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The search for a method to unpack urban complexity: Case study of the City of Johannesburg

Lewis Ndhlovu, Laila Smith, Stephen Narsoo

African Evaluation Journal; Vol 5, No 1 (2017), 11 pages. doi: 10.4102/aej.v5i1.195

Submitted: 18 November 2016
Published:  24 July 2017


Background: The City of Johannesburg (COJ) provides services to approximately 5 million people; yet the elements of monitoring and evaluation remain a missing link in the design and implementation of programmes. This was the case even after the introduction of the monitoring and evaluation framework in 2012. This case study is filling an empirical gap.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to understand the policies, practices and use of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in tracking the performance of the City towards meeting its long-term developmental plans.
Method: A mixed methods approach was used to gather quantitative data from 54 senior M&E officials. This was complemented with qualitative data drawn from in-depth interviews and focus group discussions conducted during three workshops with M&E officials.
Results: The study reveal a number of weaknesses: poor integration of M&E practices in planning, budgeting, service delivery and policy development oversight. The inter-governmental institutional environment and various committees and utility boards has resulted in extensive resources being devoted to compliance reporting. Consequently, the foundations for building an evaluation system have been neglected.
Conclusion: The five-dimension complexity model was found to be a useful organising framework for effectively evaluating the city’s M&E capacity. These findings form the first phase of an intervention that will inform the second phase targeted at building the foundations for a city-wide evaluation system.

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Author affiliations

Lewis Ndhlovu, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa (CLEAR AA), Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Laila Smith, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa (CLEAR AA), Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Stephen Narsoo, Kite Capital (Pty) Ltd, South Africa


Complexity Theory; Monitoring & Evaluation; Capacity Building


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ISSN: 2310-4988 (print) | ISSN: 2306-5133 (online)

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