Local economic development, industrial policy and sustainable development in South Africa : a critical reflection on three new policy frameworks

Rivett-Carnac, Kate (2008-03)

Thesis (MPhil (School of Public Management and Planning))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This dissertation considers the coherence of the prescriptions contained within three recently released government frameworks: the National Framework for Sustainable Development, National Industrial Policy Framework and National Framework for Local Economic Development. A central assumption in this regard is that a level of coherence in policy prescriptions is necessary for effective and complementary implementation. Each of these frameworks has been developed in the context of renewed commitment from the South African state to halve unemployment and poverty by 2014. It is likely therefore that the frameworks will affect resource allocation with outcomes which will have impacts on South African society at large. Thus coherence is an important consideration. The analysis is undertaken against the background of: - a limited literature review on policy-making (within the broader policy studies field), - a discussion of the political economy of South Africa, and - a consideration of certain key debates within the global ‘development’ discourse. This includes particular reference to the concepts of ‘sustainable development’, ‘industrial development’ and ‘local economic development’ within that discourse. In addition, in order to gain some insight into the policy-making processes that were followed in the production of each of the frameworks, a limited number of key informant interviews was conducted. These interviews highlight certain elements and factors that impacted on the final policy products and the compromises that were reached around policy content. The body of the analysis - a comparative content analysis of the frameworks - is undertaken through a discussion of the manner in which the frameworks deal with four cross-cutting themes. These four cross-cutting themes are: eco-system considerations, social considerations, economic considerations and institutional/ governance considerations. This comparative reading of the frameworks exposes certain divergent policy prescriptions and confirms that disagreement exists within government itself on the country’s desired development path. The conclusion then discusses what is required to put in place a coherent policy making system in South Africa. It is proposed that the accommodation of policy coherence should not come at the expense of diversity and the expression of ‘profanity’ (contestation). The value of deliberative democracy, pluralism and complexity are highlighted in this regard. A number of recommendations are made.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/1848
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