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Era of Selfish Leadership in SA

28 February 2012, 09:56

Era of Selfish Leadership in South Africa

by Matthews Bantsijang, Pretoria (concern citizen)

I'm not sure if am selfish but I am sure we are living in selfish times. We live in the so-called 'first world,' and we may be first in a lot of things like technology, but we are behind in empathy. It is a fact that selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either. Modern leadership have adopted the culture of seeking illegitimate personal gain from their role via a form of illegal activity that include bribery, extortion, embezzlement, theft or other abuse of power to gain unfair and illegal advantage. I believe man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor's. Being selfish to me means that you look out for yourself and you don't sacrifice, you only want ‘instant’ gratification mainly wealth. My teaching from my early age is that false riches, consisting of money, houses and lands, acquired by selfish means at cost to others and are thereafter used selfishly, and are almost always used for the oppression of other persons.  A selfish man is a thief, period, morally and religiously so, it is bad, it is sin.


Misuse of  government power for other purposes has lead to serious sickness of political corruption. This corruption is in the form of illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government but close to all corrupt beneficiaries gaining undue proceeds. Most of the corruption cases we read about are about illegal acts by office bearers as most of the time these selfish acts are directly related to their official duties. Recent stories of corruption highlight forms of corruption as a result of selfishness that include that bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. The most extreme example these days is a kickback, where a leader share misappropriated funds allocated from his or her organization to an organisation involved in corrupt bidding.


A disease of unholy alliance has emerged which is a corruption between corrupt business and corrupt politics. This is like first task of the leader or statesmanship in this era; some highest echelons of the government leadership also take advantage from corruption or embezzlement from the state's treasury. Recent public reports allude to members of the government taking advantage of the natural resources like diamonds, infrastructure state tenders, state-owned productive industries, etc. to selfishly enrich themselves.


Manipulation of judiciary by the executive is visible. The practice undermines the principle of democracy as there is no separation of powers which creates a critical financial dependence of the judiciary. The proper national wealth distribution including the government spending on the judiciary is subject manipulation by financial muscle and political power. These practices perpetuate the money trail and political interference, and the connection between the contribution and anything in return is difficult to prove. For this reason, there are often unproven rumors, that are termed, smear campaigns, about many politicians.

It clear that individuals in the modern leadership lack ethics as the culture is to grab power, money, or satisfy your ego. We have given into the culture of materialism, we turn to be capitalists, which means that we urgently need to fight this cancer of bad government leadership where politicians lie for their own selfish interests while good government means when the politicians lie to us for their own good. Material racing is a very bad as it gave birth to self-centred and self-glorifying thing for the public good. Politicians are good to point finger on each other while they in bubbles and people across this street are losing their jobs, having their wages frozen or reduced. Wages are stagnant, but food, energy, toll roads, healthcare costs continue to rise. Day after day, we see OUR money being used to line individuals pockets, citizens are used as cash cows. I think corruption in South Africa is so out of control that it is sickening. People are scared to blow horn for the fear of their lives that often leads to anger, as it does with ignorance. Why are they scared? Because the world and the country have some severe problems and they have NO FAITH IN THE COMPETENCY OR INTEGRITY of our elected officials.

I have read a book about Haile Selassie, once Ethopian leader, and maybe you heard all the good things about Haile Selassie, and what was Haile Selassie problem, he wanted to be kings of king but he was such a selfish man after his old age, he did not want to leave his office or he did not want to give his power to the next generation like some of our leaders, and instead he stole the Ethiopians people’s wealth and he die with it. A leader does not exploit the poor and the helpless people who are unfortunately innocent South Africa tax payers. I believe that the leaders should focus on vigorous economic development, and doing what is right for the people, not their own personal agendas.


My theory is that the communities without caring leader work together, they help one another to grow. They build the wealth for themselves and for their communities here, so then each can contribute to their country. Some selfish individuals don't even like to support their own relatives unless they running wrong schemes, as all they do is just take care of themselves, really selfishness is our biggest problem. Selfish politicians loved to be the head of the country whatever it cost, I don't think they care about anyone, I agreed with the author on Ethiopian case, ‘we never see one great leader yet, they are all damn Selfish’ and is like we having many selfish leaders in South Africa. I was taught that life demands struggle and those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, greedy and insensitive to the real values of life.

I think selfishness is one of the major obstacles to modern marital or relationship communication these days and thereby harms the marital friendship.  We see this selfishness planting itself in communities and families. We hear lost man saying my wife's life for donkey years was centered around me. It was all about me. It was all for my ego. The myth of being successful these days is when you have to be selfish, or else you will never achieve success. This personality conflict results in a spouse manifesting a number of weaknesses including failing to listen, trying to dominate the conversation, failing to respect and appreciate the views of one's spouse, speaking in a critical and angry manner and competing verbally. Selfishness turns in a spouse so much upon himself or herself that this spouse fails to see and to appreciate the goodness, gifts and beauty in one's spouse,


In conclusion, I believe that if we can study the personalities of emergent leaders, there will be group of bad leaders who believe in monetary incentives, and the evolutionary hypothesis will be modern leadership has that group that have adopted a culture of capitalism by negatively benefiting from followers or voters while potentially it is costly for the community. As a country we need to address selfishness so that we can change and benefit on the faith of eliminating selfishness. History has proven that there is no relationship between leadership behavior and personal dominance, so stop being selfish.  We need to start recognising the role of good ethics and the role of faith in dealing this bad selfish leadership, hoping you remember ‘don’t steal’. Let's start to cut off our selfishness and think how to grow together. Let's try to show our proverbs like 'One cannot make a sound with one hand' are not only a saying but we mean it. Our country have everything in raw; money, natural resource, open mind, etc, but we are all using them the wrong way, to build self pride. Let's stop saying 'me' but 'we'. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are not born selfish for the better future of our beloved country.

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