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.

Chris Campbell, CESA CEO.

Chris Campbell, CESA CEO. Supplied by CESA

Decisive and constructive leadership focused on national common interests – rather than individual or divergent agendas – is what is needed, according to Chris Campbell, CEO of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA). He has also stressed the importance of finding common ground and clear focus on service delivery and infrastructure development. This, in spite of political posturing.

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

Campbell recognises that there are challenges in various tiers of government, however, he highlights how important it is for senior management to be the driving force behind effective governance and service delivery.

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

According to Campbell, there is a need for industry stakeholders and government entities to collaborate in order to create the framework for professionalisation and ethics in 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,” he says.

Systemic issues such as employee accountability and productivity within the public sector also needs to be addressed, and Campbell advocates 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 says. “It’s time to instil a culture of accountability and productivity within our government institutions.”

Repurposing and upskilling the workforce to align with evolving economic demands and advocating for a pragmatic approach to foster productivity and efficiency is also an important consideration.

“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,” he says.

Campbell acknowledges the need for proactive leadership and collaboration to drive meaningful change in South Africa’s public sector. He says, “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.”

Source: CESA