This article describes the development of the national evaluation system in South Africa, which has been implemented since 2012, led by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME, previously the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation) in the Presidency. It suggests emerging results but an evaluation of the evaluation being carried out in 2015 will address this formally. Responding to dissatisfaction with government services, in 2009 the government placed a major emphasis on monitoring and evaluation (M&E). A ministry and department were created, initially focusing on monitoring but in 2011 developing a national evaluation policy framework, which has been rolled out from 2012. The system has focused on improving performance, as well as improved accountability. Evaluations are proposed by national government departments and selected for a national evaluation plan. The relevant department implements the evaluations with the DPME and findings go to Cabinet and are made public. So far 39 evaluations have been completed or are underway, covering around R50 billion (approximately $5 billion) of government expenditure over a three-year expenditure framework. There is evidence that the first evaluations to be completed are having significant influence on the programmes concerned. The big challenge facing South Africa is to increase capacity of service providers and government staff so as to be able to have more and better quality evaluations taking place outside of as well as through the DPME.
Goldman, I., Mathe, J. E., Jacob, C., Hercules, A., Amisi, M., Buthelezi, T., … Sadan, M. (2015). Developing South Africa’s national evaluation policy and system: First lessons learned. African Evaluation Journal, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v3i1.107