This page highlights ACE’s contribution to supporting the institutionalizing of evidence-based policy-making in South Africa. This effort is implemented in co-production with civil servants and government institutions, in particular the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Policy and Research Services unit in the Presidency.

Evidence-use in the National Policy Development Framework

On 2 December 2020, Cabinet approved the National Policy Development Framework. This is a major milestone for the institutionalisation of evidence-based policy-making in South Africa. ‘Evidence’ is mentioned 116 times in the 33-page document and Appendix E ‘The Practice of Evidence-based policy-making’ outlines a range of institutional procedures to implement in order to enhance evidence-use. ACE compiled an input chapter on evidence-based policy-making in South Africa for the development of the framework. The chapter and associated resources for evidence-based policy-making can be accessed below.

Institutions and structures for Evidence-based Policy-making in South Africa

ACE (2019) Evidence-based Policy-Making in South Africa: using the best available evidence to inform the execution and implementation of the NDP. NPDF Input Paper. ACE: Johannesburg, South Africa. (PDF)

Resources for Evidence-based Policy-making

  • Appendix 1: Overview of research methods (PDF)
  • Appendix 2: Examples of unintended consequences from social programmes (PDF)
  • Appendix 3: Overview of strengths of the evidence assessments (PDF)
  • Appendix 4: Further EBPM capacity-building opportunities (PDF)
  • Appendix 5: Overview of sources of evidence (PDF)
  • Appendix 6: Example of critical appraisal tools (PDF)
  • Appendix 7: Case study 1—Evidence for Democracy (PDF)
  • Appendix 8: Case study 2—Bi-partisan Evidence Standards (PDF)
  • Appendix 9: Case study 3—DPME’s Policy-relevant Evidence Maps (PDF)
  • Appendix 10: Case study 4—The Africa Evidence Network (PDF)
  • Appendix 11: Case study 5—The UJ-BCURE programme (PDF)
  • Appendix 12: Case study 6—DEFF’s Principles and Guidelines for EBPM (PDF)

Evidence Management in the Socio-economic Impact Assessment System

The socio-economic impact assessment system (SEAIS) is a key structure in the policy-making process in South Africa. Embedding the effective and equitable use of evidence within SEIAS is a major institutional anchor for evidence-based policy-making. In order to facilitate the embedding of evidence-use within SEAIS, the Research and Knowledge Management Unit in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has produced an organizational guide on the evidence management for SEIAS. This document presents the technical how-to on connecting various parts of the evidence-use process with the SEIAS process and outlines the institutional capacities and partnerships needed to embed responsive evidence-bases within policy development. The organisational guide can be accessed below:

Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (2021): Evidence management for an effective and efficient Socio-economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS): An organizational guide on using evidence when implementing SEIAS. Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation. Pretoria, South Africa. (PDF)

This work is led by the Research and Knowledge Management Unit in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in person of Harsha Dayal and supported by ACE through the Rapid & Responsive Evidence Partnership. The guide was developed in partnership with the Policy and Research Services unit within the Presidency who provided critical and valuable input during the entire development of the guide.