Equity Commission laments leadership duels at parastatals
26 November 2009
The Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) has expressed grave concern at the leadership squabbles currently bedevilling parastatals in the country.
This follows the recent developments ranging from power utility, Eskom the latest debacle at Amscor.
Mpho Nkeli, newly appointed acting CEE chairperson, said "Obviously leaders come and go, for whatever reason, in any institution. I therefore do not in any way condone the change of leadership for the reasons justified by the boards or shareholders; it is their role to ensure their institutions are well managed, but the manner in which these departures have been handled sadly lack the dignity and confidentiality they deserve.
The damage meted out by such media spectacles not only humiliates the exiting leaders, and those of their families, but it create immeasurable damage to the institutions themselves, the employees that remain suppliers and clients alike. Parastatals are government assets and central to our economy, their integrity and image has to be protected, otherwise they will find themselves in a position where they are unable to attract talent and leadership required to steer them.
It almost feels like many are happy to see the departures, whether justified or not. No institution is perfect, no leader is perfect either. This type of public spectacle is more common in the public sector and little of it in the private sector, which equally has leaders coming and going, for whatever reason. Maybe we could learn something here.
In our quest to be seen to be driving a certain type of behaviour, we are losing the basic respect for each other, and more concerning, basic respect for leadership. Some see this type of behaviour as a 'bring him down syndrome' and this not only brings the leaders down, but also brings down the institution too.
This situation also makes it difficult for the institutions to find willing candidates to fill up these positions? They too would be concerned about their future departure? Who would then want to join our parastatals when they see those before them leave under such a spotlight. How conducive is such display for black leadership development in South Africa?
Currently, Eskom, Transnet, South African Airways, Amscor and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) all don't have permanent CEOs."