Sunday World

We need system of meritocrac­y in SA

- Kabelo Khumalo

It is said the Son of Man once told his followers that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

This adage appears to be true for many crooks and people of questionab­le integrity who have miraculous­ly gone through the ANC’S eye of the needle into leadership positions.

In 2001 the ANC borrowed the phrase “through the eye of a needle” in a document outlining attributes that would help it identify a true leader. It read like an Ernest Hemingway novel.

But as we have seen in the past, the party’s eye of the needle is so big that charlatans such as Mosebenzi Zwane, Vincent Smith and Ace Magashule can march through it without a glitch.

How else does Bathabile Dlamini lead its women’s wing?

Scholar Zhang Weiwei wrote that competitio­n in the 21st century would be between good and bad governance.

The ANC has to learn from the Chinese Communist Party on how to elect credible leaders across all spheres of government. Deng Xiaoping began a process to modernise China by implementi­ng reforms based on his political ideology, “socialism with Chinese characteri­stics”.

Deng’s vision lifted millions out of poverty backed by the party developmen­t of a system of governance based on meritocrac­y. Those who want to serve in the government need to pass a critical examinatio­n. Once successful, further evaluation should be required to move up the chain of command – such as performing at lower levels of government, understand­ing its intricacie­s, while testing character – to hone the specialise­d skills that are needed for service to the nation.

One only has to look at the profile of Beijing’s leaders elected at the Communist Party’s 19th congress to understand the skills and experience required to be in the top echelons of the country. Six of the seven members of the standing committee of the politburo run provinces with GDPS bigger than some countries.

They rose from these provinces with enough experience and expertise to serve their country.

Our democracy is robust and should never be tampered with. But millions of South African are yet to taste its dividends.

A meritocrac­y regime with a South African character is what we need. It should start with the selection criteria for anyone wishing to hold public office to identify whether the person has the skills and experience that would lead to the creation of jobs, grow the economy, expand social developmen­t and reduce poverty.

The governing party is in elective conference­s season, yet very little is said about the quality and moral fortitude of leaders vying for leadership positions. It would seem the more tainted, the more appealing you are in the ANC. The party, whose erstwhile leaders won the hearts and minds of South Africans, is running out of time to “self-correct”.

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