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CESA CEO advocates for leadership to drive infrastructure development in South Africa

Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), emphasises the crucial role of leadership in driving infrastructure development and professionalisation within the public sector in South Africa.

Campbell stressed the need for constructive and decisive leadership that focuses on national common interests rather than individual or divergent agendas. He highlighted the importance of finding common ground and maintaining a clear focus on service delivery and infrastructure development, despite the challenges posed by party politics.

“In the business of politics, it’s essential for leadership within government departments to prioritise service delivery and infrastructure development,” said Campbell. “We cannot afford to let party politics overshadow the critical needs of our communities.”

Acknowledging the challenges within various tiers of government, Campbell underscores the importance of senior management in driving effective governance and service delivery. He pointed out inefficiencies and dysfunctionality within government processes and called for a renewed focus on professionalisation within the public sector.

“The professionalisation of the public sector is paramount to ensuring sustainable service delivery and infrastructure development. We need to move beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps to strengthen the capabilities of government institutions.”

Campbell also highlighted the need for collaboration between industry stakeholders and government entities to develop frameworks that promote professionalisation and ethics within the public sector.

“We must add substance to our discussions on professionalisation by identifying the building blocks required for effective governance. Without a comprehensive framework supported by tangible initiatives, our efforts will remain ineffectual.”

Furthermore, Campbell emphasised the importance of addressing systemic issues such as employee accountability and productivity within the public sector. He advocated for a meritocratic approach that rewards performance and holds individuals accountable for their contributions.

“We cannot afford to perpetuate a culture of complacency and inefficiency,” Campbell asserted. “It’s time to instill a culture of accountability and productivity within our government institutions.”

Moreover, Campbell stressed the imperative of repurposing and upskilling the workforce to align with evolving economic demands, advocating for a pragmatic approach to foster productivity and efficiency.

“The role of professionalising the workforce and leveraging infrastructure projects to stimulate employment opportunities are critical. Such initiatives have a transformative impact, not only in immediate job creation, but also in fostering long-term skills development and reducing reliance on social welfare programmes.”

In conclusion, Campbell reiterated the need for proactive leadership and collaboration to drive meaningful change in South Africa’s public sector. “By prioritising infrastructure development and professionalisation, we can create opportunities for employment and economic growth. It’s time for our leaders to embrace balanced leadership and prioritise the long-term interests of our nation.”