S.A. Excellence Model

The Purpose (Why?)

The South African Excellence Model for Local Government Performance Excellence is a framework for continuous improvement which was specifically developed to address the needs and expectations of local government within the South African context.

What is the model?

It is a way to achieve overall competitiveness; good governance; satisfied customers, employees, suppliers and partners; significant gains in business results and productivity.

It involves a systematic process of evaluation that describes the state of the organisation and/or its business units at a specific time along key predetermined dimensions.

The South African Excellence Model provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the state of the organisation with regard to "excellence".


  •  addresses both hard and soft governance issues,
  •  is fully measurable because f its structured approach to gap analysis,
  •  makes for logical prioritization and planning of corrective measures and allocation of resources,
  •  promotes widespread buy-in into solutions,
  • prompts the organisation to undertake continuous improvement without being prescriptive. “ (SA Excellence Foundation)

The model consists of 11 criteria that are used as guidelines on elements of organisation that can be used to consider what the organisation does, how well it does what is being done and how the organisation is progressing towards an organisational gold-standard – excellence. The criteria are divided into enabler criteria which give rise to, or cause certain desired outcomes; and results criteria, which are the outcome of certain enabler interventions.

The six enabler criteria are:

  1. Leadership – this criterion looks at how individuals in the organisation inspire and provides leadership in the pursuit of excellence.
  2. Policy and Strategy – This criterion looks at how excellence and continuous improvement is addressed when the organisation develops a vision, mission objectives, values, policies and strategies.
  3. Customers and Market Focus – This criterion looks at how the organisation addresses customer and market needs.
  4. People Management – This criterion looks at how the organisation addresses the needs of its people vis-à-vis skills, improvement, empowerment and communication.
  5. Resource and Information Management – This criterion assess how the organisation uses its resources (people, financial, physical, natural and intellectual).
  6. Processes – This criterion looks at how the organisation identifies and improves both internal and external process by which it operates.

The five results criteria looks at the intended and unintended outcomes and consequences of the activities and core business processes of the organisation. The following results criteria have been identified.

  1. Impact on society – This criterion looks at what the organisation is achieving in terms of the needs of the community (i.e. the contractual environment within which it has a degree of influence) and the broader society (contextual environment that impacts on the organisation but over which it has no influence).
  2. Customer Satisfaction – This criterion looks at the extent to which he organisation’s customers are satisfied and have their needs met.
  3. People satisfaction – This criterion looks at the extent to which the people of the organisation are satisfied and have their needs met and problems addressed.
  4. Supplier and Partnership Performance – This criterion looks at how the organisation manages the supplier and partnership processes and relationships.
  5. Business Results – This criterion looks at what results the organisation is achieving in relation to planned performance. Results are assessed along two dimensions. Dimension one deals with the quality of the results and speaks to excellence. Dimension two deals with scope and speaks to coverage - extend to which the results address intended objectives.

The following diagram provides a graphic overview of the South African Excellence Model:

What are the benefits of using the SA Excellence Model

  •  Improved business results and productivity.
  •  Improved service levels.
  •  Facilitates Batho Pele.
  •  Improved customer, employee, supplier and partner satisfaction.
  •  Facilitates stakeholder and community approval.
  •  Reduced dependence on consultants.

Who uses the SA Excellence Model

The SA Excellence Model can be used members of the organsitation or with the support of an external facilitator.

When is the SA Excellence Model used?

When an organization wants to embark on a continuous improvement exercise.

How do I get started?

Cicama is available to assist in the use of the SA Excellence Model through,

  •  Planning and conducting a continuous improvement intervention using the SA Excellence Model.
  •  SA Excellence Model literature and references.
  •  Contact and interaction with the SA Excellence Foundation.
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