Public policy and KwaZulu-Natal's Integrated Poverty Eradication Programme : a complexity perspective.
Xaba, Frederick Matthews Dumsani.
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Issues of poverty and inequality are central to ordinary people and policy makers all over the world. The growing gap between rich and poor galvanized countries through the United Nations to adopt the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, and more recently the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Part of the challenge in achieving the goals as set out in the MDGs and SDGs is that poverty is a complex phenomenon. Policy makers, politicians, scholars, development practitioners all have divergent views on the definition of poverty. Defining poverty is a very contentious undertaking that is influenced by a variety of perspectives and settings. These divergent perspectives serve to underscore the very complex and multi-dimensional nature of poverty. Implementation of a complex public programme such as a poverty eradication programme requires a departure from conventional linear approaches to policy implementation. The objectives of the study were to explore and reconstruct the narrative that informed the thinking of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Administration in developing the Poverty Eradication Master Plan (2014) and the implementation thereof, from a complexity theory point of view; to delineate and describe how the selected national, the different provincial departments, state-owned enterprises were brought together to pursue a common mandate through a network of relationships, and to use the complexity theory to define poverty and illustrate the complex challenges experienced during the development of the KwaZulu-Natal Poverty Eradication Programme. The findings of the study revealed that the development of the Poverty Eradication Programme faced tough challenges due to the contestation of the policy space, the conceptual approach, the mandates and resources by the different agents involved. The implementation thereof, while fully integrated into the annual plans of implementing departments, faces enormously complex challenges. Given these issues, the study recommends a systems approach to the implementation of the Poverty Eradication Master Plan, taking into cognizance the complex nature of the problem and the vertical and horizontal integration across government.
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