Investigating perceptions of the impact of public sector leadership on road infrastructure delivery.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the perceptions of the impact of public sector leadership on road infrastructure delivery. This was a consequence of the perceptions among the voluntary organisations that public sector leadership is ineffective and hence there is no or slow delivery of road infrastructure. It is well recognised that road infrastructure is the driver of the economy because the movement of people, good and services is dependent on transport. Generally, the government (public sector) would (through a tender process) approach the consulting engineering firms within some voluntary organisations to develop road infrastructure master plans. These master plans would include timeframes and related costs. However, the voluntary organisations have noticed that some of the timeframes that the public sector had been advised on to deliver road infrastructure had passed without any valid reasons for non-delivery. This has been going on for a while and prompted questions in the civil engineering industry about the ability of leadership in the public sector to drive infrastructure development. The lack or slow pace of road infrastructure delivery is also attributable to people occupying positions they are not qualified for. The literature revealed that 69% of the technical management positions in the public sector are occupied by people who are not qualified for the positions. Another element which was acknowledged to inhibit road infrastructure delivery is corruption. The literature suggested that 30% of the government budgets end up being used in corruption. This has caused the country to fail to deliver infrastructure and basic services to the needy. Consequently, the perception of the world towards South Africa, with regards to integrity and corruption, is that South Africa is amongst the most corrupt countries in the world. The qualitative methodology approach was employed and purposive sampling was used. Twenty, in-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with respondents from both the public and private sectors. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of the research indicated that the public sector leadership is ineffective in driving road infrastructure development. The results also suggested that the lack of accountability and drive in the public sector hinders the delivery of infrastructure. The respondents proposed that the public sector must stop emphasising black empowerment in place of competency. It was further advocated that effective leadership is required in the public sector to deal with incompetency and corruption in order to deliver infrastructure, which is key in bridging the gap of inequality that was created by apartheid. The findings of the research can be utilised by other departments in the public sector who grapple with service delivery challenges.