Policy makers, especially those in official bodies, have the authority to decide which of the problems within a particular sector are to be addressed and how they are to be handled.
Policy makers, for example, can support land reform stewardship programmes by:
- doing multi-faceted extension work with land reform beneficiaries – opportunities for improved livestock quality and veld management, improving own food security, crops / livestock for market, conservation and agri- / ecotourism
- supporting and strengthening stewardship work with communal and private land-owners who set aside land for conservation – increasing the capacity of provincial conservation agencies
- including ecological infrastructure projects in the development of rural infrastructure e.g. restoring wetlands
- scaling up Community Works Programme and EPWP - restoring wetlands and river corridors, especially. in former “homelands” high poverty areas, restoring coastal vegetation to prevent erosion, managing fire risk by scaling up local community involvement in controlled burning, making firebreaks and removing alien invasive plant species
- defending livelihoods through improved management initiatives that ensure sustainable harvesting, or offering viable alternatives
- planning and regulating rural development proactively, to keep areas of natural vegetation intact
Policy analysts assist the public decision-making process by providing accurate and actionable research and information designed to address society’s complex political, social and technical problems. The intent of policy analysis is not to produce so-called “correct” solutions to society’s problems, but to improve decision-making through effective management of information.
Policy analysts address complex issues by breaking them into components and applying a full range of quantitative and qualitative analytic techniques, including operations research, benefit-cost analysis and program evaluation. The policy analysis portfolio consists of a working knowledge of the policy process, analytic techniques, policy design, and experience expertise in at least one important issue area.
Students learn which methodologies are appropriate to various situations, how to design applied studies, and how to develop action-oriented plans and guidelines. Students trained in policy analysis, therefore, have the ability to change the substantive content of their jobs over the life of their careers.
Policy analysis careers are defined and developed in two basic ways. One choice is to become a producer of policy analysis in the form of special studies and formal research projects designed to collect, analyse, and summarise findings from primary data collection.
The second group of individuals might pursue careers in the collection and analysis of information and data to produce intelligence for public or private sector organisations to support planning, operations and human resource functions.
Policy makers and analysts work in offices, libraries or from their own homes if they are self-employed. They may also spend some time teaching at educational institutions.
- have logical reasoning ability
- have superior research and analytical skills
- be a self-starter and strategic thinker
- be an energetic, committed individual
- have excellent written and verbal communication skills
- have project management skills
- have the ability to pro-actively interact with management and team members
- be able to handle multiple tasks in both individual and team environments
How to Enter
Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for the required degree course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.
What to Study
Compulsory Higher Education
Degree: There are many possible ways to enter this profession. BA Human Ecology is one possibility, at all universities. Economic Geography is offered at US. Other useful courses are Public Management and Administration, Public Policy.
• policy and planning offices of public and non- profit agencies
• think tanks
• consulting firms
• university institutes
• legislative oversight bodies
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
134 Pretorius Street
Tel: (012) 302-2000
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
2 Cussonia Ave
Tel: (012) 843-5000
Programmes by Study Institutions