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Edition 21 / May 2015

Progress: February-March 2015

This update coincides with the end of the government financial year. Between February and March a number of evaluations were completed and one served in cabinet. Seven evaluations have now served before Cabinet with very intensive debates on each. We highlight one evaluation which has been approved and made public recently.

This is an exciting time as findings go public and we move into the improvement phase.


Evaluation Update summarises progress with government evaluations in South Africa, led by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the Presidency. 

Evaluations milestones

13 evaluations are completed to date and 37 are at different stages. For the first time at the beginning of a financial year most evaluations for the next cycle were in preparation phase.  

Table: 1 Status of evaluations as at February 2015

Approved reports Improvement plans being implemented Served at Cabinet Research underway TORs approved Preparation stage Stuck
13 10 7 8 18 9 2

Implementation Evaluation of the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) Programme

EMIA is a key programme of Government’s support to boost export and investment. The programme has been implemented since 1997 with an objective to develop export markets for South African products and services, and to attract new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The purpose of the evaluation was to establish if the programme is achieving its intended objectives. The valuation found that from 2009/10 to 2012/13, EMIA assisted 6 766 exporting enterprises, paid out claims to a total value of R510 million and created a total of 24 802 jobs. The evaluation also found that users of the scheme are satisfied with the administration and implementation of the scheme, and clear guidelines are in place for both the application and selection processes, as well as the disbursement of funds.  Moreover, roughly 35% of firms assisted are majority HDI-owned and just over one-quarter of firms are majority women-owned. Youth are substantially less represented among EMIA participants, with only 7% of firms surveyed majority-owned by youth.

The evaluation also found that many firms are able to access the incentives despite not being export ready and therefore the incentives do not actually assist these in diversifying their exports. However the evaluation concluded that findings on the successes of EMIA should be treated as indicative owing to data limitations.  Moreover, there were no targets for many of the EMIA incentives, which makes adjudication about the success of the programme difficult. The main evaluation recommendations include refining the design of the programme, improving the implementation processes and establishing electronic monitoring systems and processes.

The evaluation was approved by the Steering Committee on 12 June 2014. The Department of Trade and industry approved the improvement Plan on 6 January 2015. The report was tabled at Cabinet on 21 February 2015. The evaluation report can be accessed here

Policies and guidelines

There are 18 guidelines and templates on the website. These can be accessed here. A guideline on contracting and one on evaluation ethics are currently under development. We continue to request for useful material on evaluation ethics to be sent to Jabu Mathe at

News on capacity development

  • Developing evaluation capacity to support institutionalisation of evaluations in government remains an important part of our work. In this period we ran training for service providers to enhance capacity to develop and use Theories of Change, which we use as a basis for our evaluations. 
  • A service provider (Foundation for Professional Development) has been commissioned to run the 3 basic evaluation training courses, nationally and supporting provinces.
  • Work is also underway in collaboration with the CLEARA-AA initiative to review the lessons from the training we have conducted to date and to develop a capacity building strategy for the country. 
  • DPME delivered a module on the MPhil in Public Policy and Practice at UCT, focusing on the use of planning, M&E as part of change processes. 
  • For further details contact Christel Jacob at   

Support for Planning Implementation Programmes

  • DPME is to launch a call in May 2015 for proposals for an Audit of Programmes, which will assess how many programmes there are in a number of departments, and the state of those programmes. 
  • In addition an evaluation is starting on government-wide planning frameworks (Framework for: Strategic and Annual Performance Plans, FMPPI). This will incorporate the linkage with implementation programmes.
  • For any questions on this contact Antonio Hercules

Quality Assurance

  • The second contract for the quality assessment of evaluations is underway, funded by DFID. There are over 100 evaluations in the Repository, of which 90 passed the minimum of 3. For details contact Mark Everett at
  • An assignment on professionalization of evaluation is currently underway in partnership with SAMEA, using funds from DFID. For details contact Jabu Mathe at
  • The evaluability assessment developed for DPME by Wits University has been completed. This was tested on a national evaluation (Extension Recovery Programme) and a provincial evaluation in the Western Cape. DPME will be taking the tool forward in August 2015 for evaluations selected for the 2016/17 National Evaluation Plan. For details contact Thabisile Zuma at


  • DPME finalized its first research strategy in March 2015. Its purpose is to establish DPME’s role in the generation, intermediation and use of research and other forms of evidence in decision making and policy influence. 
  • A study on the assessment of the workload and management practices of DGs and HODs has been concluded. The report will be presented to FOSAD Manco where the findings and recommendations will be discussed for further action.
  • The BCURE Vaka Yiko project has concluded its primary work with Department of Environmental Affairs, which will be used as a case study by DPME to understand the approach and process followed in using evidence to inform a policy instrument at a departmental level. 
  • For details around the work on research contact Harsha Dayal at

Sharing evaluation and research evidence

  • DPME has continued to document and share its experience in establishing and implementing the National Evaluation System.
  • The 12 papers written for a special edition of the African Journal of Evaluation focusing on the launching of the South African Evaluation System, and in partnership with SAMEA are still under review. The edition should be published in July/August 2015.
  • In March DPME participated in the Ugandan Evaluation Week where the Department was given an award by the Prime Minister for the support offered to that country in the development of their evaluation system. DPME also participated in the IV Conference of the Network of Systematization of Monitoring and Evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean (ReLAC) which took place in March in Peru.  
  • With more evaluations made public there is a steady growth in the number of people accessing the DPME evaluation repository. We will be working at improving the functioning of the tool to make it more accessible and easy to navigate.  
  • A communications strategy has been developed (funded by DFID) and recommendations are already being implemented, including the conversion of Evaluation Update to an electronic newsletter and the upgrades to the twitter account. For further information contact

International linkages

  • Work on developing a regional African partnership on M&E (Twende Mbele) is advancing. DPME is working with Uganda and Benin as well as the CLEAR-AA initiative. This will support regional sharing on M&E for African countries that are committed to the use of evaluation.
  • DPME continues as a member and Ian Goldman as a Board member of 3ie. 

Collaborative management

  • Provincial Evaluation Plans (PEPs) – Five provinces now have approved provincial evaluation plans - Gauteng, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape. We are targeting two more for 2015/16 and there has been significant progress with Limpopo and North West. This will go a long way in institutionalising evaluations at the provincial level. 
  • Panel of service providers – A new panel of service providers has been appointed. We are already observing enthusiasm to work with DPME with more members bidding for work advertised. 
  • With 50 evaluations completed or in progress, project monitoring is much more complex. An evaluation management information system (MIS) has been developed, including the quality assessment process, evaluation tracking and improvement plan tracking.
  • Staff – Ms Thabisile Zuma was promoted to Assistant Director: Evaluation. 

Priorities for the next two months

  • Completing evaluations;  
  • Completing and loading data in the evaluation MIS;
  • Making sure that all DFID-funded assignments are underway as the DFID-funded SPME project closes in September 2015;
  • Taking completed evaluations public and contributing to public debates on areas evaluated, including piloting Evidence Seminars. 


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Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

The Union Buildings, East Wing Government Avenue, Pretoria, 0001

Postal Address

Private Bag X944 Pretoria, 0001

Contact Numbers

Tel: +27(0)12 312 0000 Tel: +27(0)12 323 8246