From the ed­i­tor’s desk

Public Sector Manager - - EDITOR’S NOTE - Des Latham Head of Edi­to­rial and Pro­duc­tion

This is the month dur­ing which Nel­son Man­dela was born and ev­ery year on 18 July we gather to­gether as a na­tion and re­mem­ber the man born in 1918.

On 11 Fe­bru­ary 1990 Madiba walked out of Vic­tor Ver­ster Prison af­ter 27 years be­hind bars, then stood be­fore a mas­sive crowd at a rally in Cape Town. At the time I was work­ing as a se­nior re­porter at Ra­dio 702 and the mem­ory of this mo­ment re­mains vis­ceral and emo­tional.

He be­gan like this:

“Friends, com­rades and fel­low South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democ­racy and free­dom for all.

I stand here be­fore you not as a prophet but as a hum­ble ser­vant of you, the peo­ple.Your tire­less and heroic sac­ri­fices have made it pos­si­ble for me to be here to­day. I there­fore place the re­main­ing years of my life in your hands.”

He thanked many peo­ple dur­ing the next few min­utes, but that speech was 1 606 words long, or a mere three A4 pages. Man­dela, who had sym­bol­ised the mo­bil­i­sa­tion against apartheid in­ter­na­tion­ally, made it quite clear:

“I stand here be­fore you not as a prophet but as a hum­ble ser­vant of you, the peo­ple.”

This mag­a­zine prints sto­ries about lead­er­ship in gov­ern­ment, and those words Madiba spoke 28 years ago should be im­printed in the con­scious­ness of those of us who serve in gov­ern­ment.

We need to be hum­ble and ser­vants of the peo­ple.

Too of­ten we read about the self-serv­ing in­ter­ests and a lack of ser­vice de­liv­ery, mainly be­cause those in­volved be­lieve they are not hum­ble ser­vants, but ar­ro­gant op­por­tunists.This mo­ti­va­tion to take as much as can be taken as quickly as pos­si­ble is an in­sult to Madiba’s mem­ory.

There’s no nice way to say this to the greedy and power-hun­gry peo­ple in­side and out­side gov­ern­ment who dis­pense with hon­our and re­ward them­selves with other peo­ple’s money and trea­sure.

You are an em­bar­rass­ment to our gov­ern­ment and our coun­try and must be iden­ti­fied and re­moved.

Be­ing up­wardly mo­bile is one thing, fla­grantly abus­ing the rights of cit­i­zens by fail­ing to prop­erly ad­here to the re­quired level of ser­vice is another.

The dis­course we face in 2018 would no doubt up­set a leader of Madiba’s sig­nif­i­cance.There are cheap shots be­ing fired on an hourly ba­sis with­out any un­der­stand­ing of the so­cial and eco­nomic ef­fects of the hate­ful and spite­ful views that pre­dom­i­nate. The politics of the strug­gle is still with us, but missing is the eru­dite and thought­ful commentary.

It’s a des­per­ate clam­our of the low­est of the low that makes some of our sys­tems more fal­li­ble and is en­rag­ing cit­i­zens with at­ti­tudes that are blind to com­pas­sion and bereft of pa­tience.

Dur­ing that epony­mous speech Madiba also said:“It is only through dis­ci­plined mass ac­tion that our vic­tory can be as­sured”.

Look around you, PSM reader, and de­cide how dis­ci­plined we are. It’s time to re­state our po­si­tion as gov­ern­ment work­ers and say “I am the hum­ble ser­vant of the peo­ple” and be­gin to de­liver ser­vices be­fore these same cit­i­zens.

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