South Africa envisages a community-orientated approach to primary health care (PHC). Family physicians and primary care doctors have important roles to play in leading, implementing, supporting and maintaining community-orientated primary care (COPC). In this article, we define COPC, its key principles and approaches to implementing it in health services. Following this we describe the key competencies expected of family physicians and primary care doctors in leading and supporting its implementation; providing clinical support to the PHC teams and linking these teams to other parts of the health system, other sectors and the community. The required knowledge and skills underlying these competencies are also discussed and some specific tools included…more