In the world of employment an interview serves to critically assess whether the candidate’s fit for the role. The interviewer will interrogate the prospective candidate on past career successes, lessons learned and play different scenarios to test the candidate’s character. Some interviews are then followed with assessments, that aims to get a sense of how the candidate work in teams, their emotional intelligence, what motivates them and their problem solving skills. I wish the same rigour could be employed when assessing political parties who will assume governance of South Africa.
I have been listening yet again how politicians are taking South Africans on an emotional journey to the promised land of expropriation without compensation. The picture is painted that this will be the land of milk and honey that will solve all problems that we have in our country at the moment. I am very appreciative of the fact that apartheid has left many economical, structural and psychological wounds to our country but I hold a view that land expropriation without compensation is not going to solve all these problems.
I would challenge South Africans to start interrogating the following with regards to our politicians:
Leadership character: John C Maxwell says everything rises and falls on leadership. The current state of lawlessness, aggression, violence, lack of accountability, and blame shifting is very reflective of our leadership. The leadership of the ANC has been plagued with lawlessness for a long time and hence poor service delivery in all spheres of government. The leadership of DA is big on blame shifting, they would rather die than acknowledge that transformation is key and transformation is not only about black faces.
The transformation our country needs is a state of being: transformation in how business is conducted, transformation in the economy, transformation in engagements and interaction, transformation in thinking. If we don’t get this right as all South Africans, our solutions will continue to create more problems for future generations.
The EFF on the other hand needs to account for what they have done with regards to the little they own. We need to know how they are leading the radical socio-economic development they so much praise as part of coalition governments. Although I appreciate the relevance of EFF in reminding the ANC that they might not rule till Jesus come, I do hold a view that we cannot solely vote for people based on the fact that they can recite economic development research articles with eloquence.
Fit for Purpose: We are all aware of the challenges in our country: physical, psychological and systematic residues of apartheid, systematic exclusion in economic participation, unemployment, crime, poor public sector delivery (education, health, sanitation) Public and Private Sector Corruption, Lack of universal values and ethics that define us as a nation, Ailing Justice system to name a few. With the above challenges, what kind of leader and leadership will we require, have a view on the political party’s past history of success and lessons learned and the ability to articulate this with clarity and truth.
The next key question after clarifying the type of leader and leadership required is to realistically check if such political party exists or will we need a combination of different political parties to fit the role and what will this combination look like.
Performance Management: I find our system flawed in that once we vote, we neither have sight of political parties’ performance objectives nor have ways of holding them accountable. We then find ourselves in a situation were burning tyres, destroying the little resources we have and Twitter remain our ways of holding our leaders to account. We need to change this, we need to demand clarity on what the key objectives are for each ministry, how will performance be monitored and most importantly what will happen if people do not deliver. We also need available ways one can hold the government accountable. Any political party that puts this in practice will change South Africa.
Lastly, we all need to play our part in our little spheres of influence to make this country thrive, be leaders in your own space. We need to get into the habit of asking ourselves in our every action, our every tweet, how is this contributing towards building a better South Africa.
It is very fulfilling to the ego to point fingers and but while we point fingers lets reflect on the finger that is pointing at us. Most importantly let us not be complacent in consuming what politicians tell us, let us interrogate, debate and implement.
Once we have expropriated everything we will wake up to the realisation that the two things that truly needed expropriation were servant leadership and doing unto others as we would like to be done unto us.