SA needs integrity: Human rights activist

2015-03-10 12:15
Dr Rhoda Kadalie.

Dr Rhoda Kadalie.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - South Africans need to start saying "we just don't do that" to create a much-needed culture of morality, human rights activist and columnist Rhoda Kadalie said on Tuesday.

"Maybe we could start right now by altering the phrase to 'I just won't do that', when faced with the choice to do what is expedient rather than what is right," she said at the first Big Issue business breakfast in Cape Town.

"Unless we change our ways, the lack of personal, political and corporate integrity will become second nature to South Africa and the world."

Kadalie said she first heard this moral phrase when in Sweden to accept an honorary doctorate in the 1990s.

Her host refused to drive because she had had a glass of wine and Kadalie complained because she did not want to walk home in her high-heeled shoes.

Her friend said they simply did not behave that way and it struck Kadalie that ethics, morality and obeying the law were part of the DNA of the country's culture and society.

Kadalie believed there was one law for local politicians and another for citizens, causing confusion and disrespect.

Politicians often did not distinguish between their own vested interests and the national interest, going so far as to accuse people of being unpatriotic when caught out for such behaviour.

She had heard members of the Cabinet say "it is now our turn", implying it was their turn to "eat at the trough" like the previous government had done.

She said it was impossible to create a culture of integrity under these conditions.

"Human nature has proven to be untrustworthy at the best of times and that is why we need checks and balances to keep us on the right track," she said.

"That is why we have the Constitution, to protect the governed from those who govern, and we often forget that."

The consequences of being moral and having integrity were often dire. Whistleblowers were often treated like lepers and some died in obscurity, she said.

Kadalie said being unpopular in a sea of corruption was not necessarily a bad thing.

Read more on:    cape town  |  human rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
58 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.