The implementation of public policies continues to be a serious challenge for the South African public service. Giving the overarching demands for quality public service delivery from the citizens, there is a serious need for the public sector to accelerate implementation of public policies which aimed at promoting the development of society. The primary objective of the research for this study is to critically analyse the policy implementation issues in the provincial government, the special reference is on the social assistance grant policies in the North West provincial government. Subservient to the primary objectives of the research is to highlight and emphasise the pivotal roles of the theory and practices of policy formulation, policy analysis and policy implementation to promote understanding on the factors which contribute towards the effective and efficient formulation and implementation of policies that are aimed at improving the lives of the people in general and those with special needs in particular. The complexities of policy development can be identified as one of the reasons for the delay and complete failure of policy implementation. Failure of policy can also largely be attributed to issues of poor implementation of policies. In addition, it has proven that sometimes policies are set out to achieve too ambitious targets which ultimately fall short of their desired outcome. Absence of policy analysis skills and practice in the provincial governments are also major impediments to the implementation of policies. The poor policy implementation in the North West provincial government is influenced by lack of reliable data and adequate information upon which to make decisions which is a consequence of an inadequate management information system. Moreover, poor policy implementation in the provincial government is as a result of and ascribed to a lack of financial resources, inadequate trained staff, poorly framed policies, target group opposition and underdeveloped bureaucracies which are unable to formulate and plan systematically. The other recurring criticism of poor policy implementation in the North West province is that policy implementation is the orientation towards centralisation. This means that most of the policies and plans are developed in the national government with little consultation with the final implementers. Policies often fail to capture the subtleties of initiatives at grassroots level. The distance of policy makers from practice not only causes problems for the managers of the policy but also creates a lack of harmony among the different elements of the same policy and among machinery of governments which are used to alleviate poverty such as Social Assistance Agency. The imposed national policies and directives to the provincial government without regards to their specific circumstances and without assessing the human and financial resource capacity of the provincial government led to waist of money and a complete failure of the implementation of policy in the province. So to ensure that policy is successfully implemented, there is a need for a guide to the implementation in the form of a public policy implementation variables and policy implementation model in the provincial governments in general and the North West province in particular. Proper policy implementation which include sufficient resources like finance and human resource and effective policy translation, management of policy implementation processes which include accountability and control and human capital development will all ensure a great deal of improvement and success in the policy implementation. Copyright
Dissertation (MAdmin)--University of Pretoria, 2010.