Failing ubuntu

Dr Claudia von Eck, chief executive at the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa

Dr Claudia von Eck, chief executive at the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa

Leaders who succumb to individualism and greed are failing the concept of ubuntu, said Dr Claudelle von Eck, chief executive at The Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa.

“Ubuntu is no longer understood and we are forgetting who we were. Individualism and greed are not what our ancestors understood leadership to be. If we live for the collective good in line with ubuntu, it makes no sense to take money from the poor and enrich ourselves, and this becomes governance,” she pointed out.

“We have reason to be bullish about Africa’s future, but there are risks facing us: social instability, the collapse of social infrastructure, economic instability, pervasive poverty, crime, and repressive and alienating economic policies. The widening gap between the haves and the have-nots sets the scene for a revolution. And widespread corruption is a significant problem. 

“South Africa is in a particularly fragile state now, so it is very important what leaders do. No leader can afford to close his or her eyes and ears, or be afraid to speak up.”

Von Eck said it was unfortunate that intimidation and victimisation were happening more and more, so that whistle-blowers were discouraged from speaking up, while leadership kept quiet.