute (FSI)

Training Programme Relevant to the Challenges Facing a South

African Diplomat in the Global Context.

I am currently a student at the University of Pretoria School of Public

Management and Administration studying towards a PhD degree in Public

Affairs. As part of my research course I have chosen to study the relevancy of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) training programme to the challenges facing South African diplomats in the global context.

To get an insider perspective I have chosen to speak to you as a practitioner in this field who has an insight into the challenges that the country’s diplomats are faced with to successfully execute its foreign policy. I am also of the view that since you have attended the FSI training you are in a better position to comment on its relevancy to the challenges that you encounter daily while pursuing the country’s foreign policy objectives.



This research will hopefully provide insights to the current debate on the development of a training programme that will meet the demands of the country’s diplomatic capacity. The debates in Department of Foreign Affairs

(DFA) are mainly looking at how the current FSI training programme could be enhanced to ensure that the country’s diplomats are equipped with the relevant skills to successfully facilitate, coordinate and implement the country’s foreign policy. I am confident that findings of the research of this nature will be of benefit to your organisation by providing findings which will indicate the extent to which current Foreign Service training programme is relevant to the challenges experienced by the country’s diplomats in the implementation of the country’s foreign policy and recommendations on how it can be improved.

I will liaise with you telephonically to set the interview date and time as soon as I have received your response to the attached questionnaire and also your willingness to participate in the study. I will also be pleased if you can refer me to individuals whom you think can make valuable contribution to the study. For any inquiries please feel free to contact me at the following email address: [email protected]

or fax the completed questionnaire to

+8610 6532 6981 if any further clarification is needed in regard to my humble request.

Thank you.

Very sincerely yours,


Mono Mashaba



Annexure 2





NB. The anonymity of the respondent is guaranteed.

Part One: Personal Information

1. How long have you been working for the Department

2. of Foreign Affairs?

What position are you currently occupying and what are your


4. responsibilities?

Have you ever been posted to a foreign country? If yes, which countries.

When was you last posted and for how long?

5. What is your highest education background? a. High School b. Undergraduate c. Post-graduate




Part Two: Organisational Information

Which Branch of

DFA are you employed in?






What is the objective of your

Branch in relation to country’s foreign policy?

How many missions fall under this


Have the Branch made progress in its support for the implementation of the country’s foreign policy objectives?

Tell me more about your division or mission’s activities in support of the implementation of the country’s foreign policy?

Does your mission or division have capacity to successfully execute its mandate?






How do you rate the performance of your division or mission in regard to the attainment of the country’s foreign policy objectives of

5 points?

If the above rating is

3 or below, what do you feel needs to be done to rectify the situation to enable the mission/division to fulfil its objectives?

14 There are existing human resources policies in DFA that are currently used to recruit, select and appoint diplomats.

What is your comment about the impact of these policies to the fulfilment of the department’s mandate?




Part Three: Foreign Service Training

Did you get the opportunity to attend the

FSI training programme?





If, yes, when did you attend the training programme and how long was it?

Was the training programme a difficult programme for you?

Did your educational background play a role in your ability to go through the programme with ease?

Is the training that you received relevant to your current responsibilities?



The country has assumed a much greater leadership role in the past 10 years in championing the cause for Africa’s economic development, peace and security. Do you think the training have equipped you to play a role in enhancing this process?

The country has also





24 been involved in providing impetus for South-South and North-South

Cooperation, was the training relevant in this regard?

The whole process of diplomacy has become a competitive process for countries. The globalisation process has put diplomacy to be not concerned with peace and security amongst states but to be at the centre of driving the bread and butter issues. Did the training programme equip you for this task?

Today, developing countries are clamouring for limited world markets and investments. Do you think the training provided you with the required skills to undertake this function?

Given the cluster model/approach employed to integrate various departments activities in order to implement government policies. Did the training programme prepare you fully to facilitate the international work of the many governments’





27 departments in the international arena?

Bilateral and multilateral decisions are reached through negotiations followed by the signing of agreements, was the training programme valuable to you in this regard?

Has the training fully equipped you to successfully deal with the country’s foreign challenges?

What would you say if you are asked to comment on the current training programme in relation to your practical experience?


If there is anything that you need to see included or excluded in the training, if there is any what is that and why?



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