Accountability linked to failures: Madonsela

2013-10-23 13:00
Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Beeld)

Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Beeld)

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

Johannesburg - Lack of accountability and lapses in leadership are some of the causes of governance failure, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Wednesday.

"Whether we are talking about an organisation, or the state, it is a situation where the majority hand over power to the few, with the understanding that they are better off with a few managing their affairs," Madonsela told delegates at the Black Management Forum conference in Midrand.

"It is a relationship of trust and it can only succeed if those, who are entrusted with power and resources, understand that they are stewards -that resources do not belong to them."

She said it often did not work that way.

"At the level of government... we are getting a mentality [from communities] that says if we start a fire they will come," Madonsela said.

"With a trust deficit [with regard to government], some communities are increasingly resorting to violence and are literally starting fires with the view to draw attention to themselves."

She said this was happening in many disadvantaged areas.

"If those who exercise public power don't... [follow the democratic values in the Constitution], the criminal elements have an easier task of promoting a [violent] reaction."

Madonsela said her office was increasingly finding that leaders had problems understanding what it meant to do the right thing.

"Increasingly there is an issue of conflict of interest, where people place themselves in situations where really they have two masters," she said.

"When you find yourself in a situation with two masters, something has to give and often it is your organisation that has to give, and other interests take [precedence]."

Failure of governance

Madonsela said a "loss of institutional memory" also led to the failure of governance.

"Even if you get highly competent people, it is difficult for them to know volumes and volumes of internal policies," she said.

"Institutional memory loss leads to governance failures because increasingly people take action without going through the policies - because there are so many of them."

She said the life cycle of directors general was too short, and a significant number did not finish their three-year terms.

"It is musical chairs. The same applies to municipal managers, but increasingly it's applying to ministers, premiers, MECs, mayors and councillors," Madonsela said.

"Increasingly that continuity is lost."

Other causes of governance failure were a lack of skills, inconsistent enforcement, and power struggles, among others.

"Is it possible that good governance is the key that we lost in the transition from the society we inherited to the one we wanted to become when we signed the Constitution?" Madonsela asked.

Read more on:    thuli madonsela  |  johannesburg

Join the conversation! 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.