Rapid research paper: COVID-19 governance, leadership and decision-making in Gauteng
The onset of the pandemic prompted one of the most ambitious efforts at adaptive governance of the democratic era in South Africa. Extraordinary measures were put in place to achieve cooperative governance vertically across the spheres of government, and horizontally across the functional departments. Many important and innovative measures were achieved in this process, impelled by the sense of urgency and common purpose inspired by the fact of the pandemic. Simultaneously, and predictably, the ability to achieve the full intended adaptive response was conditioned by a number of existing factors and structural realities in a complex city region and a transitional society.
In mid-2020, shortly after the first COVID-19 wave, GCRO was asked by the Gauteng Provincial Government's Office of the Premier, working with the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) to contribute to a 'deep dive case study' on Gauteng's response to the pandemic. GCRO was requested to look at aspects of governance, leadership and decision-making. This component of the case study was completed in January 2021 and integrated with other sections exploring, inter alia, the Province's health response, economic response, communications, and so on. The integrated case study was counted as a background document in South Africa's Covid-19 Country Report (2021) (1st edition), launched on 30 June 2022.
Observations emerging from this case study – noting important adaptive achievements as well as significant limitations – provide valuable insight into some of the conditions that enable and support effective approaches to adaptive governance in a sub-national context..
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