The role of community based leaders in the State Owned Entities in the city of Johannesburg

Pillay, Rajendra Ganasen
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Former president of the movement Thabo Mbeki, in summarising what a government committed to and must do, said: “We must ensure that today is better than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than today.” Effective leadership will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the words articulated by the previous president Mbeki is in fact realised and becomes a reality for all in South Africa. This is, equally the responsibility and mandate that all SOE’s should accept and carry out a day-to-day basis. We need leaders that are “accountable, contemplative”, who reflect and always put people and our constitutional values first. As the City of Johannesburg (COJ) embarks on a new journey by the appointments of community leaders to the boards of the SOE’s in the City Of Johannesburg (COJ). This would indeed be ground breaking and the very first in the City of Johannesburg. As South Africa continues to address the imbalances of the past, at the centre and one of the most important is housing and liveable homes for all South Africans. Therefore Community leaders appointed to the boards of the SOE’s have an important and significant role to play to not only ensure community needs are met but also the transition and transformational agenda of the city and the country as a whole is achieved. Community leaders are seen to be more in touch with their communities they serve on a day to day basis. To some they are beacon of hope and to others they are mentors and role models. They also tend to give people hope that indeed tomorrow will be better than today. The focus of the research was on one entity namely Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO). The entity has a capital budget of 1.5 Billion Rands. The mandate of this entity is to provide social housing and to transform traditional hostel dwelling into homes. This shift from hostels to homes is a significant one and will require a life style change and will have significant impact on families and the community. There is a problem of a leadership skills gap with/among community leaders appointed to the board of Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) as a State Owned Entity in the city of Johannesburg which will be needed to achieve the strategic objectives. Community leaders bring a very different dynamic to the boards of the SOE in the city of Johannesburg. They most definitely have a voice and challenges the status quo, and their different views with a community focus. They most certainly add value to the entity and the shareholder. It is most noticeable that community leaders have a transformational style to their qualities and traits as a leader. It is on that basis the researcher will demonstrate through the theories and research that is Transformational Leadership, and their qualities thereof is what is needed in the State Owned Companies in the City Of Johannesburg. Transformational leaders would most certainly advance the call for better, effective and efficient service delivery of services in the city. The researcher has focused on Transformational leadership as the conceptual framework for the purpose of this study. The data was collected after having conducted 18 interviews with respondents. The respondents are as follows - Board members of the entity - Faith based organisation in the city of JHB - Senior Administrative staff from the City of Johannesburg - Community leader from civil society Whilst having communities leaders are part of the board of the state owned entity, certain challenges were identified through this study, namely - Lack of leadership Skills - Inductions and knowledge of the business - All community based board members should sign a code of conduct and code of ethics - The skills mix of the board must include members from different areas of business - The must be oversight responsibilities fulfilled by the board members and not operational responsibilities - Stakeholder relations and Communications - Continuous professional development The researcher has also recommended strategies for implementation on the impact on the role of community leaders in the boards of the state owned entity in the city of JHB. They are as follows: - Board member’s must be trained on areas of leadership. The leadership qualities of board member’s must be developed and enhanced -The induction program should include areas like, roles and responsibilities of directors, financial management, the PFMA, strategy and leadership. - The skills mix of the board must include members from different areas of business, that is HR, finance, technical i.e. engineering skills, Strategy and corporate governance and leadership. - The Board of JOSHCO need to be at the forefront in terms of communicating with stakeholders, i.e. communities they service, suppliers, labour unions and the staff members. The board needs to be proactive and constantly engage with communities. - The board has to set up a transformation agenda / strategy - Board members must receive continuous training and development. They should be Members of IODSA hey and must kept abreast with relevant director developments and relevant changes that directors should be appraised of. The boards of state owned entities in the City of JHB is at the epicentre of service delivery for 4.5 million citizens of JHB. They must continue to drive the transformation agenda and ensure that the strategic goals of the entity and the shareholder will be realised. Board members must be willing to serve rather than self in rich. “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead “Nelson Mandela.
Thesis (M.M. (Governance and Public Leadership))--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits School of Governance, 2017.
Pillay, Rajendra Ganasen (2017) The role of community based leaders in the State Owned Entities in the city of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>