Managing policy networks : a case study of KwaZulu-Natal Community Crime Prevention Association.
This research focuses on analysing the KwaZulu-Natal Community Crime Prevention Association (KZNCCPA), using theories on managing policy networks. In particular, the research looks at the KZNCCPA network management styles. KZNCCPA is a crime prevention network aimed at encouraging social networking and community engagement in the fight against crime. While an independent community crime prevention forum, the Association is located under the Provincial Department of Community Safety and Liaison (DCSL), which provides them with support, depending on the availability of material and financial resources. For effectiveness, KZNCCPA has formed alliances with many stakeholders and participant organisations – including the South African Police Services (SAPS) and Community Policing Forums (CPFs) - and formalised these in several memoranda of understanding (MoUs). This study therefore aims at analysing the management of this crime prevention process in KwaZulu-Natal. Using different network management theories to unpack the realities of managing within the KZNCCPA, the study investigated the management style, strategies of collaboration, advantages and challenges endemic at KZNCCPA. Based on the data collected through focus groups observation and document review, the researcher is convinced that different participants who are involved in the KZNCCPA have different views about the challenges of managing policy networks. It also was discovered, in the focus-group interviews, that members of the network do not have sufficient resources to execute their activities and plans. The study also discovered that in addition to many management styles similar to public networks, the KZNCCPA has unique strategies used by the Executive Committee (EC). These included the usage of command and control, instead of consensus, in keeping its member agencies in check. Its closeness to government also ensured that in as much as being part of the association is voluntary; many members were not exactly free to leave the Association for fear of disbandment and de-legitimisation. This reluctance to leave was also associated with advantages of being in the Association; resource-sharing, political clout, technical support from government, as well as recognition. The study concluded by acknowledging some challenges faced by KZNCCPA, and advocating for more information dissemination with regards to networks for crime prevention; given the seriousness of crime in South Africa, and KZN in particular.