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A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Sunday, 4 May 2014

FOR THE GOOD OF THE WHOLE

With #Elections2014 upon us, it might be worth reflecting for a moment on #leadership actions taken for the good of the whole in the context of where to make a mark on your ballot paper next week.

I start with the premise that where one is acting for a collective, or in a position of leadership, the only worthy action taken or decision made is one for the good of the whole. Any leadership action taken for the good only of the leader or a select group within the collective, but which does not further the interests of the whole, is inherently unethical and unworthy.  Whilst the premise of course places every leader in a conflict of interest situation, isn't great leadership really about rising above conflict and making discerning decisions?

Some recent examples: #JacobZuma allows obscene amounts to be spent on #Nkandla and doesn't question them.  He then gets fingered by the #PublicProtector (PP) for personally benefitting from taxpayers' money and neither resigns nor abides by her recommendations.  He would rather run for President again.  #PansyTlakula, head of the #IEC, gets fingered by the PP for corruption. She doesn't resign, but rather opposes impeachment proceedings by the Opposition parties.  The IEC then irregularly decides to pay her legal fees in opposing the impeachment.  #JuliusMalema of the #EFF declares that he cannot inspire the poor if he doesn't drive a flashy car and can't show off his wealth.  #Platinum mine bosses can't or won't reach a labour settlement with AMCU (and vice versa), so everyone loses billions of rands, including the national economy (except for the individual leaders of the mines and AMCU.  They keep on earning).  The EFF campaign only for higher wages for the (black) poor, bigger subsidies and grants as well as nationalization, but pay no heed to the likely effect on the greater economy.  Eskom bosses vote higher bonuses for themselves whilst the country finds itself in an electricity power crisis...

The point should be fairly obvious.   In every example the whole is subordinated to interests of the smaller part of the whole, so overall the whole is left worse off.

The moment the leader promotes his or her interests above those of the collective whole, the latter is at risk of suffering financial, structural, positional or moral ruin.  This is as much so for political parties as it is for businesses, sports teams and every other institution.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if the leaders I mentioned could rather voluntarily suspend themselves, appoint independent investigations, take voluntary pay reductions, and so on?

If leadership decisions could somehow be made from behind a veil which disguised the identity, race, political persuasion, religion and social standing of the beneficiaries, and those decisions could only be made for the good of the beneficiaries, how much more equitable for society might those decisions be?

So, come Wednesday 7th May, cast your vote for the good of the whole.  Just because you think that your chosen party can benefit your particular interest group in the short term, you might want to consider which party is most likely to benefit the whole collective of South Africa Inc. in the longer term.

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