Nepotism is building the path to disaster and destruction.
There seems to be no professional control over the recruitment and appointment of employees in senior positions in our public service institutions and departments. Qualifications are publicly ridiculed and discounted by political leaders, executives and senior managers in our society. People with only secondary school education exposure land jobs as leaders of a political party in parliament, chief operating officers of public agencies and some even end up as president of the country. These are signals that our society is sinking deeper into the morass of government ignorance and recklessness. This reckless behaviour will have dreadful consequences for future generations.
People are being appointed in key senior and leadership positions in public service departments and public institutions, without the required and relevant qualifications, skills and experience. Young people without relevant qualifications and experience are being appointed in positions that manage the flow of resources and people into internal services and services to the public. This practice is causing public media storms and adding to the climate of public despondency over poor leadership and management incompetence in the country.
There seems to be no control over these erratic human resource practices. Why is nepotism practiced and tolerated and what will be the medium and long term impact of this malpractice?
Human resources departments in the public service of South Africa seem to be on their knees, begging for acknowledgement, tolerance, mercy and existence. They seem to have lost their professional integrity, authority, oversight and the grip they should have on recruitment and appointments.
The two reasons for nepotism are employment equity legislation and recklessness. The first drives affirmative action and preference for certain races in high reward positions, while recklessness drives the illegal exchange of qualifications, jobs and tenders between friends and connections for mutual benefit.
By condoning the appointment of unqualified and inexperienced people in senior and leadership positions in the public service, authorities are putting essential services, resources and people in our society at risk. The sad thing is that the public is paying tax with no say in the appointment of people in any public position.
Qualification, competence, skills, knowledge and experience requirements are the essential elements of effective performance management, trust and excellence in every organization in society. Large scale nepotism is the key driver of grievance and greed, which in turn lead to conflict, revolution and war. The first thing students of public administration excellence are taught is to ban, prevent and eradicate all forms of nepotism. People who are the beneficiaries of nepotism and fraud loose the respect of friends, colleagues and the public when they fail or don’t succeed because of inexperience and incompetence and they end up as self-pitying outcasts or criminals.
The essential contribution of qualifications and experience requirements in selecting the right person for the job is to secure a gifted individual with full understanding of the design and operation of key processes and practices and the ability to influence effective outcomes. This is called proficiency. Experience adds to understanding and proficiency because of experiments, successes and failures in the real world. The most successful individuals in the world in business and public governance have all sharpened their insights and proficiency through studying, learning, experimenting with and applying practices that ensure success. Nepotism is the broad path to disaster.