Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The fox now guards the chickens

SA suffers from what can be described as a moral deficit. It is a disease that seems to be afflicting all strata of society — from government, to business, to the lowliest state functionary.

The mantra seems to be, in that delightful phrase, “it’s my time to eat”.

It’s a feeding frenzy. People are neither afraid nor ashamed to be caught with their fingers in the till. Corruption is so commonplace it doesn’t shock us anymore.

The country is being treated to the amusing spectacle of a police commissioner who admits to having approved in expenditure billions he didn’t have in his budget. There’s obviously no evidence to show that Bheki Cele is corrupt. But his naiveté is mind- boggling. He’s not wholly to blame, though. He’s a victim of sorts. The man who plucked him from obscurity and handed him a job that he is clearly not qualified for should be in the dock.

Cele’s predecessor, Jackie Selebi, is of course in jail, serving a long term for corruption. That just about sums up the country’s predicament. Corruption has not only reached the highest levels of law enforcement, the fox now guards the chickens. The involvement of the hierarchy in criminal activities or the abuse of power sends a signal to the foot soldiers that they, too, can partake of the forbidden fruit. What follows is the erosion of public trust in state institutions, and a moral abyss it’s difficult to get out of.

Human nature is not incorruptible. Which is why checks and balances are key to guarding against such a tendency in institutions. SA’s political system suffers from a lack of accountability.

Corruption, like crime, underlies most discussions and indeed drives our political discourse. It’s partly responsible for government’s attack on the media and judiciary, the institutions that embarrass it by exposing wrong doing.

Officials often accuse the media of bias, of picking on this government as if the apartheid state was squeaky clean. They miss the point. Corruption is unacceptable wherever it occurs. Also, since when has apartheid been the moral yardstick of the new SA? Weren’t we supposed to be much better?

Corruption won’t be defeated until we fix society’s moral fibre. The battle will be half won when people feel a sense of shame for doing wrong. Right now they have all the encouragement to keep looting. 
Article by Barney Mthombothi: Editor of Financial Mail. 
A message from Dr Mario Denton
As a diverse country we have had a record of being very religious yet treating each other in the most appalling ways. We have used our differences as an excuse for checking our morals at the door when dealing with those different from us. Our ability for doing this so well over the centuries and decades that shaped our history made us experts in believing one thing and doing another. But the real process of bringing this country back to its moral centre has to take place at different levels:  
First and foremost, each and every one of us needs to go on a personal journey of aligning our character with our actions. Let me illustrate this by using the iceberg example: It is said that an iceberg has over 90% of its weight below the waterline and only 10% of it shows above the surface. The 90% that is below the surface is like the values in our lives that shape our behaviour (the 10% above the waterline). I am sure that many South African leaders, when asked about character principles, claim to believe in them. But upon closer inspection one finds that there is big gap between this belief in character principles and the reality of our actions. Personal transformation is necessary on an individual level.
Improve services, build trust, and lead by example in your agency and your community. Ideal for law enforcement, correctional facilities, and city services.  Find out more how to restore character in your family and organisation. 

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