Winning formula

2008-10-16 00:00

“I put the right people in the right places.” This was Cape Town mayor Helen Zille’s explanation for the award that she has received from a global body called City Mayors as the world’s best mayor among 820 potential candidates. Like any worthwhile leader, she pays tribute to a good team rather than to herself, although her own leadership of the team is clearly crucial.

Zille claims not only to choose the right people for any particular role but also to give them authority, without the intrusion of micro-management, to get on with the job. This is true delegation without abdication of ultimate re-sponsibility. It is a formula that should apply elsewhere as well if a victory for service delivery is to be achieved. Zille’s award should not be seen through party-political lenses but be welcomed as a positive achievement for the country as a whole from which others, of every political persuasion, can learn and benefit.

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