Leadership and service delivery in Diepsloot

Siphumeze, Mndze
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Leadership is defined in distinctive ways. There is no single definition of leadership but rather various streams of leadership that aim at describing and creating an understanding of leadership. These strands of thought look at leadership from different perspectives, ranging from personality traits, charisma, the aspects of a situation and its significance in raising leaders, birth-related issues which contend that some people are born great and thus they lead, and an ability to learn leadership. Many leadership theories share a common thread which advocates for the impact of a leader on the lives of people. These leadership strands of thought contend that a leader has to shift people from one position to a better position. In that context, a leader must better the lives of people s/he leads. Furthermore, it is expected that leaders should satisfy people through timely delivery of services to communities. Political leadership is seen as having a role in facilitating the delivery of services such as water, housing, sanitation, sewerage and electricity, as the said leadership occupies strategic and powerful positions in government office through election. Many people may have been elected on the promise that they will deliver the aforesaid services to the people. The challenge is, when political leaders get elected into government positions, they often then ignore their promises they made to the people. This is one of the reasons for the service delivery protests that emerged in Diepsloot Ward 95 in Gauteng Province. This report reveals that political leadership can play a role in facilitating service delivery. However, there are also governance issues that have to be taken into account in relation to service delivery such as the rule of law, accountability, transparency, the fight against corruption, and issues iii around efficiency and effectiveness. On the other hand, it is argued that ethical and capacitated political leadership is crucial in ensuring service delivery and such leadership can work towards good governance as it may enhance the rule of law, accountability, transparency, a corruption-free society and ensure efficiency and effectiveness. The 10 respondents which were the residents of Diepsloot demonstrated, to a large extent, key factors of political leadership and its role in facilitating service delivery. Certain political leadership challenges were demonstrated and they include, among others, capacity of political leaders to play a role in service delivery, flexibility, and an ability to delegate. It is also revealed that there are political leadership strategies that can help political leaders to facilitate service delivery in communities. These strategies should be enabled by ethical and competent political leadership with attributes that have to do with, among others, pursuit of public interest with accountability and the leadership that takes election into government as a call to serve communities.
Thesis (M.M. (Public and Development Management))--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits School of Governance, 2014.