18th September 2020, the APRM National Governing Council (NGC) of the Republic of South Africa held its second virtual meeting, which was preceded by an induction session hosted by the APRM Continent Secretariat.
The aim of the induction was to equip the NGC with the necessary information to fulfil its mandate, which includes overseeing the implementation of the APRM process in South Africa.
The Republic of South Africa acceded to the APRM in March 2003 and fielded its first base Country Review Mission (CRM) in July 2006. This review informed the country’s national priorities through a National Programme of Action. South Africa is currently preparing for a 2nd generation country review, which will make it the fourth APRM member state to undergo a full second review. Therefore, the induction meeting was the first step towards the commencement of the 2nd generation APRM country review of South Africa.
The virtual meeting was attended by members of APRM national structures including Honourable Edward Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and APRM Focal Point of the Republic of South Africa, Honourable Sindisiwe Chikunga, the Deputy Minister at DPSA, senior officials from the DPSA, members of the Executive Council of each province, as well as the newly formed South African APRM NGC. The NGC members in attendance represented eleven clusters covering several constituencies and sectors including non-governmental organisations, civil society, traditional leadership, community-based organisations, the National Economic Development and Labour Council, arts, culture, heritage and indigenous knowledge systems, women, people with disabilities, youth, organised labour, professionals and academia, organised business, media, as well as the faith-based sector.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Thulani Tshefuta, Chairperson of the NGC. The Chairperson noted the eagerness of the NGC to take part in the induction session, as it plays a key role in ensuring participation of all stakeholders and citizens in the APRM processes.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Eddy Maloka, CEO of the APRM Continental Secretariat congratulated South Africa on the establishment of its NGC and outlined nine (9) critical success factors for the NGC to consider:
- Having conceptual and ideological clarity about the Pan-African, transformative and strategic value of governance in order to address the challenges facing Africa, vis-a-vis recognising the role and significance of the APRM in promoting the African Union shared values that increase progress on good governance, sustainable development, peace and security and the advancement of the Pan-African mission.
- An engaged and active Focal Point.
- Having a role for and involvement of the Head of State or Government in the national APRM process.
- Choosing the type of institutional model for the APRM national structures, which includes a variation of full time and part time NGC members working with a day-to-day National Secretariat. These structures include: a) A full time Ministry (Minister plus staff) as implemented in Chad, Namibia, Togo; b) A full time National Secretariat with a CEO as implemented in Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria; c) A full time NGC with staff as Secretariat as implemented in Cote d’Ivoire and Egypt; d) A Ministry and government staff seconded as the National Secretariat with a part time NGC as implemented in Uganda; as well as e) to resolve and reach consensus on the size and shape of national structures and related role clarification.
- Existence of a national appetite for APRM programmes and products, which includes participation in targeted reviews, base reviews, and civil engagement. Examples included Uganda undertaking two country reviews, participating in a study on the 13 major bottlenecks facing Africa and now preparing for a targeted review in 2021; as well as Namibia undertaking a targeted review in its forest year as a member and now preparing for a country review in 2021.
- Having a dynamic working relationship with the APRM Continental structures.
- Clear identity and dynamism of the NGC and the National Secretariat through an active calendar of National programmes.
- Availability of human and financial resources from the fiscus.
- National anchorage and ownership of the APRM processes through multi-stakeholder involvement, especially of youth, across the state tiers.
The APRM Continental Secretariat led the induction by outlining the APRM process within the broader frame of governance. The training provided the NGC with a conceptual toolkit to facilitate their work. This included in-depth explanations of a) the APRM; b) the APRM continental structures and processes; c) national structures and their roles & functions; d) the APRM thematic focus areas; e) the APRM review processes; and f) a conclusion that summarised the APRM strategic plan, key initiatives, National Governance Reporting and current programme implementation. The presentation highlighted that the Continental Secretariat is at the disposal of the NGC for further training on the review process.
Mr Steven Gruzd of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) gave a presentation that provided a civil society perspective on experiences and lessons learnt since South Africa’s accession and its first APRM Review.
The presentations were followed by rigorous and insightful discussions. It was noted that the induction would be the first in a series of planned engagements of the NGC with the APRM processes. This further solidifies South Africa’s commitment to the APRM and to good governance in Africa.
In conclusion, the Chairperson, Mr Tshefuta thanked the participants for a successful meeting.