Response of department of transport to food security in South Africa : leading agility during COVID-19

14 May 2021

LEARNING OUTCOMES : Gaining skills in analyzing context during a crisis situation, using a political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental framework understanding strategic leadership engagement with stakeholders to cultivate an environment for emergent change gaining skills in drawing up a strategic communications plan. CASE OVERVIEW/SYNOPSIS : On 15 May 2020, Alec Moemi, Director-General of the South African Government’s Department of Transport (DoT), contemplates how his department can use the opportunity that COVID-19 presents to transform the transport system and to maintain relationships with business and the taxi industry beyond COVID-19? The nation was just reeling from a first: the President announced a “lockdown” which meant that all economic activity except “essential services” could operate. Life almost ground to halt and South Africans faced a new reality. No movement out of your property unless it was a medical emergency or if you needed to buy food. The minibus taxi, an economic enabler to millions of South Africans also had to stop operating. The South African DoT had a mammoth task of communicating to a range of stakeholders. However, the most sensitive being the minibus taxi owners, drivers and their related associations. How would they accept the news that they will not have a livelihood for the next few weeks or perhaps even months? Given the nature of industrial shift patterns and need for a more flexible transport system for workers, some organisation’s such as Nestlé contracted private transport services to ensure their staff travelled to work safely. Nestlé also had their own compulsory sanitizing protocols in place to support private transporters. COMPLEXITY ACADEMIC LEVEL : Postgraduate programmes, including MBA, MPhil Corporate Strategy and Masters’ Public Administration and Executive Education Programmes.