Vote of no confidence: Rational thinking required

2017-04-12 15:23

I am extremely concerned, nervous and worried about next week’s motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be held in a special sitting of Parliament. Is there a plan of action in place in case President Zuma is successfully voted out and his supporters would refuse the result of a democratic process that seeks to remove the president? Will it not be better to allow President Zuma to complete his term of office and not let the Country to implode? Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina warned white people and the civil organisation Save SA that things might get “very very rough”. (10 April, News24). To quote Masina: “So please, we just want to request [Save SA] nicely: don't divide our nation because if you continue to do so those that sided with you in 1994, they won't be here in five years.” “It might be very rough and we are many, this is not a threat, we are many [and] it might be very very rough.”

I believe that before we go into a motion of no confidence vote in President Zuma we need to ask ourselves do we have a pool of ethical, moral, diligent and service orientated leaders to take over and continue with nation building and social cohesion. Although there is almost a nil chance of that motion of no confidence passing, we need to think about the future, outside the box and conscientiously.

As a constitutional democracy, it should not be tragic if a president is correctly removed from power. Parliamentarians as representatives of the people owe their duty to the citizens and the Constitution and not to the party they belong. In this regard former President Thabo Mbeki has also appealed to the African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MPs) to put the country’s citizens first and therefore they must vote ethically and with a conscience. However, seeing the behaviour and the attitude of Zuma’s allies at the recent Ahmed Kathrada’s solemn memorial, it seems his allies would not accept the result, especially if President Zuma is booted out. Even ANC party leaders such as treasurer- general Zweli Mkhize are ashamed of the behaviour of some of Zuma’s allies. To quote Mkhize from a news report: “Mkhize has called the youth league’s behaviour unacceptable and embarrassing and says they need to be educated politically.” The statement comes after Mkhize was interrupted by some ANC Youth League members in KwaZulu-Natal while addressing the memorial service for Kathrada. Until and unless citizens learn to respect the Constitution and we deepen the understanding of democracy, some citizens will not respect the motion of no confidence.

As tough as it is to admit, many leaders in their quest for self-aggrandizement and fame are unwilling to let go of their positions. Due to hierarchies, loyalty, herd mentality, seniority and a profound fear of change we are not prepared to bring in skilled people to lead and transform.

I find in most organisations, even in community based and religious organisations, some members have long outgrown their stay, but are still hanging on to their positions to the detriment of the organisation and communities they serve. Other members of the organisation or conscience-driven individuals can see the rot but are not prepared to ruffle the feathers. The weakness that has befallen our leaders and organisations is obvious to all. It is shown at every level: political, economic, personal, organisational, social and religious.

Once leaders have served their time they need to graciously move on and bring in new blood to ensure the stability, growth and continuity of the Country, institution or organisation. There are no special privileges or entitlement in life. We must grow out of that. People must earn their positions, titles and jobs.

Leadership change and being prepared for those expected realities like death and old age should be the standard policy of every organisation. To avoid emotional crises and stagnation, organisations should build into their constitutions mechanisms for effective leadership transition.

Despite a huge demand for efficient and ethical leaders across South African societies and organisations, the pool of suitably qualified and experienced leaders is relatively small.

We are in dire need of ethical leaders. That does not mean moral leaders do not exist, they do albeit in short supply and small numbers. In order to close the gap between what is required, and the skills, experiences, qualifications and track record potential candidates have, we need to establish programmes to create leaders. We need new and talented blood to lead the change and make a difference in people’s lives, especially the working class, the less privileged and for all who live in South Africa.

To create a pool of future leaders and entrepreneurs, the government, private sector, civil society and educational institutions need to work collaboratively.

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