Associate Professor Vinothan Naidoo

Associate Professor

 Room 5.23, Robert Leslie Social 


  • Roles

    • Undergraduate Committee;
    • Humanities Faculty Advisor;
    • Politics, Philosophy and Economics committee (Undergraduate);
    • Research Ethics Committee
  • Biography

    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. His teaching and research interests converge around the interface between public administration and the political process, and includes topics such as political-administrative relations, public sector reform, policy implementation, co-ordination and inter-governmental relations, and public sector anti-corruption.
  • External Appointments

  • Useful Links

  • Research, Knowledge Exchange and Impact

  • Teaching

    Undergraduate teaching:

    Comparative Public Institutions (administrative theory)

    Postgraduate teaching:

    Comparative Public Administration; Policy Implementation and Evaluation

  • Postgrad Supervision

    Doctoral students supervised to completion:

    • Yeukai Mukorombindo (Reforming citizen engagement in budget and policy planning: case studies of citizen participation in devolved Kenya
    • Lina Taing (Implementing sanitation for informal settlements: conflicting rationalities in South Africa)

    Masters students supervised to completion:

    • Mampane, Jane (The implementation of inclusive education in South Africa)
    • Valentine, Lucinda (An investigation into the difficulties of integrating social services in South Africa)
    • Thomas Odoye (The effects of agencification on the capacity of the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Nigeria)
    • Michael Acheampong (Public Finance Management Reform and Expenditure Control in Ghana: the role of the Ministry of Finance in Implementing the MTEF)
    • Jaynisha Patel (Strengthening the enforcement of policy to combat human trafficking: a network approach for improving collaboration)
    • Monique Doyle (The South African Parliament’s committee system and legislative capacity)
    • Fiona Dyosi (A study of Local Economic Development in Stutterheim)
    • Annelie Mare (An assessment of policy coordination in the implementation of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme)
    • Keneilwe Mooketsane (A analysis of state-civil society relationships in Botswana
    • Shinechole Moon (Facilitating trade in mineral resources: policy implications for trade between African, South Africa and East Asia
    • Cheryl-Anne Smith (An assessment of public participation in selected ward committees in the City of Cape Town)
    • Mariette Theron (How do conceptual and contextual problems affect the measurement validity of policies directed at orphans and vulnerable children
    • Marsha Orgill (Challenges facing the implementation of community and home-based early childhood development programmes for vulnerable children in the Western and Eastern Cape.
  • Publications

    Books and book chapters

    (2023) Naidoo, V. Mobilising the public sector to combat COVID-19, and the pandemic's effect on public sector governance. In Fouire, P, Lamb ,G. (eds) The South African Responses to COVID-19: The Early Years. Routledge.

    (2020) Naidoo, V. South Africa (Republic of South Africa). In Griffiths, A., Chattopadhyay, R., Light, J., Stieren, C. (eds.) The Forum of Federations Handbook of Federal Countries 2020. Palgrave Macmillan.

    (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.

    Peer reviewed journal articles & occasional papers

    (2022) Naidoo, V. Remodelling cabinet departments in South Africa: tracking the internal form and shape of departmental machinery. Working Paper, Public Affairs Research Institute. Available at:

    (2022) Naidoo, V. Measuring the effects of politicisation on bureaucratic behaviour in Africa. Working Paper. Available at:

    (2022) Mapping state capacity in Africa: Professionalism and reach. With M Kronke and R Mattes. Afrobarometer. Working Paper No. 190.

    (2021) Localising democracy on an uneven playing field: the roles of ward councillors in the City of Cape Town. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, 24: 40-59.

    (2021) South Africa: when strong institutions and massive inequalities collide. With Levy, B., Hirsch, A., Nxele, M. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    (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.

    Recent opinion/editorial pieces 

    (2023) Naidoo, V. How Ramaphosa can best achieve his streamlined cabinet 2.0. Business Day/Business Live, 22 March

    (2022) Naidoo, V. Treasury's strong spine averted attempts at takeover. Business Day/Business Live, 5 May

    (2022) Naidoo, V. A professional public service is incompatible with cadre deployment. Business Day/Business Live, 19 June

    (2022) The Zondo Commission report: Damning evidence – and recommendations whose time has come. Daily Maverick, 19 January. 

    (2022) Lessons the public sector can learn from state capture. Business Day/Business Live, 14 January

    (2021) Wider personnel reforms should be paramount in public wage debate. Business Day/Business Live, 8 June

    (2019) Ramaphosa’s bold state reconfiguration charts an unclear direction. Daily Maverick, 31 May

    (2018) President Ramaphosa brings a sense of renewal and optimism. Huffpost, 19 February