In announcing his cabinet in May, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of efficiency, greater coherence and better co-ordination as the motivations for re-organising government. On the surface these are all good objectives, especially for a country in desperate need of policy coherence, faster economic growth and greater social development. However, caution is called for because international experience with re-organising governments, as well as SA’s own, isn’t great.

Ramaphosa’s announcement and approach to the re-organisation of government already contains the very pitfalls international experience cautions about. The biggest is a lack of a clearly articulated rationale and business case for re-organising government...

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