Gabriel P Louw
Research Associate, Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa
Prof. Dr. GP Louw
Keywords: appraisal, characteristic, checklist, compiling, description, designing, leaders, government, job, profile,
Ensovoort, volume 38 (2018), number 7:2
Understanding how to run a government effectively is important because the success or otherwise of governments is fundamental to the prosperity and the well-being of all of us, wherever we live. There is a tendency in the West, especially in the US, to see government as the problem, not least because a lot if the time government is hapless or worse. Government can be a problem, but you only have to look at what life is like when it breaks down to realize how important good government is.
—Michael Barber,1:xiii How to run a Government so that citizens benefit and taxpayers don’t go crazy, published in 2015.
Delivering good governance to a country’s total people and fully endorsing and enacting the good intentions of a county’s constitution and its democracy, require rigid, non-negotiable principles. Central to such a political culture of integrity, sincerity and incorruptible love for the nation, stands the good executive political leader and his regime.1
Barber1 emphasizes that politicians frequently make promises they don’t keep, rendering not only the political party that runs the country a failure, but most off all, bringing this failure also to the citizens lives. It threatens the economy, safety, healthcare, education, personal security, etc. Moreover, not only the present is under attack, but also the immediate future. Two intertwined powers go hand-in-hand in a successfully governed country: good politics and good economics. Economics, it seems, is the more powerful of the two, driving good politics and its maintenance.2,3,4 Barber writes as follows on the importance and centrality of economics in governing1: xiii:
And it matters to the success of economics, at both national and global levels, because even where government is small, it takes up over 20 per cent of GDP. In many countries it is 40 or 50 per cent, and if it is unproductive it is a huge drag on economic growth.
The modern pressure on leaders to keep acting with integrity, force them to meet a new kind of expectation from the voters. The higher standards of accountability that modern electorates prescribe create new dimensions that many leaders fail to negotiate. The modern media’s scrutiny is deeper and more critical, especially when it comes to financial and political power abuses and corruption. Of course there are talented and honest executive political leaders, but there are also many failed and corrupted leaders that have been appointed to the highest offices of their countries.1
Ginsberg5 writes that South Africans must hold their executive political leaders accountable, but to do so, the voters need a better understanding of their leaders’ job description and the challenges that face them. This will allow the voters to monitor the leaders’ performances from an educated point of view as they would be in the position to gain a better understanding of the problems that leaders may encounter. Better informed voters will surely have sympathy where leaders fail due to no fault of their own. However, well-informed voters will also be able to read the signs of inability, crookedness and corruption in leaders’ failures. Voters have a constitutional right to judge a leader and to label him a bad leader if he is unsuccessful with the implementation of the policies that the voters entrusted him with or shows undemocratic behaviour and political solecism in conflict with his oath to the highest office of the country. Ginsberg offers a firm guideline here5:98:
Their job description is for them not to enrich themselves at our expense, but rather to serve us, the people who put them in power. If they do not measure up we should be free to replace them according to the rules of our democratic constitution. (Shape up or ship out).
Boon6 gave a clear warning to South African voters in 1996 (two years into Mandela’s reign) that top executive leaders can fail in South Africa. There is the potential that a leader in office could abuse his power by for instance showing autocratic behaviour, bad decision-making, or transgression of the Constitution and the Parliament6;72-73:
Autocrats very seldom create excellent teams. People usually work very hard and do what they should out of fear of such leaders. In teams led by autocrats there will be a corresponding lack of trust because of fear. People can be fired or severely disciplined by the autocrat with very little recourse. There can be no openness, no honesty and no sharing of weakness for fear of dismissal or retribution. There can be no trust, because each member of this team runs according to his own agenda in the effort to protect himself at all costs. To achieve this involves currying favour with the powerful and occasionally treading on colleagues.
In May 2009 Boon’s6 warning gave way to fear and then became reality when Jacob Zuma took the oath of office.7 Jacques Pauw,7 an investigated journalist and political writer, writes7:78:
There is no dispute: Jacob Zuma has ripped the society and state to shreds. He swore at his inauguration to be faithful to our country and that he would observe, uphold and maintain our beautiful Constitution. It was all bullshit. From the moment he became president, the Republic was in the market. Under his rule, South Africa has become a two-government country. There is an elected government, and there is a shadow government – a state within the state.
Nothing came of Ginsberg’s5 1996 statement that “if they do not measure up we should be free to replace them according to the rules of our democratic constitution.” When executive political leaders became autocratic, arrogant and corrupted, no Constitution can stop them. What made Zuma so dangerous was the fact that he was of the view that God was on his corrupted side as well as on the corrupted ANC’s side. It took nine years to convince “god” to recall him from office.7
However, bad leadership is not a new post-1994 occurrence. South Africa has a long political history of bad executive political leaders. Our memories are sometimes conveniently erased to numb our feelings of guilt or because of forgotten pasts and flattering myths. In this regard we can point an accusing finger to DF Malan, HF Verwoerd and BJ Vorster. The investigative journalist Tyron Smith8 reports on the behaviour of BJ Vorster, who was the NP Minister of Justice (1961–1966) and later Prime Minister (1966–1978). Between 1963 and 1985 fifty-six political detainees died in the custody of the SAPS, which Vorster oversaw by means of draconian laws of suppression. Smith writes8:18:
No man did more to create the environment in which thousands of anti-apartheid activists were detained and tortured by the security forces than by Balthazar Johannes Vorster – know as BJ or John Vorster.
The blood of those who died in detention is as much on the hands of the man created the conditions for these deaths as it is on the hands of these who actually pushed Timol to his death [Ahmed Timol, a journalist, was murdered while in detention].
1.2 Whose testimony should we believe when we evaluate executive political leaders and regimes?
How can one make an objective appraisal of the behaviour of executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa for the period 1652 to 2018 given the discrediting references to them in literature on our political history? Ginsberg5 suggests that the starting point is that we “must have a better understanding of the job descriptions of political leaders, must inform ourselves of the challenges facing them and the problems they may be encounter and maybe, in light of this information, we will understand their problems better and have sympathy on them”. Barber’s1 view is much the same when he suggests in his book an existential approach where we try to look at the world through the eyes of the executive political leader, or as he describes it: “from the centre of the government looking out.” Psychologists often follow this as a therapeutic approach in an effort to look at the world through their patients’ eyes with unconditional and unprejudiced empathy for how their patients see and experience their world, be it a realistic or an unrealistic view. Barber writes1: xiii:
The aim is to convey to the reader what it feels like to be in there looking at the world beyond and trying desperately to get something done so that the citizen benefits. From the outside, people at the heart of government look all-powerful; on the inside, they often feel helpless, stretched to and beyond breaking point by the weight of expectations on the one hand and the sheer complexity and difficulty of meeting them on the other side.
However, Barber1 has so much empathy that it contaminates his ability to judge a leader objectively. If we could speak to Vorster on the other side of the grave and to Zuma in the here and now, they will both tell us lengthy stories to vindicate themselves. For most South African leaders, “get[ting] something done” means promoting their own interests. One can just read some of the many biographies on our executive political leaders to see how their personal and political lives were built on lies and more lies, fraud and more fraud. Jacob Zuma claimed that he was doing his best for his people but that they just expected too much from him. He made this comment in the midst of accusations of state capture and dealings with the Gupta family.9-16
Even trusting political parties to oversee leaders is a futile exercise that serves only to promote further lies and fraud.7,10,12,13 After Zuma’s long list of ill deeds became known while in office and the ANC’s top management was contacted for reaction, the editor17 of the Sunday Times wrote17:20:
The ANC national executive committee undertook to conduct introspection and “deal with the perceptions of the ANC being arrogant, self-serving, soft on corruption and increasingly distant from its social base”.
But the ANC has done nothing to carry out this promise. Its arrogant, self-serving and corrupt leaders have been shielded in the name of unity.
South African journalists and political commentators are subjective about the country’s political leaders. Their stories about the good leadership, integrity and quality are contradicted by international research on leaders that confirms their lack of integrity and trustworthiness.9-16 Coggan reports18:2:
In January 2013 a survey of Americans found that Congressmen and Congresswomen were less popular than cockroaches and traffic jams. A YouGov opinion poll in January 2012 found that 62% of Britons agreed with the statement that ‘politicians tell lies all the time – you can’t believe a word they say’.
This 62% has risen to 80% or more among voters who support the fringe political parties such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the Greens and the British National Party (BNP). In addition, 57% Britons who watch political programmes like the BBC’s flagship programme Newsnight, agreed with the statement that “politicians tell lies all the time.” The British Social Attitudes Survey shows that where 47% of Britons in 1987 “trust British governments of any party to place the needs of the nation above the interests of their party,” this fell to 20% in 2010.17 A further finding of the YouGov 2012 is that when Gallup’s statistics of 1954 which reflected that 38% of the electorate believed that their representative was doing a good job is re-examined in 2012, only 12% believed that their representative was doing a good job.18
YouGov reported in January 2012 that only 24% of Britons thought that their parliament debated issues of public concern in a sensible and considered way, while only 16% thought it reflected the full range of people and views of the British electorate. Only 15% thought that the parliament represented the interests and wishes of people like themselves and only 12% thought the parliament understood the daily lives of people like themselves.18 Voters also revealed negativity on the integrity and intentions of the British Parliament and its members in the YouGov 2012. Coggan reflects18:50:
Those polled believed MPs paid more attention to the views of people who run large companies, civil servants in Whitehall and the EU and the owners of tabloid newspapers than they did to their actual voters.
The political journalist Mthombothi gives clear guidance on the South African situation when he evaluates the incoming new president Cyril Ramaphosa as compared to the recalled president Jacob Zuma and the two’s communal parent, the ANC19:17:
For all his criticism of corruption and state-capturing, Ramaphosa has stood loyally behind Zuma since Mangaung in 2012. He helped Zuma win a second term and is therefore as much an enabler of corruption as any of the other candidates.
Forget about a messiah ever emerging to save South Africa from the corrupt rabble. The party should be consigned to the wilderness where it’d have all the time to reflect anew and undisturbed on its mission in life.
It is clear from above evidence that it makes no sense to trust politicians themselves when one wants to draw up a profile of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa. There is just too much political schizophrenia in what they say. Their opinions and claims are contradicted by the evidence we find in the writings of authorities. In most cases they are outright untrustworthy and without integrity, locally and internationally. Since most of these leaders have passed away, one cannot speak to the leaders themselves. An analysis of the various sources of our political history is undoubtedly the most appropriate approach to draw conclusions on the leadership quality of our executive political leaders and regimes.
In an effort to evaluate and describe the performances of political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 2018, I will study the information, descriptions, views and opinions reflected in political and historical books, authorized and unauthorized biographies and autobiographies, as well as the mass of information presented by investigative journalists, whose comments are becoming more critically every day. If the many allegations and reflections are untrue, the various political leaders who are implicated, especially at present, in political delinquency, had more than enough time to object and offer evidence to the contrary.7,10,13,20-38
1.3 A retrospective evaluation and description of the political history of political leaders
The information obtained from political and historical books, authorized and unauthorized biographies and autobiographies can be seen as subjective, but subjectivity is an inherent part of any text on politics. We cannot escape this reality. Such sources are consulted for this study by means of a literature review, with the single aim of building a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is commonly used in modern historical research where there is a lack of an established body of research, as is the case with the quality of the current political leadership of South Africa. This article does not offer a comprehensive statistical model to make advanced statistical inferences to test a hypothesis, but the information (data) can be subjected to the statistical cycle of research to make it comparable with other research and to evaluate it with hypothesis testing at the end. Advanced statistical inference is outside the intent of the study.39-43
The information offered in the literature review has not been empirically tested. It relies on subjective opinion, although it has been accepted by the public as a good reflection of reality.39-43
There has never been such a collection, evaluation and description of information on the political leaders and regimes of South Africa for the period 1652 to 2018. Despite the limitations of the various analytical articles, it is a pioneering study that addresses a most ignored subject. This series does not claim to be the Alpha and Omega, but rather serves to inspire further and deeper research on the matter.
The secondary focus and intention of the series is to offer a tool to evaluate political leaders and their regimes based on a checklist that helps us to classify a leader’s performance. The intention is to determine if the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa from 1652 to 2018 succeeded in making extraordinary contributions to the country and its people and if their behaviour as leaders was impeccable. Due to a lack of space, only the most prominent leaders are evaluated.39-43
The research was done by means of a literature review. This method has the aim of building a viewpoint from the available evidence as the research develops. This approach is used in modern historical research where there is a lack of an established body of research, as is the case with work on the quality of the current political leadership of South Africa. The databases used include articles from 2016 to 2018, books for the period 1958 to 2018 and newspapers for the period 2016 to 2018. These sources were consulted to reflect on the political leadership from 1652 to 2017 and to put the thought, views and opinions on the South African political leadership in perspective.44-46
The research findings are presented in narrative format.
3.1 Background to the appraisal of South African political leadership and governance
An understanding of how important it is to have an executive political leader who runs his country effectively is central to most democracies. This characteristic is fundamental to the country’s prosperity and the well-being of its citizens. There are excellent examples of political leaders who made enormous contributions to their countries’ development, growth and international status. Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt of the USA and King Henry VII of England are prominent examples. Then of course were there the many less successfully leaders, like Charles I, who became King of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1625, but who lost his head on 30 January 1649 on a cold morning in Whitehall, London, for his royal mismanagement and political delinquency. Many other delinquent political leaders have in the past gotten the order of the boot by assassinations, dethroning, up-risings and forced resignations. Many hanged on in office, doing immense damage to the psyche of the citizens and to the state coffers of the country.1
Anthony Ginsberg5 in his book South Africa’s Future emphasizes that South African voters must at all times judge the performances of their elected politicians and executive political leaders and hold them accountable if they fail in their tasks and duties. Ginsberg writes5: 20:
Members of our present and future governments should not be treated as untouchables, no matter how courageous their leaders may have been or how many years they may have struggled to achieve leadership positions. By voting them into power we have sufficiently rewarded them for their years of struggle and sacrifice. The longer we wait to demand results and answers to the harsh realities our country faces, the deeper the hole will become which we have dug ourselves into.
It is our role as the electorate to ask tough questions and to demand answers of the people we put in power. They are our servant, not the other way around.
We are the shareholders of government – the current management team is only temporary, and can be replaced by a new team with new ideas every five years if need be.
It is of utmost importance to select only a person of the highest integrity to the top office. Candidates for the position of chief executive officer (CEO) of top companies often first have to undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluation to determine their cognitive and conative fitness and emotional stability. Then of course there is the prerequisite of the absence of a criminal record. Usually the job requires a high level of tertiary and professional training.6,39 This is not the case for the office of president. Persons with criminal records for murder, rape, theft, fraud and assault are sitting in parliament today.7,10,12-17,19
An in-depth review of official and popular literature on South African executive political leaders and regimes shows a very one-sided, superficial and unscientific research approach to the country’s executive political leaders and regimes. It reflects an approach that is often based on repeated quotation of very subjective and not always trustworthy information. Discussions lack objective descriptions and analyses based on sound research on historical events and facts, reliable and well-reported statistics and other supportive evidence to enlighten the role of our executive political leaders.5-17,19-38
Many of the profiles of South Africa’s political leaders before and after 1994 offered to the general public are aimed at political and personal gain. Political rhetoric about political leaders and regimes have become standard remarks in speeches, articles and other publications, which is misleading.13,19-38
Although the main focus of this article is to design and compile a checklist to determine the quality of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa, it must be noted that the information obtained from this checklist will be used as part of a general literature review and description of our political leaders and regimes. Separate analytical articles will evaluate South Africa’s executive political leaders of various periods.41
Part 1 of the series indicated that very little is known in terms of an appraisal of South Africa’s executive political leaders and regimes. Most of the political histories of South Africa as well as the manifold biographies on the country’s political leaders have failed to make such a classification. Critical perspectives have been focused on individuals and not on a total appraisal.19-38 There are no tested scales to do this.
In an effort to overcome the absence of a checklist to evaluate the quality of the leadership of South African executive political leaders and their governments for the period 1652 to 2018, this article aims to compile such a checklist. Descriptions by various political and historical writers and the writings of business and management experts on business executive leaders were consulted.7,10,13,20-38
There are many standardized tests to measure industrial and organizational attitudes and to do values assessments on different kinds of leaders, but their use and applicability to this research is limited because it is largely a historical analysis. The same goes for performance appraisals. In cases where tests are to some extent applicable, it would be an indirect testing situation that requires a complex reworking and restructuring of qualitative data so that it could be used as quantitative data, which would make the reliability and validity of the experimental effort null and void. It is in light of these considerations that the checklist was developed.41
3.4 Experimental design
3.4.1 Problem statement
There are no trustworthy appraisals of South African executive political leaders and regimes outside political and emotional rhetoric and other superficial literature. If the assumed descriptions and superficial literature are used, it will be false. To put executive political leaders and regimes into perspective, the political and historical books, authorized and unauthorized biographies and autobiographies, as well as articles and newspaper overviews, must first be analysed in depth and interpreted as the starting point of research and discussion. Only after that can any assumptions, generalizations, deceptions and myths around the position and role of the South African executive political leader and governance can be taken into account for discussion.
The research problem is: Did the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa during the period 1652 to 2018 make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people; and were the extraordinary executive leaders’ behaviour as leaders impeccable?▼
▲The period 1652 to 2018 is divided into different timeframes for discussion in separate articles. The total description (1652 to 2018) will be used through-out the descriptions in this article to avoid unnecessary repetition to the various timeframes, seeing that the research problems for the different articles (as well as the research aims) are exactly the same.
▲People refers to all the South African groups – the various races, cultural groups, tribes, etc. It includes the minorities as well as the majority.
▲Country refers to today’s greater South Africa as represented by the Republic of South Africa, while it also refers to the history of the Cape Settlement and Cape Colony.
▲Extraordinary behaviour reflects behaviour not shown daily by the ordinary citizen. Other names used are: exceptional, unusual, uncommon, special, etc., in terms of very favourable, creative, constructive and positive behaviour outcomes.
▲The impact of impeccable behaviour is far more comprehensive than excellence: it refers to behaviour totally free from any criminal, social, economical, personal and political delinquency.
188.8.131.52 Guiding theoretical argument
The main presupposition of in this study is that the performances and leadership qualities of South African executive political leaders and regimes should be extraordinary in standard, free from any suspicion of criminality, greed and self-enrichment, racism and political mismanagement and self-empowerment. The leaders of South Africa have never been tested in this regard. The past and current performances and leadership profiles of executive political leaders in the South African politics should therefore be analysed, evaluated and judged as either bad or good.41,43,46
The above approach underpins all the articles. All the arguments, literature, statements and assumptions regarding South African executive political leaders’ broad profiles are regarded as true until the contrary can be concluded with facts and evidence.
Each of the analytical articles included in this study pursues one or more specific perspectives on South African executive political leaders. They ask a true–false question, thus a hypothesis versus alternative hypothesis (the checklist makes a bipolar bad versus good classification).41,43,46
It is prominent that no such study has been done. There is a dire need for an in-depth study that focuses primarily on the analysis of the performances and leadership profiles of executive political leaders and regimes. A basic analysis and classification of historical and political facts on South African executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 2018 is therefore a priority at this stage.
The research aims are:
- to discover if the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their time in office;
- to determine if the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 2018 as leaders and as persons were impeccable.
The two aims above lead to two objectives, as well as two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses.
184.108.40.206 Research questions
The following two research questions focus the research intentions:
RQ1: Did the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office?
RQ2: Were the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 2018 impeccable?
220.127.116.11 Objectives of the study
The following two objectives guide the study:
RO1: to discover if the South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office;
RO2: to determine if the behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 2018 as leaders and as persons were impeccable.
The following two hypotheses and two alternative hypotheses are assumed:
H1: The South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 made extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office.
H1A: The South African executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 did not make extraordinary contributions to the country and its people during their times in office.
H2: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders for the period 1652 to 2018 as leaders and as persons were extraordinary and impeccable.
H2A: The behaviours of the South African executive political leaders of the period 1652 to 2018 as leaders and as persons were not extraordinary and impeccable.
In light of a lack of sound and in-depth research findings on the executive political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 2018 and their contributions to the country and the quality of their behaviour, each of the analytical articles start out with a single, defined viewpoint or hypothesis to test. The researcher thus sought to build a viewpoint and to form a conclusion from the ground, derived directly from the evidence as it appears as the research develops. It is an interactive process of looping back and forth, developing ideas, testing it against new information, revising the ideas, building a basis to be broken by new evidence and to rebuild it anew. This is a continuous process of research, repeated over and over until everything forms a final whole of concepts, ideas and viewpoints to tell a coherent story. A literature review based on a descriptive method to reflect on the political life histories of the South African political leaders and regimes seems the most appropriate.41,43,46
The research design of each of the analytical articles is qualitative in nature as a phenomenon from the “real world” is explored. The lack of trustworthy information on South African executive political leaders and regimes forces down an exploratory and descriptive research approach with the simple goal of gaining insight into the situation, phenomenon and legal position of the executive political leaders and regimes based on research evidence. Basically, the thesis tells a story in the appropriate order. Sources in this exploratory and descriptive research included contemporary journals and newspapers, government documents, archive collections, memoirs and collected papers, as well as manuscript collections, political and historical books, autobiographies and biographies. (See also above: 2. Method)10-17,19-38
Although the various analytical articles are independent, they are ultimately intertwined.
18.104.22.168 Research approach
The different analytical articles followed two discussion approaches:
- A general research approach where the analytical articles form a unit that reflects, analyses and describes the South African context as a whole; and
- An analytical research approach where each individual article attempts to analyse and to describe a specific focus point.
- Compilation of the checklist.
3.5.1 The complexity of evaluating politicians, top public officials and regimes
Various approaches are followed in the evaluations of people’s skills, abilities, temperaments, attitudes and behaviours to evaluate their potential or performance. Prominent methods include job analysis, psychological tests, psychological assessments, bio-data, cognitive ability tests, personality and temperament tests, as well as the appraisal of work performance. These methods are shortly discussed to provide insight into the complexity of evaluating the performances of South Africa’s executive political leaders and regimes, especially given the fact that it is virtually impossible to involve them in such a study, even if they are still alive.39
The short overview explains why a limited appraisal (based on bio-data) on indirect information obtain from historical and other sources is done and why certain steps of some of the methods can only be used to a limited extent in this study. This overview also gives an indication of the appraisal items included as well as the population focus and the statistical validity of the information obtained on executive political leaders for the period 1652 to 2018.39,40,43
22.214.171.124 Job analysis method
In any organization that relies on employees, the individual jobs performed by specific employees at specific levels are important. An organization would first define the particular jobs and then identify the skills and behaviour an employee would need to be able to perform the job. This process, known as job analysis, includes two major components: job description and job specification. Job description identifies the physical and environmental characteristics of the work to be done, whereas the job specification details the personal characteristics necessary to do that work.39 The basic intention of the job analysis is to provide a valid basis for personnel decisions. Various methods can be used to perform a job analysis, like 39:402:
- Direct observation of job incumbents
- Structured interviews with workers
- Collection of critical incidents from supervisors
- Checklists of duties and skills
Only one of the above methods can be used to a certain extent in this study, namely the collection of critical incidents from supervisors, which is more or less in line with the collection of data from published sources on South Africa politics and history. This approach to collecting data must be seen as equal to the bio-data method of data collection used in this research.39,46
The US Department of Labor has been busy with an ambitious process to analyse virtually all jobs in the economy according to the content or work-activities required, indicating the importance of this kind of data.39
It is clear that many jobs are not clearly defined, but a formal job analysis is not an easy task. Various structured, quantifiable questionnaires for job analysis exist, but many have significant limitations and from a scientific viewpoint are still in infancy.39 The Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ), dating as far back as the 1970s, gives us some indication of the qualities, characteristics, personality traits, training and experiences to look for when appraising a political leader39:403:
- Information input: How and where does the worker get the information needed for the job?
- Mental processes: What kind of reasoning, planning, and decision making are required by the job?
- Work output: What are the physical activities performed and the tools or devices used by the worker?
- Personal relationships: What kind of relationship with others is inherent to the job?
- Job context: What are the physical and social contexts in which the work is performed?
The political and historical books and many of the other sources consulted for the writing of the literature reviews on the profiles of executive political leaders and regimes as reflected in the following article (Part 5: Performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795) give some retrospective information (although they are indirect observations) in terms of the above descriptions.
126.96.36.199 Psychological tests and assessments
It is often assumed that psychological tests and assessments can solve the problem of job performance. Unfortunately the reality shows that the application of employment selection procedures is fraught with psychometric complexity and legal pitfalls. Gregory writes39: 404-405:
The psychometric intricacies arise, in large measure, from the fact that job behaviour is rarely simple, unidimensional behaviour. There are some exceptions (such as assembly line production) but the general rule in our post-industrial society is that job behaviour is complex, multi-dimensional behaviour. Even jobs that seem simple may be highly complex.
Personnel selection is therefore a fuzzy, conditional, and uncertain task. Guion (1991) has highlighted the difficulty in predicting complex behaviour from simple tests. For one thing, complex behaviour is, in part, a function of the situation. This means that even an optimal selection approach may not be valid for all candidates. Quite clearly, personnel selection is not a simple matter of administering tests and consulting cut-off scores.
We must also acknowledge the profound impact of legal and regulatory edicts upon I/O testing practices. Given that such practices may have weighty consequences – determining who is hired or promoted, for example – it is not surprising to learn that I/O testing practices are rigorously constrained by legal precedents and regulatory mandates.
These legal constraints are basically applicable to any method (test, questionnaire, etc.). One cannot publish the data of a president, and this makes such an approach inapplicable.
188.8.131.52 Biographical data
For purposes of personnel selection the following methods are also applied39:405:
- Auto-biographical data
- Employment interviews
- Cognitive ability tests
- Personality, temperament, and motivation tests
- Paper-and-pencil integrity tests
- Sensory, physical, and dexterity tests
- Work sample and situational tests
Seeing that most of the executive political leaders focused on in this study are deceased, the auto-biographical data method can only be used in as far as we have past data. The rationale behind the bio-data approach is that future work-related behaviour can be predicted from past choices and accomplishments. Bio-data have predictive power because certain character traits that are essential for success also are stable and enduring. In practice, bio-data items include attitudes, feelings and value positioning. The use of bio-data in the case of the “living” are also sometimes prohibited, like questions on age, race, sex, religion, etc.39
184.108.40.206 Cognitive ability and personality and temperament tests
Cognitive ability and personality and temperament tests are widely used in employee selection. There are hundreds of cognitive ability tests on the market. One clear problem is that such instruments may result in a negative impact on minorities as a result of its item selection as it can favour a particular group. Some personality tests are used for employee selection, but it seems that in most cases they are very weak predictors of job performance. Cognitive ability and personality and temperament tests are inapplicable for use in this study because the intention is not to make evaluations for future reference, but on the past. If past results are indeed available, caution must be shown in terms of the race factor as well as outdated items in test results.39
220.127.116.11 Appraisal of work-performance method
The appraisal of the work performance of employees is of great importance as a guideline to see where personnel must improve. Its uses centre on four major elements, namely comparing individuals in terms of their overall performance levels; identifying and using information about individual strengths and weaknesses; implementing and evaluating human resource systems in organizations; and documenting or justifying personnel decisions. Performance evaluation is a perplexing problem that needs comprehensive solutions. Peer ratings and self-assessments have mostly limited application. One of the greatest problems in the assessment of job performance is the proper description of appraisal criteria. One of the consequences of this problem is the over-generalization of one element of a worker’s behaviour (the halo effect), making the employee look much better than what he is in reality. Rater bias also plays a prominent role.39 Gregory reflects39:432:
Leniency or severe errors occur when a supervisor tends to rate workers at the extremes of the scale. Leniency may reflect social dynamics, as when the supervisor wants to be liked by employees. Leniency is also caused by extraneous factors such as the attractiveness of the employee. Severity errors refer to the practice of rating all aspects of performance as deficient. In contrast, central tendency errors occur when the supervisor rates everyone as nearly average on all performance dimensions. Context errors occur when the rater evaluates an employee in the context of other employees rather than based on objective performance.
Considering the above reflection on subjectivity, leniency and bias in the appraisal of people, it is clear why evaluating a leader is so complex. The fact that psychological, personal and performance appraisals and temperament tests result are unavailable and that personal observation and interviews are impossible, puts strain on the appraisal of these leaders. The only way is to compile a checklist of the profiles of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa to evaluate them indirectly based on the information offered by other researchers and writers, some of whom were fortunate enough to have personal contact with the leaders. Such an appraisal must thus not be seen as a case of absolute finality, but at most as a study that opens up the conversation. It must be seen as part of the greater literature review on executive political leaders and regimes.39
The complexity of the exercise is reflected in the fact that the legal definition of the job President of the Republic of South Africa is actually quite unclear. When does a person fail in the job as Jacob Zuma is accused of doing. Secondly, there is no comprehensive identification of the skills and behaviours necessary to perform the job of President of the Republic of South Africa effectively. To be honest, is there any valid basis against which to judge a leader as a person or to judge his behaviour as either awful or extraordinary? Did Zuma really fail the test of excellence as president? Should the oath of office that he took in May 2009 have stopped him from continuing with criminal and immoral behaviours?39
In light of the above vagueness about the president’s job description and specification, is it important to look how public bias has contaminated South African people’s thinking on Jacob Zuma as president. If you study newspaper reports there is clearly a part of the citizenry that sees him as not guilty of doing any wrong. He was sheltered for nearly a decade in Parliament by most of the ANC lawmakers, while a strong sector of the ANC’s ordinary members gave him their full support as an honest, excellent president. On the other hand there is a strong faction of especially Blacks who openly label him as a crook. Prominent here are the many Black journalists who condemning of him as a person and as a President in their public writing.5-19
However, this conflict of opinions is not unique to Zuma. If we look at South Africa’s politico-history critically, the same controversies hang around the necks of DF Malan, HF Verwoerd, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. It shows people’s subjectivity when judging what is correct and what is wrong and the extent of the country’s delinquent thinking as a lifestyle.21,29,38
The discussion above brings us back to various writers’ references to the responsibility that political leaders have to their voters and the right of the voters to call them to book when they fail.1-2,5-6 This begs the question: At what point can we say that a leader has failed? We already saw from literature that political leaders’ words can rarely be trusted as true or sincere.1-15 But can we trust the opinion of critical writers as outsiders?1-5 Is Boon6 wrong when he claims the following from an African perspective on leadership and governance 6:123-124:
Let the manager have a written list of his community-appraisal strengths and weakness.
If it were not for this stipulated appraisal, a leader in a senior role… can quite easily get away with reprehensible behaviour. Such behaviour could be affecting many people in his community. It is therefore crucial that the community understands the nature and workings of the appraisals in detail. They must understand that the leader is accountable to them and that they can call for an appraisal of the leader if issues appear to have been forgotten.
In conclusion, senior leadership accountability takes into consideration the enhanced position of influence. Essentially, the more senior one is, the more ‘perfect’ one has to be. Roots-up appraisals emphasize that a shared community concern regarding behaviour is sufficient to activate public guidance and, where necessary, even chastisement.
Criticizing a leader is completely in tune with traditional African culture.
No, Boon6 is not wrong, nor are those writers who support his opinion on the need for evaluation and the possible recall of failed political leaders.1-5,39 This has already been done internationally with great success. There are systems that force top politicians to be responsible and accountable. Most South Africans still think of true democracy and good leadership based on a pre-modern political context where honesty and integrity are not prerequisites for becoming an executive political leader, resulting in the opposite of true democracy and good leadership. Our democracy has been captured by the masses, many of whom are still stuck in the disorderly conduct they learned during the pre-1994 liberation of South Africa.29,48
Many countries have had programmes in place for years to help them select persons of high integrity for training as leaders in the civil service. In South Africa we are still far away from a culture of good governance and a sound system to select and to train only good persons as politicians.39
Nearly thirty years ago the Canadian government started to select its top managers through an approach known as the Career Assignment Programme (CAP).39 Gregory’s39 writing gives us a good guideline for how we can get rid of criminal politicians long before they reach the gate to the political world and how we can cultivate leaders of excellence with the use of assessment centres. He writes39: 421:
An assessment center is not so much a place as a process. Many corporations and military branches – as well as a few progressive governments – have dedicated special sites to the application of in-basket and other simulation exercises in the training and selection of managers. The purpose of an assessment center is to evaluate managerial potential by exposing candidates to multiple simulation techniques, including group presentations, problem-solving exercises, group discussions exercises, interviews, and in-basket techniques. Results from traditional aptitude and personality tests also are considered in the overall evaluation. The various simulation exercises are observed and evaluated by successful senior managers who have been specially trained in techniques of observation and evaluation. Assessment centers are used in a variety of settings, including business and industry, government, and the military. There is no doubt that a properly designed assessment center can provide a valid evaluation of managerial potential.
This was exactly what the Canadian government did thirty years ago, bringing great success to their leaders’ corps today.39
3.5.2 Descriptive items for selecting and classifying information
The aim of this article is to design a basic checklist to appraise the performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa. Its design must be such that it can be applied for any period of reign, including the period 1652 to 2018 for South Africa as a whole, or the Cape Colony’s various regimes, for instance the VOC government (1652-1795), British rule with executive governors (1796-1872), British rule with self-government under a prime minister (1873-1909), the Union of South Africa (1910-1961), the first republic of South Africa (1961-1994) and democracy (1994-2018). This first project with five articles (Parts 1 to 5) focuses on the period 1652 to 1795 (Part 5 specific evaluates the performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795). The planned second project intents to examine the period 1796 to 2018 in five timeframes (Part 6: 1796-1872; Part 7: 1873-1909; Part 8: 1910-1948; Part 9:1949-1994 and Part 10: 1995-2018).
Guiding information was extracted from the literature review in Parts One to Three based on political and historical books, biographies and autobiographies so far published on South African political leaders and their regimes. Certain highlighted behaviours, conflicts and controversies as well as particular political events during these leaders’ and regimes’ times in office are used as indicators.20-38
The work of Barber1, Boon6, Bremer2, Chomsky49,50, Coggan18, Collins3, Ginsberg5 and Gregory39 are consulted for guidelines to evaluate a leader. Ginsberg5 offers a short checklist on South African political leadership to oversee that elected politicians deliver on their pre-election promises, but its items are limited in usefulness for this research. The literature overviews and findings of these eight researchers1-3,5,6,18,39,49,50 offer good material for the design, formulation, selection and categorizing of data to adapt as items for the checklist. The following four researchers’ descriptions on good leadership should first to be taken note of: Gregory39, Collins3, Ginsberg5 and the Freibergs51.
18.104.22.168 The CAP’s thirteen executive leadership attributes (Gregory)39
The Canadian government’s Career Assignment Programme (CAP) resulted in great success with the creation of a senior leader’s corps. They identified thirteen attributes as vital for the successfully cultivation and selection of executive leaders. Gregory reports on these thirteen leadership attributes as follows39: 422:
- Stress tolerance
- Effective independence
- Interpersonal relations
- Planning and organization
- Analysis and synthesis
- Oral communication
- Written communication
22.214.171.124 Collins’s Level 5 leader characteristics3
In a study over fifteen years involving companies of good status, Collins3 found that only eleven companies out of 1 435 good companies reached the great status. Central to these eleven companies’ successes are leaders of excellence, who he calls Level 5 leaders. The unique characteristics of these leaders come down to the following:
- They embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will.
- They are ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.
- They are setting up their successors for even greater success in the next generation.
- They display a compelling modesty, being self-effacing and understated; contributing to company’s growth and greatness.
- They are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results. They are resolved to do whatever it takes to make the company great, no matter how big or hard the decisions.
- They display a workmanlike diligence – more plough horse than show horse.
- They look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility.
- They are not always dazzling in appearance and public reflections; seem to have come from Mars: self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy, paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.
- They channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.
- They attribute much of their success to good luck rather than personal greatness.
- They begin the transformation by first getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figuring out where to drive it. People are not your most important asset. Who the right people are has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background, or skills.
- The key point is that the “who” questions come before “what” decisions – before vision, before strategy, before organization structure, before tactics – a rigorous discipline, consistently been applied.
- They are not ruthless in people decisions; do not rely on layoffs and restructuring as a primary strategy for improving performance.
- Level 5 leaders show three practical disciplines for being rigorous in people decisions;
- When they are in doubt, they don’t hire – they keep looking (Corollary: A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people).
- When they need to make a people change, they act. (Corollary: First be sure you don’t simply have someone in the wrong seat.)
- They put best people on biggest opportunities, not biggest problems (Corollary: If you sell off your problems, don’t sell off your best people.)
- They follow the hedgehog concept – understanding what you can be best and have the potential to do better than any other organization. Simple mantra: “Anything that does not fit with our Hedgehog Concept, we will not do – not launch unrelated business, not make unrelated acquisitions, not do unrelated joint ventures” (If it doesn’t fit, we don’t do it).
- They do not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focus equally on what not to do and what to stop doing. Becoming a great leader in such a setup requires transcending the curse of competence. Just because you’ve been doing it for years or perhaps even decades, does not necessarily mean you can be the best in the world at it. And if you cannot be the best in the world at your core business, then your core business absolutely cannot form the basis of a great company.
- They allow teams to debate vigorously in search of the best answers, yet unifying behind decisions, regardless of parochial interests.
- They pay scant attention to managing change, motivating people, or creating alignment. [Under the right conditions, the problems of commitment, alignment, motivation, and changes largely melt away].
- The vision means to get people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications.
- They confront the brutal facts without losing faith in the case: maintain unwavering faith that they can and will prevail in the end and at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of their current realities, whatever they might be.
- They are aware that charisma is as much a liability as an asset.
- They do not link to executive compensation.
- Compensation is not to “motivate” the right behaviours from the wrong people, but to get and keep the right people in the first place. Spending time and energy trying to “motivate” people is a waste of effort. If you have the right people, they will be self-motivated.
- They create a culture wherein people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.
- They create a climate where the truth is heard involves four basic practices.
- They lead with questions, not answers.
- They engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
- They conduct autopsies without blame.
- They build red flag mechanisms that turn information into a class of information that cannot be ignored.
126.96.36.199 The Freiberg leadership description51
The Freibergs51 identify certain characteristics intertwined with good leadership that they see as absolutes for the success of enterprises:
- People matter: care about their employees as people, not as just another kind of asset along with machine tools and building sites.
- Leaders make employees’ lives better, on and off the job.
- They nourish a culture that calls upon all employees to behave ethically, support their co-workers, and fulfil the needs and dreams of customers – while earning a profit to support the enterprise and reward its owners.
- They inspire their people to bring the totality of who are they – heart, mind, and spirit – to work every day. It is reflected in the creativity of their product and service innovations.
- They are not superheroes. They simply have learned to lead in a manner quite separate and distinct from the usual command-and-control model.
- They do go against the grain of traditional management theory; because they are pioneers in their industries; because if they fail, they face greater disgrace and humiliation than those who fail doing the expected. Of course, with very few exceptions, they don’t fail. The risks they take with their behaviour are always calculated, pure in motive, and long-term.
188.8.131.52 Ginsberg checklist5 for the selecting South African candidate executive political leaders
Ginsberg51 made a summary of fifteen questions to be answered by aspiring South African politicians on how they plan to practice their politics to better the country if they are elected and how to keep to their promises after being elected. The fifteen questions are5: 259:
What are your plans to
- encourage job creation and dramatically reduce unemployment?
- eliminate the huge government debt?
- reduce crime substantially?
- build sufficient housing for our citizens?
- attract foreign investment?
- increase exports and generate foreign exchange?
- improve our educational system?
- reduce the government’s size?
- get rid of unnecessary regulations?
- assist those industries which will create new wealth in South Africa?
- reform the tax system?
- pass laws to prevent special interest groups giving large sums of money to political candidates?
- get rid of unnecessary perks for elected officials?
- pass laws to stop Parliament exempting itself from the laws it imposes on the rest of the country?
These items are incorporated in the checklist discussed later on.
3.5.3 Data analysis
The qualitative data from the literature reviews were transformed into quantitative ordinal data only to offer the researcher the opportunity to class the data into two categories: Bad (0) versus Good (1). The figures 0 and 1 hold no physical meaning and are used in this research only as codes. In each article the focus is on the most prominent executive political leader or leaders’ active in that article’s time frame (this limited the focus in article 5 to certain persons, while the other leaders’ inputs were transferred to the general overview for hypothesis testing). This includes governing bodies such as the statutory authorities of the Netherlands or Britain at the early Cape.39,41
This historical research approach is primarily based on the Collins definition3 (What’s inside the Black Box?). He identified a sequence of actions that form part of a Level 5 leaders3: 9:
We came to think of our research effort as akin to looking inside a black box. Each step along the way was like installing another light bulb to shed light on the inner workings of the good-to-great process.
Collins3 states that this “growth in information” to better an existing situation with knowledge is also applicable to any data collection away from the business environment. Collins3 writes3:15:
…it is not about the old economy. Nor is it about new economy. It is not even about the companies you’re reading about, or even about business per se. It is ultimately about one thing: the timeless principles of good to great.
The data collection instrument was the biographical historical (auto-biographical) method (also referred to as a historical analysis or a life history research approach). The data come from various historical and political books, biographies, as well as other sources as newspapers and governmental documents. The rationale for the bio-data approach is that work-related behaviour of leaders can be described based on past choices and accomplices. Bio-data have predictive power because certain character traits, which are essential for success, also are stable and enduring. In practice bio-data reflect the attitudes, feelings and value positioning of leaders and regimes. Looking at historical trends is a suggestive method of getting a sense not only how South Africa’s politics looked a century or more ago, but also how its politics has changed and is still changing. However, it seems that the use of historical trends to predict the future is a poor approach, but it must be noted that future predictions were not part of this research.39,43,46
Regarding the traditional references to population and sampling, a total population for the total period of 1652 to 2018 (μ=83) was involved, which includes six smaller populations inside this total time frame [This first project consisting of five articles (Parts 1 to 5) focuses only on the period 1652 to 1795 (Part 5 specific evaluates the performance profiles of executive political leaders and regimes for the period 1652 to 1795 (μ=30)).The planned second project intents to examine the period 1796 to 2018 in five time frames (Part 6: 1796-1872 (μ=30); Part 7: 1873-1909 (μ=8); Part 8: 1910-1948 (μ=4); Part 9:1949-1994 (μ=6) and Part 10: 1995-2018 (μ=5). See also 3.5.2: Descriptive items for selecting and classifying information]. When referring to “population,” it must be noted that historical and political information reflecting South Africa’s politico-historical past is not constantly and continuously categorical and chronologically precise: some leaders are prominent reflected, while the most stayed obscured in the history. In its history of more than 350 years, South Africa has less 100 “executive political leaders,” but few can be described as true leaders. The generalized writings that reflect on regimes like that of the Netherlands and British authorities at the Cape, as well as the regimes of the two Boer republics are more than enough to fill up gaps on politico-historical information where leaders’ profiles fall short.39,43,46
The definition of Starbird of a population confirms that we can view South Africa’s executive political leaders as a population43:133:
A population is any entire collection of people, animals, plants, or things from which we may collect data. It is the entire group in which we are interested and that we wish to describe or draw conclusions about.
Note: data analysis was done simple by categorizing the information from the political-historical sources to support the researcher’s hypothesis testing. No statistical data analysis was done.52
4.1 An appraisal checklist to assess the leadership qualities of South Africa’s executive political leaders and regimes: 1652 to 2018
The categorization of data is easy when it comes to the description of systems like “democracy,” seeing that democracy can be applied in different forms and with different interpretations (all communist countries with extreme despotic regimes see themselves as democratic, as did the NP-regime of South Africa during their Apartheid which excluded Black). It is possible to define the “democracy” of a specific country in terms of the rankings of poor (1), fair (2), good (3), excellent (4) and extraordinary (5), but when it comes to classifying criminal behaviour this ranking classification is a falsity. There are no behaviours that the law views as a “little bit of criminal behaviour” or a “huge amount of criminal behaviour” – both are criminal behaviour. The ANC “started to cleanse the country of criminality” after 1994 with their Reconciliation Act. Robin McBride, a member of MK, was involved in the bombing of the Magoo’s Bar in Durban on the 14th June 1986 where three White women were killed and 69 people injured. He was pardoned for this crime. When a newspaper referred to him as a murderer after his “pardoning” he went to court to fight them for defamation and impairment of dignity. It does not matter what the court’s view was, when it comes to research, what counts is not murder per se, but the act of criminality or a transgression of law that the history not will erase from South African newspapers or internet references (Basically the pardoning only means the crimes cannot be held against him to be appointed to a certain position or for claims by the victim’s families against him, but under the ANC it morphed into something different). In the evaluation of information for this checklist a person with a serious legal transgression that was erased by the Reconciliation Act, the person can still not be regarded as a good leader. The research must be honest enough to classify such behaviour as unexpected.53,54
The same dilemma arises with the classification of the behaviour related to responsibility and accountability of ministers in the PW Botha and FW de Klerk cabinets in the murder of Black activists during the NP-regime. The hearings of 1996 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reveal horrific stories of the NP-regime’s atrocities against Blacks as well as White dissidents.4,55-60 Ministers argued that these criminalities had been committed without their official permission by the then South African armed and security forces. Pik Botha’s so-called recognition of guilt goes only as far as admitting that all NP cabinet ministers “suspected these killings and torturing.” If he was naïve enough to miss out on vital signs of criminality, what kind of minister was he? As a minister was he responsible for his regime’s wrongdoings. 4,55-61 Indirectly, these atrocities and murders were committed by a regime in which he was a prominent senior minister. He accepted responsibility at the moment he accepted his appointment as a minister and he, as much as Eugene de Kock, is guilty of bad or failed behaviour as succinctly described by one affected Black person when she writes57: 4-5:
If you’re willing to be in the same room as Niel Barnard, F W de Klerk, Pik Botha and their kind, to talk, to drink, add Eugene de Kock to your list. He was their foot soldier. He took the proverbial spanking for them. Apartheid was ‘prime evil’; De Kock just his loyal servant. You can not feel morally indignant to De Kock and not also about De Klerk or the devastation that apartheid has brought to black South Africans. (Own translation)
She pinpoints very clear the immediate involvement to criminality of ministers57:4-5:
I ask again: Who was it really who hell-up South Africa? A cruel policeman or those who gave the instructions? (Own translation)
This outcome reflects indirect involvement through irresponsible behaviours and the failure of certain Whites as ministers. This means that the ministers in the DF Malan, HF Verwoerd, BJ Vorster, PW Botha and FW de Klerk regimes, like McBride, can also not be classified as good leaders. Their ranking can only be done in one of two bipolar rankings, namely bad behaviour versus good behaviour: Nothing else. There is no midway in true research.
The “stretched values” that have seeped into the current mindsets of South Africans, undoubtedly strengthened by the ANC’s legal “pardoning” of many of their members’ criminality, make compiling an “objective” checklist very complicated. The extent of this obscuration of values is reflected in the comments of the seasoned political commentator Barney Mthombothi59 about the unlimited and unconditional support Jacob Zuma received from persons in high office. Mthombothi writes61:19:
At times it feels we’re on the brink, or that the country is being unhinged from its moorings and drifting. We’re not only losing direction as a country, but we seem to have lost our sense of what is right and wrong. Anything goes. Nothing is off limits.
The sight of Jacob Zuma in the dock for fraud and corruption hardly three months after he had been forced out of office brings home in a more forceful and dramatic fashion the parlous state of our societal values. For almost a decade this man was South Africa’s leader, determining and directing its destiny. No wonder we are where we are. A country, like an organization, often takes on the character of its chief executive. A fish rots from the head down. The past 10 years have been a slippery slope to the gutter. Almost.
It’s a bit unfair perhaps, and a complete cop out, to lump all our problems in Zuma’s lap. But what’s also troubling is that among the motley crowd of shysters, hangers-on, out-and-out crooks and the political aggrieved who turned out to chaperone Zuma to court on Friday [6th April 2018] were men and women of the cloth, even bishops in their flowing robes. Religious leaders and undertakers have been at the forefront of whipping up sympathy for Zuma. That’s par for the course: they usually march together burying the death. But men of God – unlike undertakers – should at least have a silver morality. Or does tribe trump morals?
This morning [8th April] these men and women of the cloth, with a deft flourish of their colourful robes, will be sweating profusely and foaming at the mouth as they preach the word of God and urge sinners to repent. The sinners they have in mind, I guess, won’t include Zuma, whom they’d eulogised two days before. The irony will be lost on them.
These matters are not about rich or poor, black or white, left or right. But we tend to make them so. We first look at who is involved in whatever misdemeanour before we either empathise, defend or condemn. To paraphrase the old Carl Schurz saying, “It’s my people, right or wrong.”
The phenomenon of the mixture of criminality and good behaviour within the ANC-regime must be understood against the background of the liberation mentality, something that has become entrenched in the general populace. Mthombothi guides us further62: 16:
…their madness and habits are embedded in all social strata. After all, the party is supreme; it is the vanguard of everything. It therefore cannot be uprooted without destabilizing or tearing society itself, leaving deep scars.
This is the lens or tradition through which the ANC should be seen.
The above description does not describe each and every Black person, far from it. Not everyone in South Africa is a crook or lacks vision and responsibility or accountability and a conscience.63,64 Magda Wierzycka65, the CEO of the Sygnia Group approximates these delinquents as numbering more or less 20 000 out of the South African population of 56 million law-abiding citizens. The massive power of these 20 000 lays in their ability to successfully infiltrate and overtake all the important centres in charge of the judiciary and financial bodies of the country, giving them the power of 2 million people. There is an overall goodness among South Africans, specifically Blacks, but the most Blacks are just too frightened to show it. As Mthombothi reflects61:19:
Many black people, like everyone else, feel strongly about corruption in the government, for instance. But they’re often ambivalent about it because at times it seems as though all black people are painted with the same brush. And so they take a defensive posture. And the real thieves and crooks are able to escape or find refuge, if not sympathy, in the crowd.
This researcher does not intend to look at who is involved in whatever misdemeanour or to defend or judge anyone. Mthombothi’s61,62 above guideline of the bad versus the good is a clear descriptive warning and will be followed throughout the compilation of the checklist to assure objectivity.
The items in the checklist were applied to all information collected in the literature review and interpreted as the researcher sees it applicable. No external experts were used to appraise the collected information on leaders and governments in terms of the bad-versus-good-classification.
In light of the political sensitivity of this study, the researcher assured at all times that the political-historical data were carefully reviewed and coded. Generalizations were not made beyond the capability of the data to support statements. The researcher guarded against his own expectations, misperceptions and the need to find answers that would support his preconceived notions.
The research does not adhere to political correctness, not as the NP interpreted it, nor as the ANC did.
4.2 Items included in the checklist3,5,39,51
- How did the executive political leader’s intellectual abilities reflect in his/her national and international political views, opinions, thinking, planning and behaviour?
- How did the executive political leader’s ability to engage in strategic thinking and planning reflect in the promotion of the interests of South Africa’s population?
- How did the executive political leader’s ability to think and act with creativity in promoting the people and the country’s interests reflect from his actions?
- How successful did the executive political leader handle the political stress of the country (like unrests, terrorism, financial turmoil, etc.)?
- How well was the executive political leader motivated in his general promotion of the people and the country’s interests?
- What was the level of the executive political leader’s independent thinking, planning and behaviour in promoting the people and the country’s interests? To what extent did the leader cooperate with the parliament and the governmental institutions’ as guided by the Constitution and how inclined was he to block the interference and intervention of a third force?
- What level of leadership and regime of governance did the executive political leader establish and maintain during his time in office?
- What kind of relationship did the executive political leader have with the people of South Africa?
- What was the level of the executive political leader’s abilities and skills to do governmental planning and organization to benefit the people?
- How successful did the executive political leader master the ability to work as part of an intimate team and to delegate important affairs to capable subordinates?
- How successful was the executive political leader in steering his subordinates at all levels as well as the people of the country to debate vigorously in searching for the best answers for problems and conflicting issues and to unify them behind the final decisions regardless of parochial interests?
- How successful did the executive political leader master analytical thinking, planning and behaviour during his governance?
- How successful did the executive political leader master synthesized thinking, planning and behaviour during his governance?
- How successfully did the executive political leader make sound judgments in his handling of the government and the people’s problems and conflicts?
- How successful was the executive political leader as a speaker in grabbing people’s attention to listen to his messages of wisdom, motivation and vision for the future?
- How successful was the executive political leader at speaking all or most of the official languages of the country and did he use these languages when speaking to the people officially?
- How successful was the executive political leader as a writer in mastering the people’s interest to read his messages of wisdom, motivation and vision for the future?
- How successful could the executive political leader write in all or most of the official languages of the country and did he write in these various official languages to the people?
- What was the standard/quality of the personal and public behaviour of the executive political leader?
- To what extent did the executive political leader embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will in his leadership?
- To what extent did the executive political leader reflect ambition to promote first the state’s and the people’s interests, placing himself in the second place?
- To what extent did the executive political leader display modesty, self-effacement and understatedness in his role during his time of office?
- To what extent was the executive political leader fanatically driven and infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results for the country and its people?
- To what extent was the executive political leader willing, notwithstanding what the effort required from him to make the country great?
- How much did the executive political leader display workmanlike diligence?
- To what extent did the executive political leader attribute the successes he brought to the country to other persons?
- How much did the executive political leader take the blame and responsibility on himself when the politics of the country went wrong?
- To what extent did the executive political leader channel his ego needs away from himself towards the society’s greater goal to build a great nation?
- How successful was the executive political leader at getting the “right” persons into his team of government and the “wrong” persons out quickly and effectively?
- How successful was the executive political leader with putting his best executives/politicians on the country’s biggest opportunities and not on the biggest problems?
- To what extent did the executive political leader understand what his party as a government could do the best and could do better than any of the other political parties to serve the country’s interests best and to bring optimal gains?
- To what extent did the executive political leader understand the nation’s beliefs, opinions, traditions, as well as their needs, demands and cultures as separate from his and his party’s beliefs, opinions, traditions, needs, demands and culture?
- To what extent did the executive political leader bring betterment or corrections to the nation’s needs and demands notwithstanding his and his party’s beliefs, opinions, traditions, needs, demands and culture?
- How successful was the executive political leader with delivering on all the promises he made during his pre-election campaign?
- How successfully could the executive political leader enforce accountability and responsibility among his subordinates (cabinet, party, civil service)?
- How much was the executive political leader respected nationally as a statesman of excellence?
- How much was the executive political leader respected internationally as a statesman of excellence?
- How much was the executive political leader respected nationally as a charismatic icon?
- How much was the executive political leader respected internationally as a charismatic icon?
- How much was the executive political leader respected nationally as a statesman of excellence and a charismatic icon?
- How much was the executive political leader respected internationally as a statesman of excellence and a charismatic icon?
- How successfully did the executive political leader focus not only on what to do to become great, but rather on what not to do and what to stop doing as it is not worthwhile for the nation?
- To what extent did the executive political leader disengage from his party’s interests and force to focus on the nation’s wishes and needs and to promote their interest as a first priority?
- How willing was the executive political leader to confront brutal facts and to challenge them?
- How successful did the executive political leader engage meaningfully and constructively with his opposition during government decisions and political implementations?
- To what extent was the executive political leader successful at refraining from racist utterances in his speeches and writings?
- How successfully could the executive political leader maintain unwavering faith that he could and would prevail when confronted with brutal political realities that endangered the nation?
- How successfully could the executive political leader abstain from political and personal low-level “domestic” disputes outside his mandate as leader of the country?
- How successfully could the executive political leader refrain from appointing his party’s cadres and his own cronies into political and government positions?
- To what extent did the executive political leader understand the negative effect that his charisma as a person and leader could have for the equality of his leadership and good governance in the country?
- To what extent did the executive leader refrain from abusing his personal and leader charisma to influence governing decisions and outcomes by mesmerizing the people?
- To what extent did the executive political leader underwrite BBBEE, AA, RET and RST?
- How can the executive political leader’s political position be classified? Was he an indirect representative like a commander or governor, or was he a direct representative like a prime minister or president?
- To what extent did the executive political leader, when political outcomes went wrong, conduct political autopsies without blaming the real culprits of the failure?
- To what extent did the executive political leader improve the fate of the workers by creating new jobs and alleviating the joblessness of the South African masses?
- To what extent did the executive political leader nourish and propagate a lifestyle and national culture of high-level ethics?
- How successful was the executive political leader at motivating and inspiring the individual citizen to live his life to the fullest – heart, mind and spirit – and to be work- and service-orientated?
- How successful was the executive political leader at eliminating the huge amount of governmental debt?
- To what extent did the executive political leader refrain from creating more debt?
- To what extent could the executive political leader successfully reduce crime?
- To what extent did crime rise during the executive political leader’s time in office?
- To what extent did the executive political leader offer sufficient housing and other accommodation for the country’s poor and homeless?
- What kinds of friends and confidants did the executive political leader gather around him?
- How successful was the executive political leader at attracting foreign investments and maintaining South Africa’s ratings with foreign agencies?
- How successfully could the executive political leader increase exports and generate foreign exchange?
- How successfully could the executive political leader improve the quality of the country’s basic as well as tertiary education and make it free or inexpensive?
- To what extent could the executive political leader successfully identify incoming and developing business entities and steer these entities by offering governmental support?
- To what extent could the executive political leader successfully reduce the civil services over-employment and accompanying costs?
- To what extent could the executive political leader successfully reduce the size of his cabinet, the cost and unnecessary overlapping of work areas and functions?
- How successfully could the executive political leader streamline the tax system?
- How successfully could the executive political leader prevent special interest groups from giving large sums of money to political candidates to prevent corruption, nepotism and fraud as reflected in state capture?
- To what extent could the executive political leader successfully limit the extraordinary benefits and compensation of law-makers and other public officials?
- How successfully could the executive political leader curb the double standards of the parliament so that the legislation they pass applies to all the people of the country?
- Did the executive political leader show integrity?
- Did the executive political leader stay clear of a criminal record for theft, fraud, nepotism, corruption or embezzlement?
- Did the executive political leader stay clear from antisocial behaviour, assault, terrorism or murder?
- Could the executive political leader stay away from criminal investigation until he passed away, or is he, as a living person, still under investigation?
- Did the executive political leader willingly and enthusiastically set up his successor to obtain greater success than himself?
- Did the executive political leader refrain from setting up his successor for failure?
- Did the executive political leader refrain from opportunistic behaviours like self-enrichment, self-empowerment and other masked delinquent political intentions?
- Did the executive political leader refrain from siding with specific minority groups?
- Did the executive political leader refrain from siding with specific majority groups?
4.2.1 Values awarded to classify leaders as either Bad (0) or Good (1)
In order to be classified as a good leader, the leader and/or the regime being evaluated must receive a consistent positive appraisal for all the items evaluated, in other words a score of (1) “good” for each item. If all 82 items are evaluated, the total count must add up to 82 for a leader to be classified as “good.” If fewer items are used like 79, the total count must match the number of items evaluated. If a nil value is awarded for one item out of 79 items, the leader cannot be classified as a good leader.
All great thinkers have emphasized the ‘S’ factor – ‘S’ for Service – service to society. Dr. Einstein maintained that it is a higher destiny to service than to rule. Mahatma Gandhi was never tired of emphasizing that you must not only hold your money in trust but also your talent in trust for society – Palkhivala.66: 316
In this article we see that executive political leaders take on the leadership in very different ways. There is often little to be seen of service to the society. Self-enrichment and political empowerment often contaminate their mindsets. Even murder seems to have become something excusable in South Africa, washed away by the South African Reconciliation Act.53,54
This article intended to use political-historical literature reviews and a supportive checklist to strip the emperor naked, to bring the “ghosts” of the past back to talk to us again, to tell us honestly of their many sins and mistakes, but also of their good deeds and virtues.
Starbird43:1 writes that understanding our daily existence and the most basic aspects of our world fundamentally involves coming to grips with data. He continues43:1:
The trouble with data is that data do not arrive with meaning. Data are value-free and useless or actually misleadin
g until we learn to interpret their meaning appropriately. Statistics provides the conceptual and procedural tools for drawing meaning from data.
The intention with this article is to put an elementary instrument in place to draw meaning from the country’s political-historical data that would help us evaluate the behaviors, integrity and contributions of the executive political leaders and regimes of South Africa from 1652 to 2018. In the next article (Part 5), the appraisal checklist’s usefulness as a tool to distinguish good leaders from bad ones is tested by using the checklist specific on the political leaders and regimes of the period 1652 to 1795.
It is absolutely crucial that we study the abilities, qualities and integrity of the executive political leaders of South Africa. We need this knowledge to understand South Africa and to plan for the future. As the African proverb aptly says, learning expands great souls.
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Not commissioned; Externally peer-reviewed.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The author declares that he has no competing interest.
The research was funded by the Focus Area Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa.