Managing Change and Development Through Strategic Leadership and Governance in South African Social Movements

Managing Change and Development Through Strategic Leadership and Governance in South African Social Movements

Ndwakhulu Stephen Tshishonga (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2372-8.ch006


Proactive and reactionary social movements emerged throughout the world in response to inter-sectoral issues such as health, education, economy, environment. For managing and sustenance of social movements, forging collective identity, social mobilisation and campaigning, accountability and usage of demonstrations are fundamental. An effective use of these mechanisms are dependent on having strategic leadership and governance institutionalised to manage and sustain organisational change and development. This chapter therefore explores the strategic leadership and governance imperative for managing and sustaining organisational change and development within the context of South African social movements. Social movements such as Abahlali-baseMjondolo (informal settlement) and Treatment Act Campaign (health) were used as case studies to explore the dynamics that underpin social movements in their quest to manage transformational change and development.
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Social movements throughout the world emerged both in advanced and less advanced countries to fight for social justice and social change (Williams, 2005). Their formations have been spearheaded by the atrocities endured by grassroots and indigenous people in various sectors (DeCesace, 2013). In the context of South Africa, Bassett (2016) argues that the continued presence of new urban social movements on the political landscape is due to the failure of the ANC to establish effective municipal governance. The persistence of inequality, oppression and underdevelopment have in one way or the other left the poor with no option, but to mobilise and reclaim decent living conditions as a human right. As an apex body, social movements traditionally house numerous organisations ranging from community based organisations (CBOs) and Non-governmental (NGOs), the private sector to faith formations. The notion of social movement is often used exchangeable to denote organisations falling under civil society. According to Lewis and Kanji (2009, p. 64), civil society (CS) is a ‘designated realm in which consist of a set of organisational actors that are not part of the household, the state or the market’. By their very nature, organs of civil society are a cohort of varied groupings such as citizens’ group, consumer associate, small producer associations and cooperatives, women and youth’s organisations, indigenous and cultural peoples organisations, sport clubs, faith formations, trade unions, etc. (Atkinson, 1998; McIIwaine, 1998) Willis, 2005, Lewis and Kanji, 2009).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organisational Development: Is both a study and practice for structural change with assumptions, strategies, models and intervention techniques geared towards helping organisations build their capability to change and achieve greater effectiveness.

Social Movement: Is a less conventional for of participation where people with common goals mobile themselves and through an unorthodox means challenge the prevailing injustices.

Strategic Leadership: Is a leadership that is empowered and charged with the responsible of providing strategic direction and vision for an organisation.

Abahlali baseMjondolo: Is an informal dwellers’ member based movement formed in 2005 to fight for the rights relating to housing and land.

New Social Movement: Is an alternative movement to the old social movement and is known for its non-align to political parties.

Strategic Governance: Is governance model that provide strategic vision based on a shared and collaborative team work.

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