A basic GUIDE TO

Government planning and performance management

This guide describes the government's planning and performance management system. Performance management supports the government to achieve better service delivery for the people of South Africa. Find out how to determine how well a department is performing against its targets and where to obtain more performance information.

Stages of performance management



Analysis of the status quo is done by referring to the results of relevant research, evaluations or other evidence and in consultation with the stakeholders. Situational analysis is a key diagnosis tool.


Planning & Budgeting

Integrating policy, planning, budgeting and reporting processes is essential for achieving the country’s planned medium and long term developmental results


Implementation & Monitoring

Programme implementation results in the improvement of the lives of South Africans. Implementation of plans must be monitored to measure progress towards the achievement of planned targets.



The purpose of evaluations is to systematically and objectively assess policies, programmes and/or systems; to make judgements about the achievement of intended results; and to assess the causal links between implementation and observed results.

Planning & Performance FAQs

What is a Results-based Approach?

South Africa has adopted a Results-Based Approach, which is an approach where all stakeholders, contributing directly or indirectly to achieving a set of results, ensure that the processes, products and services contribute to the achievement of desired results (outputs, outcomes and impact). The stakeholders use data and evidence relating to actual results to inform decision-making about the design, resourcing and delivery of programmes and about accountability and reporting.

What are the key principles to a Results-based approach?

Accountability for planning. Government institutions are accountable to the citizens, through Parliament, for delivering on national development priorities. 

Ownership of relevant national priorities, programmes and projects reflected in the National Development Plan must be assumed by each government institution to ensure that intended results are achieved.

Inclusiveness requires that stakeholders such as government institutions at national, provincial and local levels, and civil society organisations and communities, are engaged with when planning to achieve outcomes and to improve performance.

What are the key Results-based terms?

Impact: An impact is a change in conditions and is the result of achieving specific outcomes such as reducing poverty or creating jobs. Impacts answer the question “What change are we aiming to bring about?”.

Outcome: Outcomes are the medium-term results for specific beneficiaries which are the consequence of achieving specific outputs. Outcomes are “What we wish to achieve”.

Outputs are the products, goods or services produced for delivery. They may be defined as “What we produce or deliver”. They are also the building blocks towards the desired outcomes.

An Activity is a process or action that uses a range of inputs to produce the desired outputs and ultimately outcomes. They are “What we do”.

An Input is a resource that contributes to the production and delivery of outputs. Inputs are “What we use to do our work”. They include finance, personnel, equipment and buildings.

How do we measure an individual’s performance?

Performance Agreements between the President and Ministers are signed. Performance Agreements outline high level outputs, metrics and key and contributing activities towards each outcome. Performance Agreements are based on the Medium Term Strategic Framework.

Public servants sign performance agreements which summarises the official duties and responsibilities that are attached to an appointment or position, and may include a performance-related incentive and reward system for managing an official’s job performance.

What are service delivery agreements?

Service Delivery Agreements are signed with key partners that need to work together to achieve particular outputs. These are entered into in terms of the broad strategic outcomes and any other relevant long term government plans.