n Journal of Public Administration - The evolution of environmental stewardship as a leadership philosophy for the South African public sector : critical considerations

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The leadership debate has gained momentum on the political, social and economic front; however very little has been said on the issue of developing leaders who have a vision of a greener and environmentally sustainable future for the country. South Africa, and the rest of the African continent, faces tremendous challenges from a climate change perspective due to multiple stresses and low levels of adaptability to changes in the environment. The National Development Plan (NDP) makes it clear that South Africa's future is dependent on a low-carbon energy sector and an investment in a green economy. Consequently, this paper brings to the fore the need for an environmental leadership agenda, one that puts forward a stewardship philosophy to implement the tenets of the NDP. It is also evident that in South Africa there are adequate resources, there is a plan (NDP), and good leadership role models, but arguably the current cohort of leaders to ensure success of the NDP from an environmental perspective is insufficient. This is also supported by the King III Report on Corporate Governance which implores sustainable business practices which focuses on environmental sustainability and leadership. The burning question that this paper will therefore address is whether the adoption of an environmental stewardship philosophy in the South African public sector will contribute to a future that is environmentally sustainable, whilst promoting economic growth and social development. The paper will also attempt to identify the challenges in the Singaporean and Indonesian national development plans, and will map out the lessons that the South African environmental sector can learn.

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