How to improve the quality of leadership in SA


“OK, it’s official – our parliament is a complete and utter joke. I for one, am embarrassed to be represented by this bunch.” These words were penned by Weekend Post columnist Nwabisa Makunga for the publication dated November 15, 2014. They are strong words but I suspect they represent the sentiments of many South Africans who have been following the shenanigans that have been happening in our country’s parliament.

We have just paused to commemorate the death of former president Nelson Mandela, an inspirational and gallant leader, and now we are faced with such a gaping leadership vacuum. The power of leadership is often evident when we are faced with the absence of it. By leadership I am not referring to people who occupy positions but to people who inspire and bring out the best that is in us.

Politicians are sometimes leaders but not always. The difference between a politician and a leader was succinctly captured by the late Dr Myles Munroe. He said that politicians are concerned with elections while leaders are concerned with generations. What are you concerned about? It is easy to blame others for the dearth of leadership but what role are you playing as far as leadership is concerned?

Many books have been written concerning the subject of leadership but leadership is not that complicated. It is about finding a cause that you are passionate about and then devoting your time and energy to it. Sooner or later when you look behind, you will find that there are people who are following you. Many people make the mistake of looking for people to follow them while they have no compelling vision they are pursuing.

Our parliamentarians represent the country’s quality of leadership and so if we improve the quality of leadership we will see a better representation. It starts with you and me. 


  1. Assie Van der Westhuizen

    A month or two ago the Lord spoke to an elderly sister, saying that our parliament is like a valley filled with dry bones, but God is waiting for His people to speak His life into those dry bones, so that they become alive in Him and be (an) instrument(s) in His hand. When that happens, we may be pleasantly surprised to sea the quality of leadership available there, which is currently hidden under the pile of dry bones.

  2. Margaret Ferguson

    I was a Christian politician overseas and was very conscious that I served the public in my work particularly the local communities who had elected me. The leadership came out of working with them and their concerns and Nelson Mandela’s comment’ It is better to lead from behind and put others in front’ is relevant here. Sometimes it meant fighting one’s own party political structures. I agree when with Nelson Mandela who said that the time when leaders need to come to the forefront is when something goes wrong and you, as a leader, need to take the flak for those you represent. At a practical level, a changed voting system that meant direct representation of the individual for the community should help; political leadership in this country needs to function with more personal accountability and less collective responsibility (to the party)if there is to be more accountable leadership and less imposing ‘control’; more YOU and less ME (or party political US); that is the aspect of collective responsibility that is true leadership from the politician