Cult of bad leadership

2014-12-10 13:45

The ability to lead requires ­selflessness and a natural ­inclination to place the people first.

With the start of the fifth Parliament, we have seen the majority party unapologetically disregard the people, and put politics and personalities before the interests of South Africans.

Politically, South Africa finds itself in a leadership vacuum where those at the top are in it for themselves. The people who depend on their leaders are left to fend for themselves and, as a result, they take matters into their own hands and seek out a voice in the ranks of opposition leaders.

In the absence of tangible leadership, citizens take to the streets to voice their anger. It should be noted that citizens don’t spontaneously take to the streets. This usually happens after ­numerous cases of reporting long-term problems to government through councillors, mayors or national departments.

It is so often the case that angry residents are correct in being angry; they have been wronged by those sent to lead them – those who will not own up to their personal ­failings and acknowledge the ­effects of their poor leadership.

We need a more demanding civil society, which can hold the government ­accountable as a collective – this is not only the work of the DA and other parties that occupy the opposition benches.

South Africa needs citizens who hold not just the executive accountable, but also hold councillors and members of Parliament accountable.

We have a president who in most ­instances is running away from his ­responsibilities as a leader and involves himself in acts that fail the oath of office he took as president.

Like the president, we have seen this tendency of side­stepping the responsibility of leadership manifest itself in ministers who don’t ­appear before committees, or fail to show up to answer oral questions in the National Assembly.

The election of President Jacob Zuma was an outcome of the cult of ­personality. President Zuma has shown time and time again that he is not fit to lead South Africa, yet the cult his cheerleaders have created around him carry him through.

When we think about the kind of country we want our children to live in, we must also examine the kind of people we elect to lead us.

Maimane is DA parliamentary leader

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