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A model for a multi‐agency response management system (MARMS) for South Africa

Pat Reid (Pat Reid Consulting, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
Dewald van Niekerk (African Centre for Disaster Studies, North‐West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The promulgation of disaster management legislation and policy in South Africa necessitates the development of a uniform multi‐agency incident and disaster response system. This paper aims to argue that a uniform response by numerous government agencies in South Africa can only be achieved through the application of an accepted model, which is based on the requirements of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 as well as the National Disaster Risk Management Framework of South Africa.


The model was developed using grounded theory methodology through the use of the internet and focus group interviews with South African as well as international experts. During the process of analysing the data by open and axial coding, key elements emerged which were then clustered into categories from which the core concepts of the model emerged. The emergent core concepts were then dimensionalised, which formed the major constructs of the model thereby ensuring that the model was grounded in the theory. Constant comparisons were drawn with the experiences in the field throughout the process in order to ensure theoretical sensitivity. During the process of axial coding certain intervening conditions emerged which could negatively or positively affect its application. The developed model was therefore subjected to scrutiny by means of a quantitative attitudinal test amongst senior professionals involved in the field of emergency and disaster management, resulting in triangulation.


The findings demonstrate that in order for the proposed model to be implemented effectively it is necessary to refine each level of response in terms of authority, communication and reporting lines.


This model can be used as the foundation for the development of a comprehensive response management system for South Africa and other similar countries, and that the model can further contribute to the development of a basic training module for inclusion in the curricula of response agency personnel.



Reid, P. and van Niekerk, D. (2008), "A model for a multi‐agency response management system (MARMS) for South Africa", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 244-255.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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