Tracing the policy-making process of the Internship Policy (2004) within the Msunduzi Municipality.
This qualitative study aimed at exploring the policy-making process of the Internship Policy (2004) within the Msunduzi Municipality. The context of this policy is in the domain of education, with emphasis on skills development. This study applied the functional policy stages model to the Msunduzi Municipality Internship Policy (2004), using the policy cycle as a model for analysis, with the purpose of describing and understanding it better. This study will contribute in the public policy field and assist service providers and policy-makers in government with a better understanding of the dynamic realities of the policy-making process. A qualitative research method was used. In-depth interviews and key informant interviews were conducted with Human Resources Development Management Committee members, Human Resources Support Managers, Sound Governance and Human Resources Management Committee members and former training officer (Policy Champion) - to collect data, together with an analysis of secondary data of policy literature and publications on national policy frameworks of internships and skills development. The analysis used the models of policy processes to frame the discussion of the research findings. Content analysis was used to analyse data, with research findings categorized into themes. Those themes were: definitions of the internship programme within the Msunduzi Municipality, policy agenda setting, policy formulation, policy decision-making, policy implementation and policy evaluation. It emerged from this study that the internship programme is not a new phenomenon in the Msunduzi Municipality; it has been in existence since 1998, operating informally without a codified policy. The Skills Development Act No. 97 of 1998 and its implementation frameworks – the National Skills Development Strategy for South Africa (1997), the Human Resources Development Strategy for South Africa (2002); the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) (2000); the Public Service Act (1994); Public Service Regulations (2001); Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) and the relevant white papers informed and supported the establishment and implementation of internship programmes in the Msunduzi Municipality. The problems of the previous internship programmes and political motives from Councillors and staff acknowledging the need for having a formal codified policy to govern the functioning of the internship programme in the Msunduzi Municipality merged and created a new policy agenda. Developing the Msunduzi Municipality Internship Policy (2004) was an alternative and it was approved as a final policy after several discussions and consultations. It is implemented by strategic business units and utilizes the bottom-up approach. The weakness that the Msunduzi Municipality Internship Policy (2004) has in its policy document is that it lacked an evaluation strategy, which is problematic because there are no set objectives that have to be followed during the evaluation process.