The company has completed successful projects with the National Treasury (as members of the Technical Assistance Unit TA panel), the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Labour, Department of Education and a number of provincial government departments and sector education authorities. The company has worked with the German Government development agency GTZ, with the National Economic Development and Labour Advisory Council (NEDLAC) and with Palama. The individual members and associates have provided services form a wide range of clients over many years.
The following is a sample of projects in the different focal areas of the company’s work. They are not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to provide case studies of the work that we do.
Sheltered Employment Factories (SEF) Business Case
The Department of Labour (DoL) has responsibility for 12 factories located in seven provinces that employ 1000 workers with disabilities who manufacture furniture, metal products and various textile products. The factories have been in existence since the 1940s, but have not been reviewed and aligned to the national strategy on disability, particularly in relation to current thinking in relation to integration and mainstreaming.
The Department of Labour approached the Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) of the National Treasury to support a review and the development of a business case for a transformed SEF. A Mzabalazo Advisory Services team of twelve was contracted to assist the DoL to conduct a diagnostic, research international practice, produce an options paper on the future of SEF and then develop a transformation plan and business case. The team has:
- Conducted a review of current SEF operations, including plans, products, production processes, policies and procedures, equity, sales and marketing, customer relations, financial planning and management, legal and policy frameworks etc
- Analysed current approaches to the employment of persons with disabilities both within South Africa and internationally
- Presented various options for the government in terms of aligning the policy and practice of the Department of Labour in line with current thinking around integration and mainstreaming
- Currently the various options are being considered and the process of developing a business case is underway. It is anticipated that the work that is being done will inform a change process over the next few years where the factories will take on a new role that is more aligned to the Integrated National Disability Strategy.
Evaluation of blended learning approach to Gender Mainstreaming Programme of Palama
The former South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) has been transformed and re-established as the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (Palama). One of the programmes promoted by government and being reviewed and piloted in a new format by Palama is the Gender Mainstreaming Programme (GMP). This is being relaunched using a blended learning approach, including the development of a Virtual Social Discussion Forum (VSDF), an innovative approach to harnessing ICT and e-learning technologies.
The programme is being piloted using funding provided by the Canadian agency CIDA. Mzabalazo has been contracted to do an initial evaluation of the pilot. The Mzabalazo team is surveying and interviewing participants, conducting focus groups, analysing the content of the VSDF discussions and providing feedback to Palama on possible improvements to the GMP moving forward.
Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency
In 2005 the Mpumalanga Province resolved to merge Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation (MEEC) and the Mpumalanga Investment Initiative (MII). Richard Jewison led a team to facilitate the process of merger and establish MEGA. The work included:
- A diagnostic of MEEC and MII
- The development of a strategic plan and annual performance plans
- The development of an organogram and job descriptions for posts in the new entity
- A revision of HR and Finance policies and procedures
- The management of a process to appoint a new CEO
- The management of a process to match MEEC and MII staff to posts in the new structure
- Facilitating workshops of the new teams to develop operational plans for taking forward the revised strategy and plans of MEGA
The project was carried out over a period of 18 months and concluded with a handover to the new CEO and management team.
Grade R Diagnostic
The Department of Education requested assistance from the Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) of the National Treasury to assess the readiness of the schooling system for implementation of universal Grade R classes in schools by the target 2010 date. TAU appointed the Centre for Education Policy Development, whose team included a number of Mzabalazo members and associates, to conduct research in all provinces. The work involved:
- Examining provincial strategies, plans and budgets
- Assessing classroom and school infrastructure readiness
- Assessing the capacity of educators and other personnel to deliver effective reception year classes as part of the Foundation Phase of schooling
- Looking at materials and other resources that are available to schools for Grade R
- Reviewing the support structures in place to implement and support Grade R
The project was successfully completed in the three months allocated and a comprehensive report was presented and accepted by the Department of Education. It is anticipated that the findings will be used to inform planning for Grade R during 2009 and 2010.
Transformation strategy for the Johannesburg Bar Council
The Johannesburg Bar Council has been attempting to bring about transformation for a number of years. The racial and gender profile of senior council, and the slow progress of black and women advocates to qualify and gain experience to become SCs? is a major problem. A team of Umhlaba Development Services and Mzabalazo Advisory Services members worked with the Bar Council over a three month period, examining:
- The pupillage system and mechanisms for improving pass rates of black advocates entering the profession
- Briefing practices – how more work from legal firms and government can be made available to black advocates
- Ownership, governance and management arrangements and how these might contribute to transformation
- Some of the cultural issues that impact on transformation
- The study culminated in a transformation plan for the Bar Council that is aligned to the sector charter BEE processes.
Macro-policy development and strategic planning for the Department of Home Affairs
As part of the Turnaround Project in Home Affairs a Chief Directorate has been established responsible for Policy and Strategic Planning. Whilst establishing the new Policy Unit there was a need to develop macro policy to inform the strategic plan and annual performance plans (APPs) and to generally implement the work of the Chief Directorate, pending the appointment of staff in the new structure. Mzabalazo Advisory Services was contracted to assist in the following areas:
- Developing and implementing a plan for the establishment of a policy unit, including a review of the organogram and job descriptions
- Putting in place a process and approach to policy development and review within the Department
- Project managing the development of Macro Policy
- Project managing the development of Immigration Policy
- Writing a law enforcement strategy for the National Immigration Branch of the Department
- Supporting the process of developing annual performance plans (APPs)
This work was done over a period of twelve months. The Policy Unit is now established. The Department now has a Macro Policy that is aligned to a Strategic Plan and APPs, which in turn is aligned to the turnaround project.
Development of an ECD strategy for Gauteng Province
The Gauteng Province has been working on the development of an integrated inter-departmental approach to Early Childhood Development and the establishment of an ECD Institute to support integrated service delivery. The Centre for Education Policy Development (CEPD), in partnership with Mzabalazo Advisory Services, was contracted to develop an ECD Strategy that sets out clearly how integrated service delivery will be achieved and the role of the institute. The team:
- Examined plans and approaches in the Departments of Education, Health, Social Development, Sports and Recreation and Libraries, as well as work being done in Municipalities
- Interviewed key role players in ECD in the province from the various departments and spheres of government
- Studied other research and development work that had been commissioned by the province
- Workshopped senior officials on the strategy
- Drafted strategy and reconceptualised the role of the Institute within the strategy
The ECD Strategy was approved and the ECD Institute has now been established.
Evaluation of learning programmes funded by the ETDP SETA
The ETDP SETA promotes, facilitates and funds the delivery of learning programmes in all provinces. The decision was taken to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the programmes, and to appoint providers in each of the nine provinces to evaluate 15 programmes that had been run during 2007 and 2008. CEPD, in partnership with Mzabalazo Advisory Services, was contracted to evaluate programmes in the Western Cape and Northern Cape. The team looked at:
- The purpose of programmes and whether they had achieved the expected outcomes
- The quality of programmes in terms of facilities, educators, materials etc
- The quality of the workplace component
- The process followed by the SETA in implementing, managing and monitoring implementation
Detailed reports were submitted to the SETA, presented to management and approved. It is anticipated that the reports will be used to inform planning within the SETA to improve the quality, accessibility and impact of SETA programmes in the future.
Review of SETA functioning and performance for NEDLAC
NEDLAC constituents – organised employers, organised labour, government and civil society – have been expressing concern for some years about the functioning and performance of Sector Education and Training Authorities. Mzabalazo members and associates were contracted to conduct a review of functioning and performance. The team:
- Analysed and summarised current reports and evaluations of performance
- Interviewed SETA CEOs and other stakeholders
- Workshopped officials in the Department of Labour responsible for supporting and monitoring SETA performance
- Workshopped the findings with the NEDLAC constituents
- Identified key areas of intervention required from government, stakeholders and NEDLAC in order to address the weaknesses identified
A report was presented that was supported by stakeholders. It is anticipated that the report will be used to review SETAs as part of the reestablishment process taking place in 2009 and 2010.
Before joining Mzabalazo Advisory Services members have been involved in a range of work projects. Some of the most recent work is listed below, by member’s name.
- Restructured the Dora Tamana Cooperative Centre (DTCC), involving the reconstitution of the Board, appointment of a Director and managers, and the development of a strategic plan
- Facilitated the development of a business plan for the Inkululeku Media and Marketing Co-operative (IMMC)
- Developed a practical guide and training manual for regionally based staff in the Department of Home Affairs in the processing of late birth registrations
- Facilitated a strategic planning session, and wrote a strategic plan for, the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA)
- Developed a conference paper for the Nedlac Community Constituency on Sustainable Livelihoods
- Researched and wrote a GTZ sponsored paper on skills development in the second economy presented at the 2007 National Skills Development Conference of the Department of Labour
- Drafted a National Policy Framework for Teacher Education for the Department of Education arising from the Ministerial Committee into Teacher Education findings and report
- As a member of the establishment team of the ETDP SETA, the development of structures, systems, job descriptions and policies for approval by the newly constituted board
- As Skills Planning Manager of the ETDP SETA drafted the first Sector Skills Plan for the period 2000-2005
- As Learnerships and Skills Programmes Manager in the ETDP SETA developed a manual on the process of registering and implementing learnerships.
- Country capacity builder for University of Jos and University of Ibadan for the Partnership for Higher Education Educational Technology Initiative (PHEA ETI)
- Evaluated Gauteng Online Training
- Data collection for Nokia mobile learning for Grade 9 and 10 Maths project
- Data analysis and report writing for SARUA baseline study on SADC universities
- HESA study on roles of the educator in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS. Data collection and write up at FET colleges, primary and secondary schools
- Desk researched and report writing the education and FET college system in South Africa South African for the e-Education Initiative Feasibility study
- Policy analysis and write up on how South African policy makes provision for and encourages ICT in education and where it inhibits it for the South African e-Education Initiative Feasibility Study
- Intel and Microsoft – Involved in researching and writing sector reports for Local Government and SAPS for the South African Digital Inclusion concept paper
- Conceptualized and designed a study to evaluate the UNESCO Portal on Higher Education Institutions. Analysed the data and wrote a report for this evaluation
- Analysis of scarce and critical skills for the advertising, printing and packaging sectors. Mappp Seta
- Desk Research for Country Needs Analysis for Uganda, Ghana and Egypt and country visit to Uganda for the Nepad eschools business planning. Uganda country visit for stakeholder workshops and interviews. Write up on country strategies for Uganda, Mauritius, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa