[notice]Forget the solutions of the world, says columnist Pastor Bongani Mgayi; we have the answer that the world needs.[/notice]We all lament the lack of good leaders and organisations that will be above corruption and that will exist to serve society. We even fantasise about ousting the corrupt leaders and supplanting them with fresh leaders who will be accountable to their stakeholders. However, any such replacement can be as frustrating as trying to kill the monster in a children’s movie and seven others appear in its place.
When we think of corruption we think of government irregularities, mismanagement of public funds or undue influence in administration. We might even think of a suspiciously awarded tender or secret amount of money exchanging hands.
In philosophical terms corruption means to deviate from some norm, standard or ideal – to shift from the pure to the impure. But, the world has been shifted from its axis a long time ago, such that there are no absolute norms nor what is absolutely pure anymore. The world lacks what some might call a moral compass.
There is no true north. Everything is relative and depends on the view which one may take. So then there is no corruption. Because for something to be corrupt it would have to mean moving from some agreed standard of what is pure and ideal.
We must admit that philosophy fails us, because we feel the impact of corruption in our daily lives.
The World Bank coined a term, “quiet corruption” in its report, Africa Development Indicators 2010, published in March 2010. Quiet corruption includes behaviours such as teacher absenteeism, nurses selling hospital medication to make extra cash or admin clerks not capturing data correctly and thus leading to incorrect invoicing and loss of income to the treasury.
According to Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa Region, “Quiet corruption does not make the headlines the way bribery scandals do, but it is just as corrosive to societies.”
Corruption is not only in government. Consider this illustration. A man (Schalk) goes to Durban to attend a two day business conference. His boss thinks he should attend – as part of the company’s policy of continuous education. Schalk loves surfing and always wanted to ride the waves along the North Beach. He figures he doesn’t really need to attend the conference as he has heard the speakers before and there is not much he will gain from attending the conference. So he lands at King Shaka International, checks in at the hotel and registers at the conference, which is near his hotel. The rest of the day he spends at the beach.
The next day he attends only the panel discussion of the conference and the networking session near the pool. The whole trip cost his company R 8 550.76. Suppose two people at this blue-chip company did this in a year. That would be equal to the wages of an entry level employee that could have been employed by the company.
Need to dispel darkness in workplaces
Corruption is darkness, it takes jobs and it is a devourer. We need Biblical Christians to shine the light and dispel darkness in their businesses and workplaces.
The world has tried in vain to cure itself of corruption through initiatives, programmes and policies such as NEPAD’s peer review mechanisms, King Report on Corporate Governance, industry bodies, codes of conduct, oaths of office, and a plethora of green and white papers.
Is it possible, fellow Christian, that these programmes and policies of the world have risen because of a cry from the world for some relief – a space which should have been filled by Christians?
Instead of Christians lifting up the banner of the Bible as the policy and standard to live by, Christian businesses and public leaders proudly cite how they comply with these worldly ‘standards’ of good governance.
Instructions of the Lord
Just imagine if everyone professed and kept the instructions of the Lord as contained in the Bible. King III would be redundant. So would the need for any oath of office, contract, employment policy, or industry regulation.
Every individual, business, organisation and government department wouldn’t need to be regulated nor monitored because it submits itself to a higher power, omniscient and omnipresent, bestowing a conscience and directive to every decision maker, director, board member, manager and clerk.
The world would see the end of industry watchdogs, regulators and legislators. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the CCMA would be defunct, so would be litigation, ombudsmen, hotlines and public protectors. They would be defunct when every king who sits on the throne would keep for himself a copy of the Law and meditate on It day and night and obey everything written in it, as Deuteronomy 17:18 and Joshua 1:8 instructs.
How far we are. The mind can’t even fathom such a world. Can’t we pray, make decisions and implement this ideal in our immediate areas of influence – in our homes, at our businesses and work teams.
Secular business analysts are always looking for ‘pockets of excellence’ to use as best practice models. Let’s develop these pockets of excellence – as a model for the world to emulate and in honour of our soon-coming King. This is the businessman’s and businesswoman’s way to evangelise a weeping world.