South Africa suffers from a doubtful history of its ability to implement policies
successfully. The disastrous effect of this legacy is that the apparent lack of expertise
and excellence may lead to a complete loss of the institutional memory in terms
of effectiveness and client satisfaction. Responsible and competent leadership is
needed by managers who understand the complexities of policy implementation.
They must weed out outdated practices the public sector is burdened with and do
all they can to attract and retain competent managers who are able to put public
service delivery on the track of excellence again. In the final analysis, the quality
and impact of policy implementation will be given determined expression to by
committed and competent leaders and those they lead.
In this article an effort will be made to present a model that will show that
leadership and performance are influenced by the commitment and competencies
of officials. The performances of people are stimulated by the ability of leaders
to provide vision and direction and to influence, inspire and empower them to
collectively achieve policy goals. Apart from the external impact (leadership) on
their performance, successful implementation of policies also requires internally
located driving forces, which, for purposes of this model include:
• Commitment depends on a person’s self-confidence and motivation. Strong
leadership by managers boosts the self-confidence of junior staff and peoples’
motivation is determined by their level of interest in their work and their
enthusiasm. • Competencies of employees in South Africa are affected by skills development
legislation as well as existing skills development practices.
A survey was done among staff members of different provincial government
departments and municipalities in the Free State and North-West provinces