Decisions reflect quality leadership

2020-02-05 06:01
Tshegofatso Leeuw Social Observer

Tshegofatso Leeuw Social Observer

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“We are in a mess because of Nelson Mandela . . .”, “Mandela was a traitor and a sell-out . . .”, “FW De Klerk must be prosecuted . . . ”

So often I hear these statements, or similar declarations. Most recently in a taxi, where close to five people were raging about how Mandela was a sell-out.

Not only is Madiba branded as a sell-out, but also De Klerk.

Yet the latter is never recognised for his role in attaining freedom. Could you imagine the wrath that De Klerk faced from highly conservative communities?

I often tell people that it is easier said than done. It is easy to proudly boast about how you can plan and implement a project, for example, or make an important decision.

Among the many lessons I have learnt regarding leadership, I have realised that decisions must sometimes be made quickly around an issue with a compromise on the table.

There you are at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) during the early 90s; briefcase, notepad and pen in hand.

Do you go into the meeting with arrogance, a big head inflated with ego? Do you think you are the be-all and end-all?

Or do you go in humbly, willing to make a compromise?

Let’s put ourselves in De Klerk’s shoes for a moment. What would you decide? You see that your administration has hit the wall, the country is going nowhere – socially, economically, politically and culturally. What could you have done differently?

Well, at Codesa, I would have limited the powers of the president. I would have insisted on the position of a prime minister. I would have limited their time in office to six years, both the president and the prime minister.

I would have left negotiations as they were. In De Klerk’s position, I would have done the same. That is leadership.

Mandela often told us that he is only human. Unlike modern-day leaders who shy away from decision-making and hate to admit mistakes, Mandela owned his flaws.

This year marks 27 years since Mandela and De Klerk received the Nobel Peace Prize.

My grandfather had a video tape recording of that historic event; and event which served as an example of peace and leadership.

This is what we as a country should stand for and strive for. Nation-building should be continuous, and racial harmony should be every patriotic citizen’s priority.

A good friend of mine from the North West, Vernon Paai, often says: “We were liberated by clever people. Mate, there are countries without governments, and countries lead by dictators.”

I believe we have one of the best constitutions, one which many around the world have applauded. Our electoral system is not perfect, but it is fair. Our national anthem was voted as the world’s best in December 2018.

Let us be thankful and have great love for our country.


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