Quality leadership defined in three little words 10

It’s the beginning of tax season and during an announcement about the upcoming period Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made the following statement:

“What we are trying to generate is the right kind of values in our society, values that say we must be honest about what we earn, values that say that we must declare honestly, values which say that we recognise that our taxes are going to contribute to the wellbeing of other South Africans that are not as well off as we are.”

While many things have been said and done by members of government that completely contradicts this statement and while the inconsistent behaviour of political leaders is nothing new, I can’t help but feel a pang of irritation every time I read a comment like this one.

Now on the one hand I commend him for at the very least saying that these are the kind of values that South African’s ought to have – honesty and concern for fellow citizens, yes definitely.

But at the same time I have been struggling to understand what he means when he says government is “trying to generate…” In what way has government been generating these kinds of values I wonder?

The ongoing reports of fraud and corruption, stories of government officials acting decidedly dishonest and secretive about declaring what they earn would in my mind generate the very opposite values to the ones the minister so earnestly requests from taxpayers.

This statement once again raises the question of how people in authority are allowed to say one thing and act in a completely different manner.

I have a theory that we are conditioned by our parents at a very young age not to question their behaviour. In this way we are taught not to expect consistency from people who are in authoritative positions, ‘to do what they say and not what they do’.

While relationship dynamics may differ the principle remains the same for everyone in a senior position.

Lead by example. 

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10 thoughts on “Quality leadership defined in three little words

  • Tony Dovale

    As the leaders go – so the rest follows….Improve leadership/govt integirty, honesty and we can have decent role models  with genuine character and decent ethics for people to truly look up to. Right now they seem to want people to look UP to them because they think they are HIGH and MIGHTY…


    So sad for AFRICA.. and ourt country. Lots of Talk and ZERO WALK!




  • sylvia hammond

    Hi to all – agree with Cindy completely on the need to “walk the talk”.  In answer to Chris on the issue of government corruption, in the interest of balance: yes corruption has been identified, however it is incorrect to give the impression that it is not taken seriously by government and that nothing is being done to identify and deal with this.  SA has been rated in the top five countries internationally for its auditing practices and many government officials have been dismissed or have resigned.  The latest yesterday was Gauteng local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi who admitted to using his government credit card for personal use and has paid back that money.  He claims that some of the other allegations made against him are not correct.  Police Commissioner Cele was replaced recently by the President after the adverse findings by Thuli Madonsela whose work is highly respected.  There are many more instances of officials being removed from their positions.  However, reporting on replacements and action taken never makes the headlines as corruption does.

  • Chris Reay

    The government performance, or rather the lack thereof as we know it, will eventually have to collapse. Fraud and corruption cannot be sustained for ever, and it is evident that it has become so endemic that the circumstances affecting the taxpaying public will reach a tipping point of resistance. How that will manifest itself is of course debatable. To witness such corruption on an increasing scale with little action and lots of ineffective rhetoric will eventually turn the tide. Gordhan undoubtedly means well, but he cannot be convincing if he does not get government to stop the rot.

  • Ian Webster

    Well spotted, Cindy. I liked what I heard him saying and thought I could agree with it, but I missed the “trying to generate” bit. Good points, thanks.

  • Cindy Payle Post author

    Thanks Moira and Shereen for your comments!The situation is incredibly frustrating and sometimes it feels like they are going unpunished, yet i still believe they have only won completely once we start to mimic their behaviour.

  • Des Squire

    Truth is stranger than fiction – as the great Bobby Burns said “Would to God the gift he gee us to see ourselves as others see us”

    Well said Cindy

  • Moira De Roche

    Great post Cindy. Sadly most of our government officials don’t understand the concept of Leadership, so they can’t  Lead by Example. I think that until we scrap proportional representation, and actually vote for the representative in our constituency, this will never change – because we can’t hold these “non-leaders” to account. 

  • Shereen Elmie Lepan

    I agree with every word here. Whilst government officials continue to line their pockets and hide earnings and expenditure, the public is expected to declare all earnings, with honesty.

    Too many government officials are  dishonest, perhaps they want us to honestly declare so that they can see how much more they can line their pockets with!