Off Track? Findings from South Africa’s First APRM Implementation Report

Image: Flickr, waf1on1
Image: Flickr, waf1on1

This paper summarises and analyses the First Report on the Implementation of South Africa’s African Peer Review Mechanism Programme of Action (Implementation Report).

Although the Implementation Report was initially praised at the African Union Summit in January 2009, a closer look reveals many of its faults and deficiencies. It appears that the report was rushed in order to meet a deadline, which is evident from its inconsistencies, contradictions and errors. Instead of discussing the progress and achievements made in response to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Programme of Action (NPoA), the Implementation Report mostly notes accomplishments since the end of apartheid and the country’s democratic transition in 1994. Their inclusion and a lack of evidence on NPoA progress cause the Implementation Report to lose focus, as a result of which it fails to provide an adequate assessment of the work done on implementing the NPoA. This paper also attempts to analyse the context within which the Implementation Report was written, which includes the changing and restructuring of government; a change of personnel and loss of institutional memory in the national APRM structures; controversies arising from the country’s APRM Review itself; and, finally, South Africa’s self-perceived exceptionalism on governance matters in Africa. The author concludes by making recommendations to improve the implementation of the APRM in South Africa.

SAIIA sincerely thanks those who acted as peer reviewers for this paper.

19 Jan 2010