Government and civil society: Collaboration and challenges in securing refugee rights.

Year: 2019
Working paper number: 435
Author: Sikanyiso Masuku
Unit: CSSR
Several studies focusing on South Africa have identified the numerous challenges faced by refugees in securing their legal rights to employment, education, healthcare, etc. There is therefore a need to investigate such challenges and the extent to which they are conterminous with the inability to fully implement refugee policy guidelines by respective bureaucratic institutions, such as government departments. In cognizance of the existential limitations synonymous with state assisted integration models juxtaposed with the civil society’s function in social protection, support and consultative roles to governments globally, this paper examines how bureaucratic efficiency (in the provisioning of refugee rights) can be achieved, i.e. the feasibility and challenges in instituting dependency partnerships between the state and civil society. This is explored through a case study based interpretive research design technique, i.e. one focus group discussion (FGD) with Congolese refugees and three face to face in-depth interviews with three purposively selected non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives. The paper used two central theories (theory of monopolisation and Weber’s theory on bureaucracy), to examine how bureaucratic arrangements can impact on refugee policy implementation as well as refugee groups’ living potentials in the country. By establishing the role of multi-sectoral approaches in nurturing bureaucratic efficiency (a suggested panacea to institutional biases and unruly practices), the results in this paper make a noteworthy contribution to the body of knowledge.

Publication file: WP435 Masuku.pdf