IntroductionAs arelatively young democratic nation-state, South Africa has achieveddemonstrable successes; amongst those a world-renowned Constitution and accessto education for all. There are however a number of issues which plague theconstructs of the state. “Yet the reality is that South Africa continues to beone of the most unequal societies on earth in terms of disparities in wealth,income, opportunities, and living conditions.” (Badat, 2009) In this essay, a pair of challenges will beexplored as well as a business response to one of these challenges. Theundermining of the Constituent and the erosion of ethical leadership. WhenSouth Africa’s current and fifth Constitution was signed into law on 10December 1996, it entrenched the values of the ethical and moral leadership. “Aswe close a chapter of exclusion and a chapter of heroic struggle, we reaffirmour determination to build a society of which each of us can be proud, as SouthAfricans, as Africans, and as citizens of the world…As your first democratically elected President, I feel honoured and humbled by responsibilities ofsigning into law a text that embodies our nation’s highest aspirations.
“(Mandela, 1996). As further highlighted in its Preamble, the Constitution highlights “the foundations for a democraticand open society in which government is based on the will of the people andevery citizen is equally protected by law.” (Republic of South Africa, 1996).The values espoused by the Constitution include protecting the rights andfreedom of all; as well as standards of leadership, accountability, dignity,and ethics.Asignificant challenges facing South Africa is the erosion of ethicalleadership. Ethical leadership is defined “is related to considerationbehaviour, honesty, trust in the leader, interactional fairness and socialisedcharismatic leadership.
” (Brown, Trevino and Harrison, 2005). Ethical leadersin South Africa should act in line with the human rights enshrined in its youngdemocracy and it’s Constitution. Ethicalleaders should, as value constructs, be “humble, concerned for the greatergood, strive for fairness, take responsibility and show respect for eachindividual. Ethical leaders set high ethical standards and act in accordancewith them.” (Miheli?, Lipi?nik, and Tekav?i?, 2010) Thiscase study, in itself, reflects broader South African issues related tocorruption; however, the focus of the essay will highlight the issue of theerosion of ethical leadership. The case study centres on South Africa’s fourthPresident Jacob Zuma and scandals relating to his relationship with a prominentIndian family and the firing of those that have stood in his way. “The strengthof the Constitution depends on the ability of those in power to protect anddefend it and to submit to the rule of law. With the brazen axing of Gordhanwithout reason, Zuma has shown himself to be beyond scrutiny.
His presidency isnow capricious, with its aim being shoring up power for himself and hisassociates.” (February, 2017). The ‘State of Capture’ report released by thePublic Protector of South Africa highlights extreme abuses of power andsystematic corruption in the state. These are numerous incidents of corruptionfrom money laundering to the illegal procurement of tenders; where the privateinfluence of a family has dictated state expenditure by the President. (PublicProtector South Africa, 2016).
At arecent Constitution Hill event; Former Justice Albie Sachs stated that thecurrent lack of leadership “undermines the intrinsic values of ourConstitution, and by undermining the ethics of leadership; you do not undermineone tenant; but you undermine all the tenants of the Constitution.” (Sachs,2017). The lack of ethical leadership alongside “increasing evidence ofcorruption suggests that too many individuals occupy positions of authority forthemselves and their cronies. The poor and vulnerable are left behind.
There islittle fairness in society in the face of rampant corruption. Sadly, thequality of our leadership is the biggest liability that confronts us today.” (Manual,2017).
Thedelivery of quality educationAnequally destructive issue focuses on the crises of education in South Africa. “Indeed,South African education is in a dire state. We perform very poorly in globaland Africa standardised tests, basicneeds like literacy and numeracy are not being met, schools are dilapidated andthe young people are disillusioned.” (Dwane and Isaacs, 2015)Accessto education, as under our Constitution, has been provided to all SouthAfricans, however, the remnants of the Apartheid system remain. Thus the “results of over a century ofcolonial and apartheid rule and racist control of the education system, asystem of education that was segregated hierarchically and geographically alongracial lines.” (Pampalis, 2014). Although much has been done by the Governmentto provide educational services and opportunity to the youth, the delivery ofquality education remains a significant issue. “In November the latest Trends in International Mathematics and ScienceStudy (TIMSS), a quadrennial test sat by 580,000 pupils in 57 countries, hadSouth Africa at or near the bottom of its various rankings … A shocking 27% ofpupils who have attended school for six years cannot read.
” (South Africa has one of the world’s worsteducation systems, 2017). The delivery of teaching and learning is hampered byinadequate infrastructure, during a parliamentary reply made by the Departmentof Basic Education “Eastern Cape had 187 schools without electricity…Pupils at1586 schools in Eastern Cape still used pit latrines, followed by KwaZulu-Natalat 1379 and Limpopo at 932. Northern Cape only has 10 schools that use pitlatrines, Free State has 196, Mpumalanga 392 and North West 130.” (Heard, 2017)Beyondthe challenges in terms of the delivery of curriculum and lack of resources;there are significant social welfare challenges within our schools. The UnitedNations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination againstWomen (CEDAW) said in 2011 that there were “grave concerns about the highnumber of girls who suffer sexual abuse and harassment in schools”. (CEDAWReport, 2011)What can business do? Accessto quality education is key to South Africa’s transformation, as well as afundamental human right as ascribed by the Constitution. Critical to thishypothesis is the consideration for holistic, whole school development.
“Itshould be clear that the fundamental challenge is to improve the quality ofeducation in schools. To be sure, resources for equity of access for poorstudents, targeted nutrition programmes, facilities, toilets and the adequateremuneration of educators are important.” (Badat, 2009) Theproposed theory, a business response to the education milieu, is for amulti-stakeholder engagement approach through public-private partnerships.
“Thisincludes the understanding that development does not flow from above and cannotbe done to schools by outside experts or officials but requires, within aframework of common values and goals, unassuming, respectful, sustained andmutually reciprocal and beneficial partnerships which puts people (teachers,students) at the centre and draws on and supplements their knowledge, wisdomand resources and enables them to ultimately become the authors of their owndevelopment.” (Badat, 2009) Interms of partnerships; investments should focus on large-scale investments ofmatched funding, incorporating the replicable models of whole schooldevelopment. Numerous non-governmental organisationsare implementing successful education initiatives; however, these are temperedby inadequate funding and largely small-scale. There needs to be a far moresystematic approach to collaboration. The National Development Plan 2030highlights the critical need for partnerships in realising its goals.
(2011) Effective partnerships mean that the whole is often far greater than thesum of its parts. Partnerships increase sustainability; and for Public-PrivatePartnerships to succeed, there is the reduction in the possibility ofduplication and the mobilisation ofcollective resources.Asevidenced by the establishment of Kagiso Shanduka Trust, one of the largestPublic Private Partnerships in education. With a R400 million investment;implementation began in 2014 with a district whole school development model.Kagiso Shanduka Trust’s district-based model has sought to address leadership,infrastructure, curriculum and social welfare challenges in public schools. “Partnershipswere encouraged in the Free State, in which private organisations brought in infrastructure to help schools.
KagisoShanduka Trust helped schools in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts, focusing on maths, physical science, English andhome languages. Through the trust, the districts achieved a pass rate of 90.2%and 82.
5%, respectively.” (Fengu, 2018). Free State was once again awarded thetop province; whilst Fezile Dabi was the top performing district in SouthAfrica (Macupe, 2018). The basis of this partnership and others taking shape inthe education environment is coordinated holistic development with a consideredallocation of knowledge, resources, and funding.
Conclusion: Thisessay has sought to discuss to critical challenges faced in South Africa; withreference to two issues; eroded ethical leadership and the challenges faced bythe South African education system. Inboth of these issues, is the need for ethical leadership to address and managea far more succinct collaborative dialogue. As Hammanistates, should we be serious about leadership and education, we need to refuse “toaccept the logic of inequality and the repression that it involves and continueto ‘search for human agency’, for the means through which inequality can beundone.” (Hammani, 2006:32) References: Badat, Dr.
S. (2009). The Challenges of Education andDevelopment in Twenty?First Century South Africa.
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