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Assessing South African public sector maturity to implement the infrastructure delivery management system (IDMS).

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Infrastructure is the fulcrum of a strong economy. It can be considered as the backbone of every economy as it directly impacts on some elements of expansive socio-economic development which contribute to economic growth and development thereby increasing societal value and quality of life. Undoubtedly, infrastructure is critical and a prerequisite for economic growth and power. Likewise, the paucity of and lack thereof of adequate infrastructure impedes national growth and development. For most developing countries, there are large infrastructural deficits and the infrastructure gap is large, with infrastructure delivery being characterized by slow progress and development. South Africa too is fraught with a myriad of challenges affecting infrastructure delivery and this has seen the South African government prioritizing and scaling up expenditure on infrastructure to support its economic growth and development plans. In recent years, the South African government has made remarkable progress to support its economic growth and development plans and introduced recent enabling legislation and guidelines, in the process reducing poverty and inequality. However, it is still plagued with tremendous backlogs and shortfalls due to considerable bottlenecks, as a result of several systemic challenges that inhibit the effective delivery of infrastructural installations, the causes of which have not necessarily been identified or understood. Furthermore, there is severe persistence of infrastructure challenges facing the South African landscape despite numerous government interventions to scale up infrastructure delivery. The Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS), a government model formulated to ameliorate infrastructure delivery has not been adequately utilized so as to achieve its full effectiveness and efficiency. This could potentially be emanating from deficiencies in institutional capacities and capabilities and the lack of organizational readiness to utilize this model. Suffice to note is the reality that the challenges of infrastructure in South Africa are not primarily attributed to lack of funding but are as a result of institutional failures and a lack of requisite capacity within the Public sector Against this background, this study aimed primarily to develop and validate a maturity model for assessing and improving public sector organizations’ readiness for effective IDMS implementation. Upon model development and validation, the study assessed the maturity of provincial government departments in engaging with the extant IDMS and it formulated evidence based interventions to improve delivery and management of infrastructure projects. This was achieved through analysis of data obtained from the use of a nine-dimension Maturity Modelling Questionnaire and semi-structured Interviews. The results obtained were used to indicate Organizational Maturity on a 5-level scale where Level 1 is the initial/adhoc level which is indicative of a regressive organization with a complete lack of attributes and Level 5 is indicative of an optimized organization with world class attributes. An IDMS ready organization would ideally have a maturity rating at level 5. This study found that all three organizations that were surveyed had a maturity rating 3<organizational maturity level<4 signifying well defined and documented standard processes which can be improved over time. These results demonstrated the importance of the leadership dimension to improving organizational readiness to implement the IDMS. In other words, the leadership dimension can be viewed as a driver of all other dimensions, where a high maturity level under this dimension directly correlates with improved maturity in the other dimensions. In order to improve to the next level, the departments ought to focus on the low rated maturity items and dimensions and to provide constant training on IDMS activities. Practical guidelines to improve organizational readiness to implement the IDMS are presented in the study. Furthermore, it was found that establishment of an organization’s maturity level equips leadership with the right knowledge to make informed decisions, and this could help in formulating strategic plans and in fostering these organizations to effect necessary changes. Additionally, the organization could potentially relook at the organizational theories and management models they utilize, which in some instances could be hindering organizational success. A practical example of an improvement plan which organizations can adapt to address the challenges they are faced with is also presented.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.