NSI Researcher’s Op-Ed on Civil Service Reforms Featured in Global Government Forum


Rafael Leite, an associated researcher of the New South Institute (NSI), has recently contributed a new article to the Global Government Forum. This publication adds to the body of work produced by NSI associates on this platform.

In his article, Leite conducts an examination of senior civil service reforms, not only focusing on well-documented practices in developed countries but also considering lessons from nations of the global south. This approach recognises the value of comparative research and mutual learning across these regions.

Leite’s text outlines several points, including the significant role of civil service professionalization for emerging democracies, notably South Africa. He cites examples of senior civil service reforms in countries such as Chile, South Korea, Peru, Portugal, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Indonesia. These cases illustrate the adoption of merit-based selection processes, the formation of robust frameworks for recruitment and development, the involvement of the private sector for innovation, and the prioritization of transparency in decision-making processes.

These insights complement NSI’s existing focus on public service reform. NSI’s research agenda includes fostering dialogue on how similar reforms might be implemented in South Africa, where potential reform plans have been discussed, including the role of the Public Service Commission and the National School of Government.

Leite also addresses challenges to reform. Among these are the requirement to build consensus among stakeholders, the need to balance political oversight with administrative autonomy, and the importance of clear regulations and ethical guidelines when engaging the private sector.

We encourage the readership of NSI to explore Leite’s article on the Global Government Forum. We hope this piece, along with others from NSI associates, can provide valuable insights into improving public service in South Africa and other countries in the global south.

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