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To assess the implementation of the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) in a national government department (Statistics South Africa)

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The aim of the study was to assess the implementation of Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) in Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). This will determine whether the tool is producing the desired results that it was initially intended to produce. This study provides an insight whether management practices and other aspects of management, such as internal controls and poor administration, have indeed improved due to the implementation of MPAT in the department. These three aspects, amongst others, are some of the reasons that led to the introduction of the tool in 2011 by the Presidency, South Africa, through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) that was to be implemented by all government departments with immediate effect. The national government realised that there was an urgent need to change the way things were done if there were to be different and improved results. Therefore, MPAT was regarded as a mechanism that would assist in this desired change, with the assumption that it is a tool that can assist public service management to “measure what they manage”. A qualitative research methodology was adopted for this study and semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants to gather the data. The non-probability sampling (using a purposive sampling technique) was used and there were 11 respondents identified based on their experience with the MPAT tool. The respondents all form part of the MPAT committee and some are members of the departmental Executive Committee and Internal Audit. The findings revealed that, even though things such as improved management practices and internal controls have not yet reached the desired levels, the implementation of MPAT has a positive impact on Stats SA and, generally, things are improving. The following themes emerged from the study: The role of MPAT in the public sector and in Stats SA; MPAT’s role in internal controls; MPAT’s role in management practices; MPAT as a tool for sharing of good management practices; senior management perceptions of MPAT; challenges of MPAT; leadership support of MPAT; communication between DPME and departments; and duplication of work by MPAT. The study concludes with the suggestion that all role players of MPAT should ensure that the tool has the full support that it requires. It is evident from the study that, if MPAT is taken seriously, a more efficient, effective and development-orientated public service can be achieved. It is a tool that has a great potential to change the public service image for the better.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.