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Dr Vinothan Naidoo

Dr Vinothan Naidoo is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Studies and convenes the postgraduate programme in Public Policy and Administration.  He has an MA in Political Studies from Rhodes University and a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Cape Town.  He has researched the organisational reform and transformation of South Africa’s public service, political-administration relations, public sector anti-corruption, policy co-ordination, and inter-governmental relations.

Publications, review essays and selected research reports

Books and book chapters

(2019) Political transformation and education sector performance in South Africa. In Hickey, S., Hossain, N. (eds.) The Politics of Education in Developing Countries: From Schooling to Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. With Levy, B., Cameron, R., Hoadley, U.

(2018) The Politics and Governance of Basic Education: a tale of two South African provinces. Oxford University Press. With Levy, B., Cameron, R., Hoadley, U (eds.)

(2018) Education policymaking at national level – the politics of multiple principals. With Robert Cameron. In, The Politics and Governance of Basic Education

(2018) Provincial governance of education – the Eastern Cape experience. With Zukiswa Kota, Monica Hendricks, and Eric Matambo. In, The Politics and Governance of Basic Education

(2014) Party-state relations in South Africa in a period of transition. In Butler, A (ed.) Remaking the ANC: party change in South Africa and the global south. Auckland Park: Jacana.

2013) Cadre deployment versus merit? Reviewing politicization in the public service. In Daniel, J. et al (eds.) New South African Review 3: The second phase – tragedy or farce? Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

(2008) Assessing racial redress in the public service. In Bentley, K.A., Habib, A. (eds.) Racial redress and citizenship in South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.

(2004) State of the Public Service. In Daniel, J., Southall, R., and Lutchman, J. (eds.) State of the Nation: South Africa 2004-2005. Cape Town: HSRC Press.


(2019) Transitional Politics and Machinery of Government Change in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 45(3): 575-595.

(2017) Measuring corruption risk in the South African public service: an institutional analysis. African Journal of Public Affairs, 9(6): 73-87.

(2016) Efforts to Coordinate and Integrate Water Services in South African Metropolitan Municipalities: A Review. With Kılıçoğlu, C. and Cameron, R. Journal of Public Administration, 51(1): 85-102.

(2015) Implementing the National Development Plan? Lessons from co-ordinating grand economic policies in South Africa. With Maré, A. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, 42(3): 407-427.

(2015) Changing conceptions of public ‘management’ and public sector reform in South Africa. International Public Management Review, 16(1): 23-42

(2013) The politics of anti-corruption enforcement in South Africa. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 31(4): 523-542.

(2013) The challenges of policy coordination at a programme level: why joining up is hard to do. Development Southern Africa, 30(3): 386-400.

(2012) Expenditure volatility and provincial government reform in South Africa. Politeia, 31(2): 49-69.

(2010) Government responses to street homelessness in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 27(1): 129-141. Special issue: Street people in South Africa.

(2009) Revisiting administrative capacity in the context of public service transformation. Journal of Public Administration, 44(4): 991-1010.

(2009) The provincial government reform process in South Africa: policy discretion and developmental relevance. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies, 36(2): 259-274.

(2008) Confronting management dilemmas: the introduction of single public service legislation in South Africa. Journal of Public Administration (43) 4: 581-591.

(2006) Observations on Defining a Developmental State Administration in South Africa. Journal of Public Administration (41) 3: 479 - 490

(2005) A Human Rights Perspective on Policy Implementation Processes: Observations from the South African Public Service. Administratio Publica (13) 1: 122-150.

(2005) Exploring Options for Evaluating the `Development Orientation' of Public Administration in South Africa. Africanus: Journal of Development Administration (35) 2: 53-66.

Review essays

(2016) "Thieves of State: Why corruption threatens global security". Review essay, in South African Journal of International Affairs, 23(1): 123-125.

Recent research reports

(2015) Bentley, K.A., Naidoo, V. Implementing the Post 2015 Agenda at National Level: Children's Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South Africa. Research report for Save the Children South Africa (SCSA).

(2014) Armitage, N., Fisher-Jeffes, L., Carden, K., Winter, K., Naidoo, V., Spiegel, A., Mauck, B., Coulsen, D. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) for South Africa: Framework and Guidelines. WRC Report No. TT 588/14. Gezina: Water Research Commission.

(2009) Reviewing South Africa’s efforts to combat corruption in its bureaucracy: 1994-2009. With Jackson, P. South African Governance in Review: anti-corruption, local government, traditional leadership. Cape Town: HSRC Press.

Contact details: 

  • Physical Address: Rm 5.21, Robert Leslie Social Science building
  • Postal Address: Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7700
  • Tel +27 21 650-3383, 650-3799 (fax)
  • Email: vinothan.naidoo@uct.ac.za

Current Doctoral Supervision



Bayloyi, Decent Nhlamulo 
(in Public Administration)
An integrated model for transformed ethics training and management for the South African Public Service.
Kilicoglu, Chantal
(in Public Administration)
An Historical Institutional Analysis of the Public Service Commission in South Africa: Negotiating the line between politics and administration.

Current Master's Supervision




Past Supervision (from 2010)




Yeukai, Mukorombindo Reforming citizen engagement in budget and policy planning: case studies of citizen participation in devolved Kenya.  
Taing, Lina
(in Public Administration) 2015
Implementing sanitation for informal settlements: Conflicting rationalities in South Africa. download




Doyle, Monique
(PPA) - 2016 - conferred June 2017
The South African Parliament's Committee System and Legislative Capacity.  
Dyosi, Fiona
(PPA) - 2016
A study of Local Economic Development in the town of Stutterheim. download
Mare, Annelie
(PPA) - 2015 - conferred June 2016
An assessment of policy coordination in the implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.  
Mooketsane, Keneilwe
(PPA) 2010 - conferred June 2011
An Analysis of State-Civil Society Relationships in Botswana: A case of the Women's Affairs Department and Women Non-Governmental Organisations. download
Moon, Shinechole
(PPA) 2014 - conferred June 2015
Facilitating trade in mineral resources: policy implications for trade between Africa, South Africa and East Asia. download
Orgill, Marsha
(PPA) 2009 - conferred June 2010
(thesis with distinction)
Challenges facing the implementation of community and home-based early childhood development programmes for vulnerable children aged 0-4 years in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, South Africa. download
Smith, Cheryl-Anne
(PPA) 2012
An assessment of public participation in selected ward committees in the City of Cape Town. download
Theron, Mariette
(PPA) 2010 - conferred June 2011
How do conceptual and contextual problems affect the measurement validity of policies directed at orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa? download