Original Research - Special Collection: 9th AfrEA International Conference 2019

The evaluative role of legislatures in creating a responsive executive

Reitumetse Zantsi
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 8, No 1 | a432 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v8i1.432 | © 2020 Reitumetse Zantsi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 August 2019 | Published: 26 February 2020

About the author(s)

Reitumetse Zantsi, Performance Monitoring Unit, South African Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa


The ability of legislatures to play a more effective oversight role is intricately linked to its ability to properly conceptualise and institutionalise its monitoring and evaluation (M&E) function. This article discusses the three main ways in which legislatures contribute to strengthening their oversight role over the executive, with a focus on the South African Parliament. The three ways in which Parliament creates a more responsive executive include: (1) utilising the results of evaluations conducted by departments, stimulating demand; (2) initiating Parliament-led evaluations, especially on transversal issues; and (3) the phenomena of legislature-focussed evaluations (self-assessments). The extent and nature of Parliament’s interaction will be explored including the internal arrangements for M&E. The unique positioning of legislatures lends itself to exploring the use of tried and tested methodologies in a new environment, while the oversight mandate provides a key opportunity to explore evaluative methodologies and tools, especially in assessing the link between executive action and citizen outcomes.

Conclusions include recommendations for collaboration between components within Parliament, internal systems and processes, including the interplay between the institution’s knowledge management system and strategic management processes, as well as the active building of an evaluative culture. It is only when evaluation becomes an integral part of how Parliament conceptualises its work that the legislature will begin to play an essential role in creating a responsive executive, thereby strengthening the national evaluation eco-system.


Legislatures; Evaluation; Oversight; Accountability; Self-assessment; South Africa


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Crossref Citations

1. From evidence to values-based decision making in African parliaments
Caitlin Blaser Mapitsa, Aisha Jore Ali, Linda Sibonile Khumalo
Evaluation Journal of Australasia  vol: 20  issue: 2  first page: 68  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1177/1035719X20918370