“Animal Farm” leadership ethos leading to governance failure – Public Protector

An “Animal Farm” leadership ethos instead of a Batho Pele kind of approach was one of several factors that appeared to contribute to governance failure, Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela told the annual Black Management Forum conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

She told delegates that power-mongering and endless power struggles in organisations -often exacerbated by external influences- seemed to add to a number of factors that led to instances of poor governance.

Explaining the “Animal Farm” analogy, the Public Protector said some of the investigations she dealt with pointed to a culture whereby some state actors used public resources for their own comfort ahead of addressing the needs of the people.

She said this practice led to a trust deficit between the state and the people.

About power-mongering, the Public Protector said people tended to withhold their knowledge in a bid to spite their colleagues or bosses as they jostled for control of organisations. She added that this resulted in a negative impact on governance.

The Public Protector said other factors included inadequate or distorted accountability to shareholders and citizens, which also led to an increasing trust deficit. It further led to violent protests as seen in cases such as those of the Malamulele community. She indicated, however, that she was not condoning such acts.

Loss of institutional memory; inadequate skills, knowledge and values; and lapses in leadership and leadership ethics and integrity were other factors.

“A high leadership and technical skills turnover in organisations exposes the organization to uncertainties about rules, procedures and systems,” she said, explaining to the factor of institutional memory loss.

The Public Protector added that an emerging culture of lack of respect for the rule of law, poor or inconsistent enforcement mechanisms and inadequacies in the regulatory framework at enterprise or organizational level were other factors.

She called on concerned players within the business community to refrain from offering or agreeing to provide bribes or other forms of gratification. Refusal to form part of cartels and reporting of invitations to participate in such activities were critical.

“Refrain from using power and connections to influence the issuing of unnecessary tenders or getting tenders you do not qualify for,” she implored concerned business people.

“Operate ethically, taking in to account the need for sustainability, including knowing that having islands of influence in a sea of poverty is not sustainable.”

The three-day conference, taking place at the Gallagher Estates in Midrand, is being held under the theme: “Can Good Governance Increase Trust Among Government, civil Society, Labour and Business.

For more information contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector South Africa
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 23, 2013