Doctoral Degrees (School of Public Leadership)

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    Towards an enabling policy and governance framework for the sustainable extraction of unconventional natural gas in South Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2024-03) de Wet, Marion; Burger, Johan; De Wit, Martin; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Leadership.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: The effectiveness of an enabling public policy and governance framework to facilitate the sustainability, and sustainable development implications, of unconventional gas resources in the South African context is underexplored. This study aims to contribute to the broader body of literature on sustainability and sustainable exploration and production of indigenous unconventional natural gas. Yet, amidst the prevailing policy uncertainty to guide the orderly and sustainable development of an emerging upstream unconventional natural gas sector, the government’s desire to increase indigenous natural gas’ footprint in the primary energy mix towards achieving energy security is underpinned by global environmental concerns relating to carbon footprint reduction. As such, the ideal domestic energy mix should be reliant on a balanced combination of renewable energy sources, conventional fuels, and natural gas. The goal is to achieve energy security whilst simultaneously addressing global environmental concerns and reducing the country’s carbon footprint. By incorporating natural gas as a transitional energy source, South Africa can thus pave the way for a more sustainable and greener energy future. The overarching aim of this study is therefore to develop a cogent, evidence-based policy and governance framework that might be used as an industry best practice standard that will contribute towards the sustainable extraction of unconventional natural gas in South Africa, for when development of this nascent industry occurs. The sustainable extraction of unconventional gas is a complex techno-commercial, economic and ecological balancing act that requires commitment from government, private sector, civil society and relevant research institutions. Supporting and developing indigenous unconventional natural gas is a key government imperative, despite widespread concerns surrounding negative ecological and social impacts. Drawing upon a multidisciplinary framework that incorporates environmental, social, and economic dimensions, this study looks to evaluate the potential benefits and risks associated with the sustainable development of this finite natural resource. This study therefore investigates the complex interplay between sustainability, sustainable development as a basis for sustainable unconventional gas extraction practices, public policy analysis, stakeholder theory and various related governance concepts. The research links various theoretical perspectives and concepts to produce a holistic understanding of challenges and opportunities associated with developing the nascent South African unconventional natural gas industry. Public policy analysis plays a vital role in shaping the regulatory landscape. For the purpose of this study, statutory frameworks governing unconventional natural gas exploration in South Africa were assessed for effectiveness in facilitating the orderly sustainable development of the industry. Existing policies, regulations, legislation and best practices in the industry were critically analysed to identify gaps and recommend strategies for enhancing sustainability in an endeavour to minimise negative externalities. The study further identified areas of convergence and divergence that influence the sector’s sustainable outcomes by scrutinising the alignment between relevant government policy objectives, key stakeholder expectations and sustainable development goals. Stakeholder theory provides the conceptual foundation for understanding the diverse interests, concerns and power dynamics surrounding unconventional natural gas extraction activities. By adopting stakeholder-centric rationality, the research generated a comprehensive understanding of the complex network of relationships that influence the governance and decision-making processes related to unconventional natural gas exploration and production. The efficacy of managing social, environmental, and economic impacts of natural gas upstream activities relies on enabling governance mechanisms. Opportunities were identified to enhance transparency, accountability, and stakeholder participation in relevant decision-making processes by assessing the effectiveness of relevant governance frameworks. This research contributes to the existing body of knowledge as it provides a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainable indigenous unconventional natural gas extraction. The collective findings enrich the existing literature by synergistically weaving together diverse theoretical perspectives encompassing sustainability, sustainable development, public policy, stakeholder theory, governance, and a meticulous examination of statutory frameworks. Additionally, the research culminated in an evidence-based, integrated ESG-focused policy and governance framework to guide orderly and sustainable extraction of unconventional natural gas in South Africa.
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    The legitimacy of different conservation approaches in a transboundary protected area system
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Du Plessis, Sandra; Muller, Kobus ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Leadership.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: This dissertation presents an interdisciplinary study of two park buffer systems, positioned in a larger transfrontier conservation system in Southern Africa. The first case study concerns the Makuleke community in South Africa who were empowered by winning back rights to their traditional land in the Kruger National Park (KNP) from which they had been evicted. The second case study concerns the displaced Xingwedzi community, across the border in Mozambique, who have been disempowered by losing the rights to their traditional land as a result of the Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL)/Limpopo National Park being proclaimed. Examining the empowered and the disempowered populations situated in the same transboundary protected area provided the researcher with insights into issues of power, equity and justice related to the different governance arrangements that parks implement for natural resource protection. Institutional theory provides the main orientation of the study. A mixed methodology approach was utilised to gather data from a variety of sources associated with each resource regime. First, the historical context of past resource regimes at both national and local level was examined to determine how the historical institutions influence the current governance systems. Vatn’s (2015) Environmental Governance Framework (EGS) was utilised to analyse the interplay between the institutional and cognitive processes and the attributes of the protected areas (PAs) and the ways they influenced a set of outcomes. The outcomes analysed include (i) the state of conflict between the park and the local actors, (ii) the local attitudes towards the protected areas according to local actors, (iii) the sense of well-being of local actors in the communal areas, and finally (iv) the perceived viability of the natural resource protection strategies in each protected area. Lastly, the criteria of input and output legitimacy were applied to evaluate both procedural justice and distributive justice of the current park buffer governance structures. The findings reveal that remnants of traditional governance systems from previous resource regimes are still influential in both cases. Regression models show that giving legal rights to producer communities to access benefits from PAs is associated with lower levels of conflict as well as better protection of natural resources in the PA. The findings of this study indicate that the provision of key social services, such as access to clean water, inside or nearby the villages of the affected communities is associated with a local sense of well-being and good relations between the park and the community members. However, the temporality and fragility of infrastructure means that manmade capital is rarely able to provide the same level of accumulated social services in the long term as fully functioning natural systems. It is concluded that it is not the material goods or technology that ultimately facilitates the affected communities’ survival, needs and dignity in the new area to which they resettle. It is rather the institutional environment that is key to achieving distributive justice. Giving those communities who are ancestrally connected to the PA land legal rights to benefits, which are compatible with conservation objectives, is therefore the most critical component of PA compensation programmes.
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    Developing a results-based monitoring and evaluation system for the child support grants programme in Namibia
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Nshimyimana, Brigitte; Rabie, Babette; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Leadership.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Results-focused Monitoring and Evaluation (RBM&E) systems are critical to support informed strategic policy-making, planning, budgeting, management and improvement and informed reporting that contributes to accountability and integrity. The systematic development of an RBM&E system balances the demand for practical, accurate and reliable information to support policy and program implementation decisions with the accompanying cost and capacity implications of developing the system. A well-developed monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system requires proper planning, efficient management and sufficient resources for maintenance and sustainability. It is important that monitoring and evaluation systems are institutionalized to effectively support the long-term development mandates of the government so that the accepted results can be successfully delivered. Institutionalized M&E systems ensure consistent approaches to measuring development results and identifying any deviations. This study identifies a limitation in the available M&E data that measures the realized outcomes for the beneficiaries of cash transfer programs in support of child well-being in Namibia. The problem is addressed by (a) a literature review of concepts, theories and context for RBM&E systems that identify best practices that can be applied in the development of the RBM&E system for the child support grants (CSG) program; b) an assessment of the Namibian public sector RBM&E policy frameworks given international best practice guidelines in the development of such systems; c) identifying the mechanisms and intended results of cash transfer programs, including the objectives, implementation plan and intended child welfare outcomes; (d) a historical overview of child support monitoring and evaluation practices in the Namibian context; e) the assessment of the applicability of the existing RBM&E system for the CSG program as administered by the relevant Ministry; (f) the development of an improved RBM&E system for the child support grant program in Namibia and similar contexts; and (g) further recommendations for policy makers, administrative officers and academic researchers contributing to the improvement of RBM&E systems for child sensitive cash transfer programs. The study adopts an exploratory, descriptive and explanatory qualitative design given the specific aim and objectives. A comprehensive review of the existing M&E processes in the public sector development programs is supported by an analysis of the intended outcomes of cash transfer programs that promote child well-being. Existing indicators and theories of change that focus on the desired improvement in child welfare are analyzed. The empirical part of the study assesses the suitability of the existing RBM&E for the CSG program as currently in operation in the Namibian Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. The study lead to the development of an improved RBM&E system for the CSG program in Namibia and similar contexts. The improved RBM&E system is further improved by input from specifically selected program managers and officers from the Directorate: Social Protection who are responsible for the implementation of the CSG programme, as well as managers and officers from the Directorate: Policy Planning and Research who are responsible for M&E in the Ministry. The proposed RBM&E system for the CSG program in Namibia provides valuable insight for cash transfer programs supporting child welfare in similar contexts. The study describes in detail the steps for the development of an RBM&E system, the creation of institutional support, the development of outcome-oriented indicators, requirements for data collection, verification and storage as well as reporting, the application of M&E information and creating sufficient financial and further capacity for the successful implementation of the RBM&E system.
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    Participatory budgeting to foster inclusivity, transparency and accountability in local government : a case of the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Kraai, Sonya Delene; Zwelinzima, Ndevu; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public Leadership.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: This study investigates participatory budgeting (PB) in the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, focusing on public participation, resource allocation, and good governance. In addition, it investigates the degree to which it is used as a bottom-up strategy and the involvement of civil society. This study highlighted the importance of meaningful discussion within participatory governance systems in local governments. It demonstrates the applicability of the available mechanisms as well as the necessity of enhancing participatory budgeting at the local level. Virtuous municipalities involve the public early in the process and during the crucial debate and discussion stages. A straightforward legislative procedure does not ensure the effective implementation of participatory governance. As a result, this study adds a fresh perspective on the stages of participatory budgeting design, an original framework, and unique characteristics like mainstreaming participatory budgeting to the ongoing discussion. Therefore, the results of this inquiry may be useful in supporting public servants in making decisions regarding how to construct and develop the entire participatory budgeting process to increase trust. This study acknowledges that integrated development planning and participatory budgeting are frequently confounded in Local Government. The municipality is expected to ascribe a moral and a legal obligation to the communities they serve by involving them in determining, prioritising, and implementing socio-economic development planning. Along with municipal plans, PB should be implemented in municipal governments through a stage process that is structured within a framework to accomplish this goal. The assessment of relevant literature acknowledges that rationality, public reason and justification, decision-making, public participation, and a supporting public sector are all components of deliberative democracy. Deliberate PB emphasises the need for adequate levels of citizen participation in democratic debates for participatory budgeting to be effective. To comprehend participatory budgeting in local government, the use of a single case study of Ekurhuleni experiences in PB included the adoption of qualitative research methodologies, such as online surveys with open-ended questions and primary data sources. Data triangulation was an essential step in guaranteeing that the case study would accurately assess the participant's views and provide a rich data that assist in responding to the study aim. Findings from this study reveal the lack of community participation in the budget processes, the importance of budget information and transparency, and the fundamentals of the political will in a democratic society to strengthen democracy and good governance. The findings also revealed that ward committee members lack the skills and expertise to discuss and interpret the budget of the CEMM. Thus, the case study concludes and suggests measures to cultivate a participation ethos in the budget process. The recommendation concerning institutional capacity building may assist in upskilling ward committee members and public officials. Additionally, the suggestion for the CEMM to invest in more sophisticated planning and technical tools may secure more precise and pertinent data and statistics during the analysis phase of ward priorities. An innovative PB framework is recommended as a contribution to strengthening participatory budgeting in the CEMM.
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    Label-dependent splitting for multi-label data
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Muller, Annegret; Steel, S. J.; Sandrock, T.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Statistics and Actuarial Science.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Multi-label classification problems arise in scenarios where every data case can be associated with multiple labels simultaneously. Compared to single-label data, multi-label data possess unique characteristics which result in additional challenges when analysing the data. The aim of this dissertation is to address two of these challenging aspects of multi-label data. The first is the exploitation of label correlations to achieve accurate classification of unseen data cases. Secondly, strategies for input variable ranking within multi-label data are considered to allow for more interpretable results. Effective exploitation of correlation amongst labels can be a vital attribute of an accurate multilabel classification method. However, label correlations are not necessarily shared globally by all data cases. Despite this, existing methods mostly focus on global exploitation of label correlations. Therefore, a new tree-based ensemble method for multi-label classification is proposed in this dissertation, Label-Dependent splitting (LDsplit). LDsplit aims to implicitly exploit local higher-order label correlations within multi-label data by dividing the data into subgroups. The algorithm fits an ensemble of trees based on differently ordered label subsets. For each tree, different labels are used at different levels of the tree, as determined by the label order applicable to that tree. The tree-levels are made up of nodes that are split using any binary classifier. Since a tree-level depends on its label as well as previous splits made when parent nodes were formed using other labels, higher-order label correlations are implicitly incorporated into the model in a simple manner. Depending on whether random or predetermined label orders are used to fit the ensemble, either Random LDsplit or Conditional LDsplit is fit. An extensive empirical study is performed on a range of multi-label benchmark datasets. The empirical evidence shows that despite the simple framework, both Random LDsplit and Conditional LDsplit offer very competitive classification performance in comparison with existing multi-label classification methods. For multi-label data, an input variable is globally important if it is deemed important for several or all labels. However, an input variable can also be deemed locally important for a specific label. Few proposals for input variable ranking within multi-label data consider both global and local importance of variables. Moreover, existing methods mostly neglect to exploit label dependencies within the data. Therefore, different ways are outlined how an LDsplit ensemble can produce global and local input variable rankings and effectively allow for better interpretation of the data. Results obtained from synthetically generated multi-label datasets demonstrate that both the novel global and local importance measures give favourable performance.