READER LETTER | Leadership positions belong to educated people

20 January 2023 - 11:26
Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Rattanakun Thongbun Stock photo.

It was Plato, the philosopher who foundd academics, who wrote in his book The Republic that the educated should exclusively be entrusted with leadership, and that from the moment children are aware, they should be educated until they are adults.

There is a crisis in our state and it emanates from the previous administration. I do not take away from former president Jacob Zumas term when he built two universities, Sol Plaatjie and Walter Sisulu, recreational parks in communities, put SA in the BRICS alliance and established the New Development Bank where investment funds are reserved.

However, his decisions to deploy undereducated people in critical positions has collapsed our state and SOEs. Eskom has been changing CEOs regularly, with all of them not finishing their term of office because they were not capable of leading it.

When then Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe resigned, one of his reasons was the difficult circumstances of the job. Dudu Myeni was chairperson of SAA. It became insolvent, and after government bail-outs and failed business rescue, it was recently sold.

No one appointed as the National Director of Public Prosecutions has finished their 10-year term of office. One of the appointments, Nomgcobo Jiba, was struck off the bar of advocates by the General Bar Council for being dishonest in affidavits.

There have also been questionable appointments: for instance, Des van Rooyen was appointed as finance minister without having experience or education related to the post. Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke was overlooked for appointment as chief justice after giving a dissenting judgment that the DPCI, also known as the Hawks, should be a private entity instead of being a public entity to ensure its independence.

It is clear to me that some of the abuses of power and corruption we have witnessed that led to the collapse of the state in the last administration could have been done out of ignorance. Was Nelson Mandela – who studied for a BA Law degree at the University of Fort Hare and continued to get his LLB degree at Unisa and then attended the law school at Wits – convicted for corruption? Or was Thabo Mbeki, who got his Masters degree in Economics at the University of Sussex in London, brought before a court of law for corruption?

We have witnessed Jackie Selebi, Richard Mdluli and Schabir Schaik get convicted for corruption. There are others who have been brought before the courts and remain innocent until proven guilty. Unless we want to see the same theatrics for as many times and for however long, there has to be a change, and for it to happen, educated, or even better, highly educated people must be appointed in leadership positions.

Israel Tshetlhane, Krugersdorp