Demand competent leaders, urges Ramphele

2012-09-27 11:50

Cape Town - South Africans are not doing enough to force government to deliver, activist and academic Mamphela Ramphele said on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of a gathering of international management education experts hosted by Stellenbosch University, Ramphele said there were various ways citizens could ensure their taxes were spent properly.

Ramphele, who urged business schools to pay greater attention to educating managers and leaders in the public sector, was speaking ahead of the start of the 20th CEEMAN Annual Conference on Thursday.

CEEMAN is a global association of more than 200 management development institutions from 51 countries. It is the first time the organisation is hosting its annual conference outside of Europe.

Asked about the option of withholding taxes she replied: "There are a whole range of options to citizens which they are not taking. Sannieshof is the municipality that demonstrated how you do that."

She was referring to residents in the North West municipal district of Tswaing, who refused to pay rates and taxes in protest against poor service delivery.

Ramphele stopped short of giving their action her full endorsement.

The academic said another option open to the private sector was demanding the skills levy was used for its intended purpose.

"For the last decade, they've been paying one percent of payroll into a hole," she said.

"We (are) short of skills, 800 000 skills... there are 600 000 graduates without jobs... instead of putting one percent in a hole, use that one percent to solve that problem."

She said the reason for inaction was a culture of acquiescence from both private and corporate citizens.

Ramphele said some organisations were breaking the silence, although more critics were needed.

"I'm very excited to see the likes of Section 27, Equal Education and the Legal Resource Centre: civil society organisations that are standing up and saying 'enough'!"

She said the constitutional provision of a professional, competent public service was being breached daily.

"The reason why it is possible for us to live with that violation is because you and I as ordinary citizens are not jumping up and down and saying: 'Hey, where is the competency'."

Ramphele singled out the National Youth Development Agency.

The auditor general found the NYDA had irregularly spent almost 70% of its budget.

She also targeted local government.

"When you have only 13 out of your two hundred and something municipalities getting a clean audit, you really are in trouble... we need our taxes to be more efficiently utilised by more competent people. That's not rocket science, it's possible."

Ramphele said the failures of government were not as a result of the country lacking educated and talented managers.

"We are not using our best brains, our best energies, our best talents because we are tolerating loyalty which is the driver to public sector employment these days both at national, provincial and at local authority level and that is why we are under-performing, big time."

She blamed corporate citizens of shying away from criticising government.

"People are afraid of not being able to get government tenders, not being able to get that kind of access."

Ramphele said the country's Black Economic Empowerment was distorted and corrupted.

"Broadening the base of participating in the economy, which was supposedly the foundation of BEE, has not been the focus; the focus has been on who owns what and the same people get the same benefits over and over again."

Being critical did not mean people should not recognise what was working, Ramphele said.

"We have a great platform, whether it's the Constitution or the demography of South Africa, the natural resources, the mineral resources - we've got a lot that is going for us."

But, she warned this could remain simply a potential and not be translated into reality.

"That reality depends on you and I insisting on the best leaders in both the public and private sector so that we can become this great country."

Ramphele will also deliver the keynote address on the theme “My Country and Myself: How Do We Transform?” on Thursday evening.

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  • matshobana.siziba - 2012-09-27 12:09

    May you please arrange for such a lecture for the ANC and other wishful political daydreamers.!/MzansiPolitics

  • claudia.meads - 2012-09-27 12:15

    70% of the people who vote for the ANC are unemployed. The only need they have is be given everything for doing nothing - promise them this and they 'will die for you'. "Competent leaders" is the last thing they need - competence to them means they have to get up and start working for what they are getting - this is the reality of post-Polokwane 2007 South Africa. Until SA's academia/intellectual recognizes this reality, they will simply be eating, drinking and be merry, while Rome is burning...

      christian.erasmus - 2012-09-27 13:13

      Great Comment!!! Wish i could like it 2 times.

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-09-27 12:20

    This woman should be President

      lmphelasr.1 - 2012-09-27 13:03

      She's stolen my my vote from the ANC.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-09-27 14:06

      Anybody who works in public office, especially if in a position of power, should be required to have an IQ above 100, and a degree in science, engineering, law, etc... Why do we allow people with low intellect to manage our country? It should be in the best, most capable hands possible (which btw does not automatically mean white)

      sharon.truebodyvice - 2012-09-27 16:14

      The DA should take over and this Woman should be part of the DA. WOMAN RULE

  • Bfoq.Za - 2012-09-27 12:38

    Halelur! Ha-le-lur! This woman must be a racist!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-27 12:49

      What have you been smoking?

  • thepatrickwinter - 2012-09-27 12:39

    We say she should be president. Thing is, she is stating the obvious and it has been said counless times, the difference this time is it is from a public platform and from an educated black with a title and a credible track record. We need a organised tax boycott abit like the OUTA initiative.

  • watsongeorgejan - 2012-09-27 12:59

    To quote Cassius in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Poor ANC! We know they would not be wolves, but they see south africans are but sheep. They were no lions were not south africans hinds. Our destiny i agree madam is in our hands, only if the majority would realise this.

  • ingrid.oberholzer - 2012-09-27 13:00

    Isn't this the minister the collapsed the FISHING INDUSTRY in Cape Town and has taken away peoples livelihood?????She is speaking absolute rubbish ANC will never endorse this, shes obviously speaking to Europeans and it's what they want to hear.

      phae.rayden - 2012-09-27 13:21

      Not, best you google this incredible womans history. Who's asking for the ANC's endorsement? Read the article again.

      francois.leroux.779 - 2012-09-27 13:55

      No Ingrid, she has not been in government. Click on her name in the report above to see her cv; she was an activist with Steve Biko, is serving on numerous boards with distinction, and really is a voice in the desert for reason, growth and development - everything the ANC does NOT stand for.

      Erna - 2012-09-27 13:55

      Before you comment, do some research. And why is what 'Europeans' want to hear necessarily wrong?

  • lmphelasr.1 - 2012-09-27 13:02

    This madam sounds intelligent. Indeed, "the country's Black Economic Empowerment was distorted and corrupted"

  • phae.rayden - 2012-09-27 13:10

    \That reality depends on you and I insisting on the best leaders in both the public and private sector so that we can become this great country. - I hereby demand that you become a leader in the public sector, as our President. We are in desperate need of someone with your history and intelligence to get this country back on track, we are heading for social and economic collapse.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-09-27 14:32

    I love this woman! Calls a spade a spade and understands what taxes are for! "When you have only 13 out of your two hundred and something municipalities getting a clean audit, you really are in trouble... we need our taxes to be more efficiently utilised by more competent people. That's not rocket science, it's possible." It really isn't. Every tax payer is a form of investor. we pay our taxes to be nvested in building this country, and we expect to get something out - properly delivered services, proper public healthcare, well maintained roads and water infrastructure, new prisons, new power station and a growing economy. In tern, if the economy grows we will have more people being able to pay taxes and more investment. If you do not use the taxes as expected, you will not grow the economy, and essential services start crumbling. That's when you start calling for e-tolls and super taxes.

  • madoda.monamudi - 2012-09-27 15:40

    Start with Zuma he must step down.

  • nathaniel.kgokong.3 - 2012-09-27 16:44


      hezekiel1 - 2013-02-05 15:31

      before i went through Mamphele Ramphele's views about this country,i believed that South Africa lacked leaders to complement the sacrifises of our freedom fighters.How wrong i was.Ramphele is there and i can't wait for ur new party and until then,i will abstein from voting

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