Recent Projects

The following is a sample of the company’s recent work.

Teacher salary structure review

The Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) commissioned a team of specialists led by the CEPD to review the current salary structure for educators and to make recommendations for a revised salary structure and system. The team, including Michele Berger, Richard Jewison and Monica Mawoyo from Mzabalazo Advisory Services and MAS associate Helen Perry: conducedt an analysis of the current salary system, analysed trends in the movement of salaries since 1994; conducted a comparative study of teacher salary systems internationally; develop scenarios, models and options, and make a recommendation for a revised salary system in the future. The study concluded that the salary structure itself was sound, with salary ranges for all educator grades being suited to the needs of the system. However movement with the salary system was restrictive and not conducive to rewarding good performance, retaining experienced and specialist teachers in the classroom or promoting professionalism. The study made a number of recommendations for the stakeholders to consider in future salary negotiations.

Establishing a Policy Unit in Home Affairs

The Department of Home Affairs contracted Mzabalazo Advisory Services to assist in the establishment of a Policy Unit within the Policy and Strategic Management Chief Directorate. The role of the unit is to support and facilitate policy development processes across the department. Currently the unit is supporting a review of Immigration Policy. The work involved analysing policy needs, developing policy processes and guidelines, designing structures and posts, and providing support to those managing policy processes. The purpose was not to manage or be responsible for policy itself, but to build capacity within the Department to develop policy in a professional and well managed way. The outcome of this work has been the establishment of a policy unit that is now fully functional and taking the review of Immigration policy forward. Whilst the Department will continue to contract external service providers to assist in policy processes, such processes will in future be managed and largely conducted internally. Mzabalazo Advisory Services, whilst researching and conducting data analysis to inform the policy process, did this in support of policy unit staff, who took ownership of, and responsibility for, the policy options and recommendations emerging from the research.

Reviewing SABCOHA strategy

The SA Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS asked Richard Jewison to assist in research and facilitation of processes to develop a new strategy. With the change in approach to HIV and AIDS within government, and the increasing international support for initiatives in South Africa to manage the pandemic, the organisation’s focus is reviewing its role, objectives, structure and funding model. The aim is to build SABCOHA into a sustainable organisation that has a significant impact throughout the country and in all size of businesses. The purpose of the strategy review is to ensure that all the resources of the organisation are aligned to agreed objectives. This work resulted in a new strategic plan being approved by the SABCOHA board, a three year Balanced Scorecard, operational plans aligned to the strategy and a planning and reporting system that will enable the CEO and the Board to monitor performance against the targets in the plan.

Review of language of learning and teaching in Gauteng Schools

Gauteng Education Department contracted a CEPD-led team, including three Mzabalazo Advisory Services members, to research and make recommendations on the implementation of the national policy on language use in schools. There were five focal areas for the research, namely: home language as the language of learning and teaching; home language as a subject; second language learning and teaching (whilst maintaining and strengthening the home language); third language learning and teaching; multi-lingualism as promoted and practiced in schools. The research team employed a variety of research methodologies, including stratified random sampling and case studies. The aim was to help policy makers understand the practical implementation issues associated with language policy so that guidelines can be issued to school governing bodies and capacity challenges can be addressed.

The research culminated in a report and recommendations for adopting a more strategic and interventionist approach to the language challenge.

Feasibility study for an electronics cluster in Upington

The Department of Science and Technology contract associate company Redflank to conduct a study into the feasibility of establishing an electronics cluster or hub in Upington, leveraging employment growth from a number of developments taking place in the area. The DST wanted to explore whether the MeerKat telescope project, the planned Solar Park and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) developments could become a catalyst for employment generation – in other words not allow a situation where there was excessive reliance on imported goods and skills. Redflank asked Mzabalazo Advisory Services members to be part of the team focussing on the enablement environment and in particular the role of government, universities, colleges and skills development. The report concluded that there is the potential for job creation in electronics and related industries, and recommended a plan of action for establishing the cluster.

An important learning from this project has been that it is possible for government to intervene in the economy, and that the developmental state is a real possibility, provided certain challenges are addressed. The challenges include the compartmental or silo nature of government across the three tiers, the difficulties in achieving a coordinated mobilisation of resources, and the critical need for local ownership and buy in, within the context of a nationally driven project. If these challenges can be addressed and resources can be mobilised speedily there is little doubt that large scale infrastructure projects such as those planned in the Northern Cape, can provide the basis of extensive employment creation and industrial infrastructure development.

MTT NSDSII discretionary fund audit

The Minister of Higher Education appointed a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) to look into SETA functioning and performance. The MTT appointed CEPD to conduct research into how SETAs had used the funds available to them (called discretionary funds in terms of the Skills Development Act) to achieve NSDSII (2005-2011) skills development goals. Mzabalazo Advisory Services managed the project on behalf of CEPD, including data collection, visits to all 21 SETAs, interviews with senior managers and extensive data analysis. A report was submitted that identified a number of challenges in both the levy-grant system as it has evolved in South Africa, and in the way that SETAs plan and implement programmes to address scarce and critical skills needs. The report makes a series of recommendations in relation to: funding and financial management; the focus of discretionary funded training; policies, systems and processes for achieving NSDS and SETA goals; provider selection and the quality management of training; and Monitoring and Evaluation both within SETAs and within DHET.

Services SETA Sector Skills Plan and Strategic Plan

Services SETA was placed under administration and CEPD was approached to assist the Administrator in a review of plans. Mzabalazo Advisory Services supported CEPD in researching the services sector, critiquing current plans and supporting SSETA managers to conduct a comprehensive review of the various plans SETAs are required to have in place. It was agreed that SSETA staff would do the actual research work and would be part of various teams focussing on different aspects of plans. The CEPD/MAS team then helped plan the work, train and support SSETA staff, oversee data gathering, assist in the analysis of data, facilitate strategy development and quality assure the plans as they were developed.

A revised Sector Skills Plan was submitted in February 2012, together with a revised Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan. These plans repositioned the SSETA and provided the basis for restructuring and rebuilding of the SETA in line with the requirements of NSDSIII. CEPD/MAS is continuing to support the SSETA so as to ensure that the 2012 review of SSP, SP and APP are thoroughly researched and that newly appointed managers are supported in the development of divisional plans that are being monitored and managed to achieve SSETA strategic goals. The final phase of the CEPD/MAS work is to provide handover reports to senior managers as they are appointed and to provide advice and support in managing change and addressing outstanding challenges.

Working for Fisheries project in the Western Cape

In 2011 – 2012, Mzabalazo Advisory Services was contracted by the National Treasury TAU to assist the Fisheries Branch of DAFF to develop a framework for managing the Working for Fisheries Programme, which is funded by the Expanded Public Works Programme. MAS conducted a comprehensive diagnostic review based on:

  • Key stakeholder analysis
  • A review of government policies and programmes pertaining to the EPWP
  • A review of project documentation, including Memoranda of Agreement (MoAs) and Business Plans
  • Interviews with the staff in the WFFP Project Management Office (PMO) and line function and support services senior managers
  • Observations of WFFP project induction workshops
  • Site visits to selected projects
  • Information sharing sessions with senior managers in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) Branch Environmental Programmes (formerly the Branch Natural Resources Management – NRM), focusing on the Working on Fire and other ‘Working for’ projects
  • Follow up interview with a NRM senior manager
  • Meeting with the acting Deputy Director General (DDG) Fisheries to introduce the TAU team, introduce the project and highlight project objectives, share initial observations and findings, and consider programme activities going forward.
  • The diagnostic was used to develop A Guide and Action Plan to align the Working for Fisheries Programme to the Expanded Public Works Environment & Culture Sector Programmes. This guide and action plan can be used to inform a management framework and tools for the WFFP.

White Paper on Post-School Education & Training

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, appointed a writing team in 2011 to begin writing a new, Green Paper on post-school education and training. The Green Paper provided a vision for a single, coherent, differentiated and highly articulated post-school education and training system. In 2012, and after receiving extensive comments from stakeholders in higher education and the greater public, the writing team began the process of drafting the White Paper on post-school education and training. This process is currently underway and Mzabalazo via two of its members, Michele Berger and Nadya Bhagwan who have been and are part of the writing team, have been been extensively engaged in the process from the beginning.

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