The Batho Pele programme and policy-making in the North West Province
The new political dispensation has posed many challenges and opportunities to South Africa's national, provincial as well as local government. The democratic breakthrough of April 1994 signalled the government's commitment to society. This is namely a commitment to create a space for every member of society to participate in building a new democratic state, a state whose foundation is the respect for human rights and human development. In these times and climate that compels all public institutions, elected representatives and public officials to execute the constitutional mandate, the North West Province government, as part of a broader strategic component of service delivery, has been facing complex challenges since its inauguration in 1994. The North West Province adopted the Batho Pele programme in 1998 after it was introduced in 1997 by the national Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). This programme was aimed at improving service delivery levels countrywide. The challenge for the North West provincial government in determining its performance in relation to satisfy the ever-escalating community demands and needs, is increasingly not only about the resources it dispenses from a limited public purse. Its policy-making process in the context of the Batho Pele programme remains crucial. In this respect, the primary focus of this study was therefore to offer public policy guidelines to strengthen the implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the Batho Pele programme as a policy statement of the North West Province government. This was a limited study with subsections intended essentially to elaborate and supplement the emphasis of the main chapters. The method of investigation was primarily based on the literature, which played a pivotal role in the process to complete the project. In addition, informal and formal interviews were conducted with public officials to seek clarity on certain issues. It hugely assisted in fortifying the information already acquired. From the analysis, the following issues for consideration emerged. The observation, over and above the conventional limitations associated with any public policy analysis, and the integrated and comprehensive approach of policy management and development, dominated the entire project. The next point of analysis of the Batho Pele programme in the North West Province indicated that it was important to treat the four traditional elements of public policy as interdependent aspects of public policy-making. However, having observed all these defects, pockets of success in ensuring that the North West Province meet its constitutional mandate of providing goods and services such as housing, education, transportation, electricity, employment opportunities, infrastructure development, health-care and sanitation, have been noted. Simply, the management of the Batho Pele programme has not been entirely unsuccessful. Finally, the hypothesis that for the successful execution of the Batho Pele programme a holistic and integrated public policy-making is necessary was tested.