Natural Resources

Africa is home to 30% of the world’s mineral resources and its largest reserves of precious metals, such as gold and platinum. Effective management of the continent’s resources is important for long-term growth for citizens to benefit from its natural capital.

Our Natural Resources Programme looks at measures to manage and sustain natural resources, reporting on progress, shortcomings and offering policy recommendations for development.

It emphasises enhanced governance, stewardship and sustainability, especially in respect of the continent’s non-renewable resources.

GGA hosted a workshop in Johannesburg on Risk, Extraction and Ethics as a scoping exercise for our National Resource Governance programme. The workshop outcome document, which serves to consolidate the gains made, challenges identified and recommendations for further development is available on our website.

Land restitution, initiated in 1994, was an important response to the injustices of the apartheid era. But it was intended as a limited and short-term process – initially to be completed in five years. It may continue for decades, creating uncertainty and undermining investment into agriculture.

GGA has published a book on the subject, Rights To Land, which provides an analysis of what went so badly wrong, and warns that a new phase of restitution may ignite conflicting ethnic claims and facilitate elite capture of land and rural resources. While there are no quick fixes, the first phase of restitution should be completed and the policy then curtailed. Land reform urgently needs to prioritise employment creation, production and economic growth.

The Rights to Land book is available from leading book stores.


Local Governance & Grassroots Democracy


This field research aimed to assist the Auditor-General’s office and local government officials as they sought to embark on initiatives to ensure that quality financial oversight does have a positive impact on service delivery levels. The performance of municipalities is a key element of local governance. The Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) conducts regular audits on local governments to ensure accountability, compliance and proper financial management. These internal controls allow for accountability at the grassroots level of democracy. GGA embarked on a survey that sought to establish the correlation between audit performance and service delivery. The survey aimed to analyse whether the level of audit performance translated into service delivery performance and subsequently into good governance.

Using the AGSA’s Consolidated General Report on the Local Government Audit Outcomes – 2015/2016 and a survey of 1,346 respondents, the survey was conducted in three South African provinces: Western Cape, North West and Free State. The provinces were selected based on their performance in the AGSA 2015/2016 report. Western Cape was the best performing province with the most unqualified audits with no findings. North West was the worst performing province with the most disclaimed audits with findings and Free State ranked in the middle of the pack. In each of the three provinces two municipalities were randomly selected – one with an unqualified audit with no findings (or the highest recorded level of performance), and the other with a disclaimer audit with findings (or otherwise the lowest level of performance).

This was an exploratory study geared towards comparative analysis. A mixed methodology approach was adopted, combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. A mixed sampling technique was applied comprising of purposive sampling in the selection of provinces and municipalities and convenience sampling during data collection at the study sites. Gender balancing was applied at these sites, with a target sample of 100 women and 100 men per site. GGA employed the same citizen survey methodology, which has been used in previous initiatives of this nature, with CommCare capi surveys and conducted by trained fieldworkers selected from 27-31 May 2019 in selected municipalities in the target provinces. On 18 June 2019, GGA presented the report results and recommendations to the Auditor-General’s office at a launch event. The results were also disseminated to local citizens, as well as politicians and policymakers, through an outcome document. Read more here: GGA Citizen Survey


Citizen engagement with local authorities, as well as local authorities’ provision of quality services, is an integral part of good governance.  This two-way system captures two components of good governance, one of which is how authorities use public resources and the other how citizens respond to the way public resources are used or abused.

The work of Good Governance Africa – Zimbabwe (GGA-Z) is defined by the promotion of fact-based knowledge.  To increase our understanding of performance at local levels of governance, GGA-Z conducted a Citizen Engagement Survey in Zimbabwe.  The report contains a preliminary representation of the research findings of the survey.

The following indicators were used, representing three governance clusters:-

  • Administration (a ward’s capacity, financial soundness and compliance)
  • Economic development (poverty, individual income, work opportunities, unemployment rate)
  • Service Delivery (water, sanitation, education, electricity, informal to formal housing, refuse removal, health facilities and police services)

The survey was conducted in four urban areas: Harare, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare.  The survey focused on ascertaining how wards in these areas are managed and the extent to which basic services such as water, electricity, refuse removal, police services, health, and education services are provided or are perceived to be provided by citizens. Read more here: Zimbabwe Citizen Government Survey


The performance of local municipalities in South Africa is the indicator of the country’s heartbeat. Local municipalities are the closest institution to citizens, reflecting in great measure levels of citizen engagement – as recipients but also as contributors.

In addition, local government shows, like no other indicator, the health of public institutions at the most atomised level. Local municipalities are universes, where the historic legacy of the country and the current democratic dynamics converge to give a clear picture of the status quo.

The 2019 Government Performance Index is a continuation of GGA’s local government research, which began in 2016. This year, we were able to compare the state of South Africa’s municipalities with our previous index and have found a significant variation in the municipal landscape, and some shifts within the rankings. Download here


Citizens must have a voice in how their country is run. This implies that there should be democracy, accountability and transparency.

GGA’s research into local governance in South Africa explores where the country stands on local government.

We have devised rankings for all of South Africa’s 234 local and metropolitan municipalities – the Government Performance Index .

GGA also commissioned Markdata to conduct a Voter Sentiment Survey, which sought to examine voters’ feelings and thoughts on governance before and after the 2016 Local Government Elections by studying their voting behaviour and patterns. The results of the study can be found on our website.

GGA has further commissioned in-depth research that was done along an approximately 32km transect in the Mbizana municipality, in the Eastern Cape. It comprised of three components: a) a citizen survey with close on 1000 participants; b) interviews with leaders in various sectors and c) an informal business survey.

The first reason for the study was a need to understand the lived experiences in Bizana, birthplace of former African National Congress president Oliver Reginald Tambo in the year of his centenary celebration by government. The second reason was to visit what was the worst performing municipality in the GGA Government Performance Index.

English Local Governance Summary


National Security

In 2017, as part of its National Security Programme, GGA published an anthology on extremisms in Africa, bringing together scholars and practitioners from varied backgrounds and disciplines to better understand the challenge posed by extremist organisations in Africa and what could be done to mitigate their threat to peace and security. Extremisms in Africa provided an account of how extremist groups arose in Africa and the ways in which they have harnessed their global agendas to local conflict dynamics and structural challenges, enabling them to exploit the grievances of individuals and communities. The anthology also challenged the efficacy of purely militarised responses to extremism movements.

A second GGA anthology, Extremisms in Africa Vol 2, is available now. This anthology looks forward, paying special attention to the ways in which emergent trends, global geopolitics and conflict dynamics merge to impact on the African continent. To this end, we have sought to engage with diverse subjects, ranging from ecological concerns surrounding climate change and migration, and the implications such human movement has for modern-day trafficking and slavery, to the role of women and youth.

Both books emphasise the importance of understanding local history, culture and regional geopolitics, among a variety of context specific factors, to understand and address the emergence and spread of extremisms in Africa.


Child Development & Youth Formation

Africa’s population of children and youth under the age of 24 is estimated at 700 million. This makes them important drivers of change and advancement for the continent. However, this group continues to face multifaceted challenges to their development. Violence, poverty, high rate of unemployment, the psycho-social crisis caused by the HIV pandemic and the change in family dynamics continue to interrupt normal healthy child development, and have resulted in sectors of disempowered young people.

To respond to this situation, GGA’s Child Development and Youth Formation Programme focuses on critical child development issues, youth formation and leadership training. It is centred on providing holistic intervention content to promote optimal development of children and youth in Africa.

To date, GGA has funded two trainee teachers to join a diploma programme to assist in advancing the work we are doing with our partner, Early Childhood Development centres.


Promotion of Ethical Values & Spirituality

The importance of ethical practices and values has been highlighted as a core pillar of governance across different parts of society. To foster a culture of good ethics aligned with the principles of good governance, GGA works with civil society and faith-based organisations to look at governance issues and ways to address these through ethical practices and spirituality.