Open letter to Cyril Ramaphosa: components of an effective apology letter

2017-06-23 14:53

I have recently observed that Cyril Ramaphosa is starting to be remorseful of the Marikana tragedy and considering the fickleness that has now become of the reigning leadership, I do not know if it’s genuine or it’s a necessary act to validate himself as a prospective president. The challenge is, believe it or not ANC still at their core think they will lead in the next National Election, they still know that despite their arrogance, corruption and of course being captured there are South Africans who are still captured enough by the past apartheid action and who still feel that ANC saved us from whites never mind that we had powerful people like Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe who were very instrumental in galvanising masses for the greater good.

I do however acknowledge that no one is perfect and as people we all make mistakes; I also firm believe that a man who can admit his mistake, correct it is a wise man. I therefore decide to write this to test Cyril on authentic leadership. I believe talk without action is cheap and would really restore confidence in Cyril if his apology contained views, actions on the matter below.

-Challenging mining sector to transform

Transformation is always viewed as having more black leaders who are voiceless on the Executive Management of organisations. Leaders who are always given less impactful positions like Corporate Relations Director/Human Resources Director or Legal Director. These leaders always find themselves at a position of no power base because admittedly or not they truly will not be prevue to most of organisational discussions because there is still old boys clubs that occur and take fundamental strategic decisions outside the boardroom. We need organisations to really start having Black Leaders in Finance Director/ Chief Operating Officer roles. We need leaders who will drive the strategic imperative of the organisation, mindful of the realities of the past and the current challenges the country is facing like poverty, lack of education for the marginalised and unemployment.

Better remuneration for miners

-The hypocrisy of organisations across sectors has always been that when organisations are performing well, the runner on the ground will always get crumbs of the profit but when the organisation is not going well, the runner on the ground will also be the one to be first hit.  Organisations will always keep the expensive executive team who would easily save so many people jobs if they got retrenched and rather leave the already struggling, already poor jobless in efforts to secure they need to exist. I still don’t understand how the whole world has never saw anything wrong with this.

-When I speak of better remuneration of low earning people in organisations, lazy rewards manager and HR always look at me like I am on drugs, I don’t expect you to give a miner 1.2 million per annum, with car allowance, medical aid, cell phone allowance, sign on bonus though considering the risk of their job they actually deserve this. I do however have the following remuneration suggestions.

-Sign on bonus for miners, this job is risky and it’s about time this is acknowledged, each miner can be give R5000-20 000 sign on bonus.

-Housing allowance, it is no longer acceptable that most miners do not have decent house to show for their sweat.

-Give miners cell phone allowance, they stay far from their families and they really cannot afford airtime unlike the fat cats CEO.

-Your bursary schemes should give preference to the children of miners working for you and communicate that clearly to the miners so they can tell their children.

-Have a clear career development plan for miners, there is utter madness in the fact that someone can work in a role and he never truly grow substantively. Yes not everyone will want to grow into something else given the intense periods of being conditioned that this is all you can be but for those who wish to grow, let the organisation make sure they are given opportunities and support to do so.

-Get ideas of where the miners stay and drive youth development projects there over and above in communities that you operate so that the manners children can have opportunities which could not be afforded to their parents. Organisations can use graduates to run Maths and Science tutoring in these communities, this will also ensure that the pipeline of your leadership talent because conscious of the need to serve as a leader and sensitize them on deep social economic issues facing the country that require both Private and Public Sector to act.

-Education on financial literacy and saving for retirement, organisations always understand sustainability for as long as it means the existence of such organisations but how many of their employees in low incomes bands really can sustain themselves after their employment. You cannot work for an organisation for over 30 years and leave like you were only employed for 2 years. We need to empower our people and give them ideas on how to plan for retirement maybe give them entrepreneurial skills; encourage and empower them to start business parallel to their miner jobs.

Open Dialogues with Labour Unions and Miners

Labour Unions were created from the premise that the working world is inherently unfair, not transparent and exploits people. The truth is to date this still occurs. What is even sad though is that labour movements themselves are exploiting the very people there are supposed to be serving. True leaders should sometimes leave their air conditioned offices and be in touch with the man on the ground. Have debates with them about the realities of their world and give them insights into the realities of your world and find a common ground. It’s no longer acceptable that people only see their leaders on TV, its time people get off their high horses and engage.  Accessibility, transparency and open communication followed by action, will increase trust and if done really well can also limit the manipulation of the gap between employer and employee by unions.


Lesego Setou writes on subjects around life, love and leadership. She is passionate about youth development and creating organisations that does business in mind, heart and soul.

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