The Cape Town water crisis played out against the backdrop of party-political battles, which in some instances ended up affecting government decisions and actions. Such politicking can be counterproductive and destructive in a crisis. The importance of having strong leadership in place, and the right kind of leadership, was demonstrated once again.
The normal rules of political interaction need to be suspended during crisis periods in order to have a coherent response. The line between governance and politics should not be blurred. Leadership is key.
During rapid-onset disasters, leaders respond immediately to things that are falling down around them. Slow-onset disasters, on the other hand, require decisions as to when to call a crisis. Framing issues and prospects for leaders using data and information helps to focus decision making, says Craig Kesson.
Politicians and bureaucrats, respectively embodying representative will and technical expertise within the same system aimed at the delivery of public good, are highly interdependent. Craig Kesson, City of Cape Town Chief Resilience Officer, explores the nuances, strengths and challenges of a critical but complex relationship.