SAIIA Head: African Governance and Diplomacy Programme Steven Gruzd

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in South Africa needs reinvigoration, says the South African Institute on International Affairs (SAIIA).

Reflecting on 14 years of APRM in the country at the two-day High Level Brainstorming Session on Thursday in Pretoria, SAIIA Head: African Governance and Diplomacy Programme Steven Gruzd said APRM is peripheral due to other competing initiatives

He said APRM is used as a foreign policy more than as a domestic exercise…that it is not seen as really for SA, but for others.

According to Gruzd, it is unclear how APRM informs policy, budgets in South Africa that APRM seems to be alive during reporting periods only.

“It is rarely mentioned in President’s and Ministers’ speeches; there is also lack of media attention and public awareness; and the National Development Plan (NDP) does not allude to the APRM,” he said.

However, he said all is not doom and gloom to link South Africa’s government programme of action to the APRM programmes.

SAIIA recommendations                                                                 

  • APRM needs a champion, reinvigoration
  • Explain to SA public why APRM matters
  • Clearly articulate the value added by first review, and what governance change it promoted
  • Well-planned and executed media strategy
  • Branding, marketing and public relations vital
  • Conduct an open, transparent, non-politicised process and report, respond to citizens
  • Adequately fund the process for maximum consultationThe APRM is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by AU member States as an African self-monitoring mechanism. The APRM was adopted by African Heads of State and Government as a systematic peer learning and self-assessment mechanism originating from the NEPAD foundational document, the “Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance” adopted in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa.
  • The APRM is often described as “Africa’s unique and innovative approach to governance” with the objective of improving governance dynamics at the local, national and continental levels.
  • Public Service and Administration Minister, Senzo Mchunu is leading the Brainstorming Session under theme: “Renewing and Strengthening the South African APRM Process.”