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SA's Next President

13 September 2012, 14:10

In December the ANC’s leadership will vote for the party’s top six positions at the party’s national elective conference in Mangaung. One of the positions to be filled is that of the President of South Africa for the following four years. We must ensure that we deploy our best talent in this position.

Despite the tradition in the ANC to be loyal to leaders, it is generally expected that a new President and Vice-Present will be elected. Rising civic and labour unrest in communities and workplaces and a wave of rebelliousness amongst the youth had paved the way for new loyalties at the conference and a change in leadership.

Even amongst the ruling elite there is a view that a leadership change is needed. Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile recently said. "We must renew our leadership and make sure when we elect leaders in Mangaung we bring in the new generation of leaders." He also said “we need radical change so that in 18 years or 20 years of democracy our people can look back and say we have a better life”.

The selection of local leaders will be an affair out of the eye of the general public. Candidates will not be required to campaign and fight for election, like we are seeing in the US, where candidates are required to publicly reveal and display their personal and leadership attributes. In the absence of a public popularity campaign for a new president we run the risk of missing the best talent.

Candidates who enjoy general public respect and admiration for their conduct and skills must in some way find their way into the selection process. We must select the candidates with the best potential for successful leadership. The leadership traits and attributes for success in a competitive world and economically exploding continent must influence the choices. The media must play an extensive part in informing and influencing the choices. Awareness of the ideal character traits, attitude, attributes and competences must be built on a daily basis. We must in some way intensify the competition for the leadership positions of South Africa.

We are blessed in South Africa that we have a world around us from which we can learn about leadership successes and failures. We can read and hear how presidents of countries and chief executives of global companies succeed or fail and why. We will have no excuses if we select leaders who can’t and don’t succeed. We will not be able to blame it on past policies, prejudice, the environment or the global market. They will all have a fresh start.

We must make sure through the media that the candidates who ultimately walk away with the crown of South Africa have the communication and charisma to fire up people and distort their reality fields, making them believe that we are the best nation on the planet. We need leaders who are stern taskmasters who understand the art of the possible, rather than long-range dreamers. We need leaders who pay attention to detail. We need leaders who strive for perfection but are pragmatic about the possible. We need leaders who are consistent in holding people accountable and who expect the genius in everyone to grow and flourish. That means pushing relentlessly forward rather than milking old successes. These leaders must be able to communicate both from the heart and the mind, without having to rely on a piece of paper to give a public address. We need leaders who understand the need for spiritual escape to recharge the spirit. We need leaders who have the emotional intelligence and values that will douse the fires of desires that are ignited within by power, wealth, lust and status. We need leaders who understand the power of love and the importance of families, schools and workplaces in building the human capital for a great nation. We need leaders who know that the world is being irreparably damaged by exploitation and greed and that modesty, prudence, temperance and frugality are our future saviors.

The media must use every opportunity before the national elective conference in Mangaung, to make the adults and youth of South Africa aware of our responsibility to select the best leaders for our future.

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