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EvalYear to boost delivery to citizens

- By Buhle Zuma

The Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, who is responsible for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), together with key stakeholders, launched the International Year of Evaluation in South Africa yesterday at Wits.

2015 was declared the International Year of Evaluation (EvalYear), during the third International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities in São Paulo, Brazil. EvalYear seeks to highlight the central role of evaluation in development, whilst concomitantly advocating and promoting evidence-based policy making at international, regional, national and local levels.

South Africa established the Department currently headed by Radebe in 2009 as a tool for improving government performance.

In his speech Radebe said the adopting an evaluation approach would assist to achieve four primary objectives:

“To improve performance of government and to improve accountability. We want to know where public spending is going, and whether government spending is making a difference,” said Radebe.

The third and the fourth objective is to “Generate knowledge of what works and what does not with regards to our public policies, or programmes, which allow government to build an evidence base for future policy development ; and to make decisions on the worth of our programmes and policies and whether to continue or replace them.”

To this end,  this year the DPME will be will be undertaking ten priority evaluations in collaboration with custodian departments covering around a further R25 billion of government expenditure, said Radebe. To read his speech, please click here.

The launch was co-hosted by hosted the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) at Wits, the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA), the  DPME, and the Public Service Commission.

Clear Director and SAMEA Chairperson Professor Richard Levin expanded on the significance of evaluation adding that “Evaluations help to improve learning and provide an opportunity to people who are often excluded from participating in important decision-making and can strengthen institutions and initiatives. Good evaluations also build trust and help to hold government bodies and other role players accountable for their performance.”

Speakers and delegates paid tribute to the late Minister of Public Service and Administration, Collins Chabane, who passed away last week. Collins was praised for successfully building the DPME when it was launched and making the monitoring and evaluation function a crucial part of government work. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the initial 12 outcomes that addressed the main strategic priorities of the fourth democratic government. 

Messages of support from EvalPartners in Russia, Uganda, Benin, Mexico read by Dr Ian Goldman from the DPME, hailed Chabane’s role and urged the network to continue with his vision of making South Africa a better place.