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Only ethical leadership can rebuild our country
Church in the Bay - Media Release in the Herald: 29th November 2021
We are at the crossroads as a country. Back to News Index
We either build or completely destroy our country.
It has been 27 years since the dawn of democracy.
In 1994 South Africans consigned their hopes and dreams of a new South Africa in the hands of our leaders.
South Africans were invited to embrace forgiveness and reconciliation.
The leaders of that time received an optimistic response from the people of this beautiful country.
In their poverty, they found meaning in being rich in forgiveness and reconciliation.
They assumed that forgiveness and reconciliation would pave the way to a better life for all.
Twenty-seven years later we still don’t see a significant change in the lives of the people. Why is that the case?
South Africa has experienced an era of a leadership vacuum.
There is no community or country that would prosper without ethical leadership.
Prosperity and better life for all can only be achieved through ethical leadership.
In the Old Testament whenever the Israelites had a good leader they would experience prosperity. In the absence of ethical leadership, they found themselves suffering and being exiled.
Ethical leadership is essential for success and prosperity of any nation. What is ethical leadership?
Ethical leadership is leadership directed by principles and philosophy.
In reflecting on ethical leadership Emmanuel Kant invoked the understanding of Aristotle of five principles of ethical leadership.
Ethical leadership is about embracing respect, service, justice, honesty, and community. These principles empower the leader to set his/her people on the path to prosperity.
All these principles are necessary and complement each other.
In the case of our beloved country, we find leaders who lack respect for their own people.
Our people lack creativity because our leaders fail to provide us with the sense of unconditional worth.
South African leaders are failing to nurture and respect their followers, this failure leads to a situation whereby people fail to respect one another, and crime becomes a part of people’s lives.
Service delivery protests have become the way of life in our country.
South African leaders have reached a stage where they are reminded through service delivery protests of their responsibilities toward their constituents.
Service is at the heart of empowering people.
What has become a norm is to see our leaders stealing the money and the resources that are meant to provide service to the people.
A leader should be concerned for the interests of others not their own.
The welfare of their people should be more important, than political and financial interests. Christ says in Matthew 23:11; “the greatest among you must be a servant”.
Our leaders have demonstrated that they are not interested in issues of fairness and justice.
There is no fairness and justice in the distribution of resources in our country: South Africa is one of the most unequal societies.
Political and business leaders seem to lack interest in addressing this inequality.
Justice demands that leaders place issues of fairness at the heart of their decision making.
It is 27 years into democracy, but our leaders are failing in addressing the sins of the past regime.
We can never speak of peace and reconciliation if we don’t deal with issues of justice. In the absence of justice, we cannot dream of peace.
When leaders are concerned about issues of fairness and justice, they are on the path that leads to success.
South Africans have seen dishonest leaders who have no sense of shame and dishonour.
Our leaders don’t know that to be good means to be truthful.
In order for leaders to have impact in peoples’ lives they must be truthful. Our leaders are failing to understand that being honest means, do not promise what you cannot deliver.
Our leaders are very divisive. They are dividing the nation by manipulating people for their personal gain.
Leadership means that you have a responsibility to lead your people to achieve a common goal.
That goal can only be achieved through accountability on the part of the leader.
An accountable leader can empower the community to achieve greater things.
Unity of a community depends on the quality of its leadership.
It is concerning that South Africa has poverty of leadership.
Unfortunately, it is not only the government that has a poverty of leadership. Business and religion face the challenge as well.
It is interesting to observe that one sector of our society is blaming the other for the lack of leadership, while they are in the same boat.
South Africans should approach the question of leadership holistically, the failure to do so will lead to a total collapse of our country.
Let us take notes of the words of Mahatma Gandhi; “you must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean: if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Let us identify and promote ethical leaders in our communities.
The kind of leaders who would lead us to our dreams and aspirations.
Let us hold hands as South Africans in fighting for a better life for all and a brighter future.
Father Ludwe Jayiya
Priest in charge of the Mater Dei Catholic Parish
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