The Paradox of Reform: A response to the Ramaphosa government’s proposal for professionalising the public service
This report analyses the National Implementation Framework towards the Professionalisation of the Public Service presented in 2020 by the ANC-led Ramaphosa administration. The report is based on the civil service reform literature, discussing the advances that this document represents in the South African context. It argues that the Framework is a valuable contribution to the debate on state modernisation in South Africa for its support of boundary-setting between politics and administration as a determinant of good government. It also argues that while the government’s proposal includes a welcome emphasis on the positive effects of merit systems on state capacity building, the Framework has important limitations that make it an inadequate instrument for guiding a consistent reform process.