Balancing his duties as the Director of Human Resource Development at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZulu-Natal and the leader of Pietermaritzburg’s Rock of Life Movement Church has been quite a juggling act for PhD in Public Administration graduate Reverend Collen Bongani Sibiya.
‘Studying became a large part of my life as my family, friends, as well as my colleagues at work could not really understand at times what was taking up so much of my time. Amidst the challenges of the balancing act, I was enthusiastic, optimistic and motivated to do a doctoral degree, knowing that it is a long project and bearing in mind that I was primarily doing it for myself. As a Reverend, I am proud to say that the members of my congregation and the church organisation at large have always been very supportive of my studies, for which I am very grateful and appreciative,’ said Sibiya.
Examining Strategic Management Processes in Public Organisations: A Case Study of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs was the title of Sibiya’s thesis supervised by Professor Mogie Subban. The study aims to address the fit between strategy development and execution for enhanced service delivery, whilst focusing on tangible outputs and performance-oriented outcomes that invoke public confidence in government.
‘The model provides an opportunity for senior managers to improve on efficiency levels in their leadership and management within the public institution, while managing financial constraints. It proposes the Six “Rights” Strategy Execution Model that could facilitate effective and efficient service delivery and organisational performance of KwaZulu-Natal as part of its “business” management approach to fulfilling its Constitutional mandate in the current dispensation and beyond. In conclusion, the department is encouraged to increase its allocation to operational plans in order to curb the problem of budgetary constraints hindering effective strategy execution and management,’ explained Sibiya.
Another hurdle that Sibiya had to overcome during his PhD journey was being involved in a car accident in October last year whilst travelling from UKZN’s Westville campus to work in Pietermaritzburg.
‘Luckily, the accident left me unharmed but I lost my computer and other equipment with research information as my car was written off. My supervisor, Professor Subban was extremely supportive of my calamity, and gave me an attentive ear as I recovered. She ensured that I got quickly back on track with my research. My lovely wife Lungile was my pillar of strength through the ordeal. My two beautiful children understood my time away from them during my studies. My dearest mum and my elder sister have been a tower of strength to me,’ said Sibiya.
Commenting on her student’s success, Subban said: ‘Reverend Sibiya has made me very proud with his academic accomplishment as he is a very obedient and respectful scholar despite his onerous work commitments and I commend him on his contribution to the field of public sector strategic management.’
Words: Thandiwe Jumo
Photograph: Rogan Ward