Articles  Archive 2020

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Observer Article 14
19 July 2020

Ours, like many others around the world, is admittedly a society made up of mere mortals and fallible human beings – strong men and women weakened by a multiple of social pitfalls, failed political ideologies and poor judgement occasioned by sheer human error and history. Ours, therefore, is a society that from time to time requires corrective vigilance and alertness on how to redefine itself, its identity and vision.

It is utterly unfair and a travesty of justice that today in our democracy, we sit back and helplessly watch a nation in a perpetual struggle of self-destruction while seeking to redefine itself away from what made apartheid morality highly questionable. This attitude has given birth to a culture of intolerable silence in the face of sin and evil. And as Stuart Mill says, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

When we finally attained our freedom from the corrupt apartheid rule, some twenty-six years ago, through the voice of the iconic President Mandela who represented our national aspirations and desires, we vowed in unison on the steps of the Union Buildings that, “never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another”. This we said because of our conviction that what was as immoral as the apartheid rule was, must never again be used to define the identity of our new nation.

Through this statement we vowed to the world that we shall do all within our capabilities to develop a new human being with a soul alert to the values of ubuntu/botho as correctly enshrined in the preamble of our first democratic constitution.

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Black Life Matters – A Justice Question
Observer Article 13
09 June 2020

Few weeks ago the world got exposed to one of the most horrible incidents that took place in Minneapolis in the United States of America where no less than three white police officers participated in and contributed to the murder of George Floyd.

Earlier on a similar incident took place here in South Africa at Alexander Township where police officers backed up by the army participated in and contributed to the death of Collins Khosa. What makes me draw similarities between these two cases is that both the deceased were black and young family men who still had the prospect of living life to the fullest.

The critical question that might sound rhetoric and yet logical is whether there were no other means of effecting arrest in both cases than sniff out of them the only sacred gift they possessed which is life. The narrative guided by the historical fact is that to those who wield state powers and are inherently racist, black life does not matter. These two incidents are not new. People like Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Tony Robinson, Walter Scott, Freddy Gray, William Chapman, Samuel DuBose constitute what is an endless list of white police brutality and death of black people in the US.

A similarly endless list constituted by the killings of Andries Tatane, Steve Biko, Griffith and Victoria Mxenge, The Cradock Four, massacres in Sharpeville, Boipatong, Marikana, are also a grim reinforcement of the belief that black life does not matter.

This article is therefore dedicated to all those who fell and lost life in the hands of people with the responsibility to protect human life and the state. It is so foul a culture that civil people need to unite and resist.

Leaders must be consistent
Observer Article 12
25 May 2020

It is now a few days ago that the late Dr Clarence Mini, one of the most shining examples of a committed medical doctor and a South African patriot, was laid to rest in Fourways, Johannesburg.

What marred the decency of what could have been one of the most wonderful model of a funeral conducted within the regulations of Covid-19 is the duration of the proceedings. Whereas it has been drummed into the minds of South Africans to conduct their funerals within a 2-hour maximum time, on this occasion it took about four hours before the interment ceremony could even resume.

Quite irking and irritating is that the proceedings were attended by none other than three senior cabinet ministers who were supposed to have guided the ceremony to follow the law. Most certainly Ministers Mkhize, Motsoaledi and Sisulu, as members of the National Covid Command Council (NCCC) are the face of the National Regulations and it is justifiably expected of them to defend the regulations where they are being trampled upon by whoever. Communities look up their leaders for counsel and good conduct and therefore these three Ministers could have done better not to allow themselves to be part of those who pay no attention to the regulations.

Otherwise we are running the risk of some communities beginning to take advantage of transgressions such as these to undermine the legitimacy of these regulations. Consistency in leadership is a moral value that seeks to give weight to public conduct and discipline and must be observed at all times if our message was to bring difference in the lives of South Africans.

Call to Open up Churches smacks of Mischief
Observer Article 11
19 May 2020

Few weeks ago a certain group of churches backed up by some Christian individuals and political parties made a call to government to re-open churches for public worship following the President’s announcement to move the country from level 5 to 4 of the Covid -19 Adjusted Risk Plan.

My view is that calls such as these are unnecessary if not downright mischievous because at the beginning of Covid-19, the nation was warned of the aggravating contribution made by social gatherings to the rapid spread and transmission of the virus. To this effect, a church gathering in Free State and a funeral service in the Eastern Cape Provinces emerged as prime culprits in the spread of what is now a world pandemic.

It is therefore advisable that citizens act without panic as correctly warned by medical scientists who further cautioned that in South Africa the virus will reach its peak in the months of August and September. It is therefore quite troubling that with all these warnings we still have leaders among us who encourage the return to mass social gatherings in the name of “worship”. Surely people who are leading such a call are not backed up by any scientific or medical research but self interest and populism.

Ture leaders must at all time act in the best interest of those that they lead. If re-opening churches will aggravate the pandemic’s rate of spread and transmission, why do we have to risk the lives of people and expose them to possible sickness that might even end up in death? What is in this rush?

Covid-19 Challenges Our Spirit Of Patriotism
Observer Article 10
12 May 2020

For the past two weeks government has been distributing food and other household necessities to the indigent families through the Covid-19 Food Relief Programme. This decision by government is highly laudable and valiant. Going along with it, however, are allegations of impropriety against some people who are tempted to use this relief to gain mileage for their political parties and other social interests. Again there are some who are allegedly stealing food for their own business and personal benefit. There is yet still another group of people who are out to boost their personal ego by posing for pictures with the beneficiaries of this programme.

All these acts raise very serious moral and ethical questions and have to be condemned in the strongest possible manner for their intention to expose the vulnerable to further humiliation by the same system that failed them. Communities and leaders need to know that to help a fellow human being is to be humane. Nations carry the responsibility to ensure that the strong always carry the weak. It is therefore a national duty to see each other out in time of calamities such as covid-19.

Those found to be abusing the vulnerability of others for self-gain must not be hailed as leaders and heroes but scavengers who are out to prey their very own. Where possible, evidence must be gathered against them so the law could be thrown at them for possible censure.

Let us treat this phase of history with the strength of camaraderie and patriotism.

Obedience is Key in the Battle Against Covid 19
Observer Article 9
                  05 May 2020

It is just over a month that President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced the national lockdown of our country as one of the means to try and mitigate the effects of the spread of the infectious corona virus across our country. A few weeks ago, the lockdown was extended owing to the rate at which we were succeeding as a country in our battle against the pandemic.

As at the time of writing, information showed that South Africa had reached the 4 793 cases of confirmed cases of infection, 90 deaths and 1 473 recovered patients. By world’s standards, analysts say the country is not doing badly in its effort to contain the viral spread.

Of great significance is that we all need to obey strictly the national disaster management regulations released by the Central Command Council. Seeing many cars and people roaming our streets and shopping malls is not a good indication that we are paying serious attention to the rule of staying at home.

The maintenance of social distancing, staying at home and washing of hands frequently are prime in our strategy to minimise the infection rate and therefore must be strictly adhered to. Already the Minister of Health, Mr Zweli Mkhize has bemoaned the fact that a church gathering in the Free State Province and a funeral in the Eastern Cape have contributed to the infection rate and this calls for greater circumspect and sensitivity on our part as citizens on matters of social gatherings.

People are no longer required to be at a funeral if they are not closely related to the bereaved family. Texts and telephonic condolences and messages are sufficient to comfort the family at this time.

Government must be applauded
Observer Article 8
 28 April 2020

The decision by President Ramaphosa to lockdown the country in the face of the raging Covid-19 is a demonstration of bold and decisive leadership required in times such as these.

What makes the decision even more ethical and sensible is that government has clearly considered the welfare and protection of its all citizens including the most vulnerable. Any decision that is sensitive to saving human life while simultaneously seeking to keep the economy of the country in good balance must be seen as a demonstration of great responsibility.

Mindful that Covid-19 came at a time when our economy had already reached the stage of despondency, it is now incumbent particularly on big business not to sink the country any further but rather to co-operate with government and pull the economy out of the doldrums. This requires a selfless and concomitant leadership.

As the country is now locked down, citizens must also take the responsibility to ensure that all restrictions are adhered to in order to avoid casualties. All sectors of our society including religious, traditional, labour, business and civil society must equally provide prudent leadership to ensure that the government’s plan to save human life and the economy succeeds.

The commitment to our country is also going to be measured by those who will practically support the solidarity fund so that the needs of the most vulnerable of our society are taken care of. At the end the nobility of our human spirit as a nation will be gauged by how far we extended our arms towards one another at the time when all odds were against us.

COVID-19 calls for Leadership
Observer Article 7
 20 March 2020

Since the advent of the Covid-19 era, Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence has been consistent in doing intensive consultations and engagements with relevant health, political, business and faith authorities to determine the cause and that which needs to be done in order to mitigate the impact and effect of corona virus on society in general.

What emerges quiet prominently is the need to develop a model of leadership sensitive to family and national values of care, compassion and accountability. It was disheartening to see some groups and individuals putting resistance and protest against the decision of government to quarantine South Africans from China in Polokwane.

The distinction between this group and those who appreciated the decision of government is that the former was driven by the spirit of divisiveness, hate and fear while the latter applied its mind to the values of nationhood and vision. Where in the world of civil people would you ever hear people rejecting fellow citizens a place in their own country of origin on the basis that they have become vulnerable and weak?

It is an abomination that such misinformed behaviour happened in Polokwane at the height of an hour when it was required of all South Africans to be in solidarity with one another – and it was shameful. “That those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value” - Thabo Mbeki.

Tribalism represents backwardness
Observer Article 6
 20 March 2020

Just over a week ago the South African Human Rights Commission in Limpopo Province convened a multi-stakeholder conversation around the effects of tribalism within the Province.

The involvement of the Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence was to direct the conversation to focus more on human values and how helpful could they be towards building a cohesive society where moral consciousness is key. As a result the Foundation used the opportunity to promote the spirit of co-existence, reconciliation, peace-building and goodness to one another as the pillars of such a society.

As its manifestation is glaringly experienced within the public service, sports and art fraternity, media, churches, business and even within some local communities, we further used the opportunity to appeal to politicians, traditional leadership, media, religious fraternity to invest resources in conscientising society against tribalism and other related tools of discrimination. Within the faith and education sectors learners must be exposed to programmes that advocate for unity in diversity while exposing them to the cultures and languages of other tribal and racial groups.

It is this way that the letter and spirit of our constitution could be respected and lived. Instead of remaining silent and oblivious to the obvious, society can do well to start talking openly about the negative impact and effects of tribalism, racism, ethnicity and sexism in our common nationhood. It is a practice that represents backwardness and therefore must be addressed using the dictates of our constitution, human values and moral standards. It is wrong to disadvantage anyone on the basis of their tribal and racial background because it is prejudicial.

WAR IS DESTRUCTIVE AND UNTIDY
Observer Article 5
9 March 2020

A few days ago we descended in our hundreds on GaMphahlele village of Seleteng to pay homage and our last respects to the late Dr Elliot Kgoadi-Molaba – one described by those who spoke at his funeral as a “servant doctor of the people”.

Kgoadi-Molaba qualified as medical doctor through the University of Natal and proceeded to serve his rural community of GaMphahlele until his death. What distinguished him from most of his colleagues was his understanding that the practice of medicine was a calling and not a job or career. It is this understanding that afforded him the opportunity to serve society without expecting any material reward.

Evidently led and persuaded by conscience and the consciousness of the human spirit, Kgoadi-Molaba treated the elderly and those who could not afford medical costs at no fee. He had come to understand that the levels of indigence were so high among his people that to deny them of health services and care on the basis of their poverty was both unethical and sinful.

Come to talk of medical ethics and the provision of servant leadership within his rural community, Kgoadi-Molaba came top. He took the Hippocratic Oath to the extreme in instances where, using his own vehicle, he would ferry patients back to their homes after seeing them. At his funeral the air was thick with sadness and a grave sense of loss. It is time that those who practice medicine have to emulate him by embracing the values he sought to instil within the discipline. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

Tribute to Dr Elliot Kgoadi-Molaba(75)
Observer Article 4
25 February 2020

A few days ago we descended in our hundreds on GaMphahlele village of Seleteng to pay homage and our last respects to the late Dr Elliot Kgoadi-Molaba – one described by those who spoke at his funeral as a “servant doctor of the people”.

Kgoadi-Molaba qualified as medical doctor through the University of Natal and proceeded to serve his rural community of GaMphahlele until his death. What distinguished him from most of his colleagues was his understanding that the practice of medicine was a calling and not a job or career. It is this understanding that afforded him the opportunity to serve society without expecting any material reward.

Evidently led and persuaded by conscience and the consciousness of the human spirit, Kgoadi-Molaba treated the elderly and those who could not afford medical costs at no fee. He had come to understand that the levels of indigence were so high among his people that to deny them of health services and care on the basis of their poverty was both unethical and sinful.

Come to talk of medical ethics and the provision of servant leadership within his rural community, Kgoadi-Molaba came top. He took the Hippocratic Oath to the extreme in instances where, using his own vehicle, he would ferry patients back to their homes after seeing them. At his funeral the air was thick with sadness and a grave sense of loss. It is time that those who practice medicine have to emulate him by embracing the values he sought to instil within the discipline. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

How genuine is De Klerk’s apology?
Observer Article 3
18 February 2020

Some few weeks ago the last President of the apartheid South Africa Mr FW de Klerk made a provocative statement to the effect that apartheid was not a crime against humanity – a statement contrary to human decency and the declaration of the UN Convention.

This callous statement was made at the time when the country was celebrating 30 years since the release of President Nelson Mandela from prison and also at the time when those who killed Dr Neil Agget at John Vorster Square appeared before an inquest to account for their role in the murder case. So the statement by de Klerk was not only reckless and unnecessary but untimely as well.

To the credit of the EFF Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema the statement received wide media coverage to the point of obscuring President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the nation Address.

An apology is supposed to be an ethical and voluntary response from someone who out of remorse and regret seeks to establish peace with those they victimised or offended. Unfortunately Mr de Klerk’s apology flies across this understanding because his was demanded of him by his own victims.

So the question he must apply his mind to is whether he believes that apartheid was a crime against humanity irrespective of what the UN Convention has pronounced. If his apology is based on the UN Convention and not his convictions then such an apology is not genuine and therefore would not stand the test of faultlessness.

Mr President Must Be Practical.
Observer Article 2
16 February 2020

By the time readers get exposed to this article, it will be on the exact day when President Cyril Ramaphosa would be reading his State of the Nation Address to the people of South Africa and beyond.

It is that kind of speech used by both the ruling party and government to parade all that is perceived as good and rewarding to the people of South Africa. Contrarily, it is a speech that brings together all opposition to agree that there is nothing to celebrate. So, it is a speech that evokes all sorts of contradictions and mixed reaction across the political landscape.

Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence has a duty to salute the speech only if it is able to put to action the commitment that government and the ruling party have for the people of this country. It has to be a patriotic speech lined up with practical solutions to the practical problems confronting this country at this time and moment.
 
Our current challenges are huge, myriad and complex. Our economy is at a near-collapse state. State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and most Municipalities are limping towards abyss. Those who shamelessly steal public money are not retreating while leaders’ disrespect for the electorate is alarming.

It is not a year to listen to a speech frilled with good words and yet providing no practical answers to this complex situation. Every word that drops from the mouth of the President must mean well, solution-oriented and be practical to implement.

Moral Consciousness & Ethical Conduct – Missing Link National Discourse.
Observer Article 1
7 February 2020

The Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence is a non-profit making initiative based in Limpopo Province primarily to advance the cause of moral consciousness and ethical conduct in the psyche of our nation.

Our firm belief is that unless society masters the art of practising ethical values in its day to day activities, we will always be found wanting where matters of humane and humanness are concerned. Key to this belief is the desire to become a society whose behavioural systems and mental conscience are based on the ability to distinguish right from wrong and unjust from just.

The discipline of ethics is able to demonstrate this distinction. That which is universally wrong or unjust remains so whilst that which is right or just similarly remains so. Core to the founding values of the Foundation are the three cardinal concepts found in its identity and those are ethics, leadership and excellence. The combination of these three is fundamentally responsible for producing the kind of society the Foundation yearns for.

A leadership that is akin to moral consciousness and ethical conduct is bound to produce excellence which is a value that defines the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. Society must be attracted to values that produce goodness out of its existence.

Therefore, failure by society to appreciate moral consciousness and ethical conduct as its compass toward attaining human freedoms, liberation and development, suggests catastrophe and ruin.

Interview with Thabang Mashilo Thabang Mashilo


First year student of Mechanical Engineering at Wits University.

Interviewed in this clip where he expresses his gratitude and appreciation for the assistance he received from Ethical Leadership Foundation through Dr Mmameno Pataki and her network of friends and colleagues.

They were kind enough to assist with securing for him registration fee and other immediate personal needs. Later he secured a full sponsorship which is now responsible for the entire fees.  

Inspired by Thabang's story, Ethical Foundation for Leadership Excellence has now established Dr Mmameno and Rev Mautji Pataki Bursary Fund which will make its first intake in 2016 academic year.