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Declining trust in leadership ahead of South Africa’s elections

Sameera Casmod |
04 March 2024 | 22:37 SAST
1 minute read

Image: The Center of Association Leadership

As South Africa prepares for upcoming elections on May 29, trend reports indicate that trust in key institutions and leadership has reached unprecedented lows, raising concerns for the country’s future stability and progress.

Eighty percent of South African citizens believe that political leaders are untrustworthy, according to a report published by Institute of Justice and Reconciliation in December 2023.

This erosion of trust extends beyond the political sphere, with reports indicating a decrease in trust in leadership in business, the private sector, and the public sector, says Professor Mias De Klerk of the Centre for Responsible Leadership Studies at Stellenbosch Business School.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Professor De Klerk emphasised that leadership, fundamentally, is about serving others and achieving common goals. However, a pervasive focus on power and self-interest has led to a decline in ethical leadership practices.

“What we see in the political side on South Africa and elsewhere, we just see leaders not stepping up to the plate, not taking account of what they’re supposed to do, not looking after the people that they’re supposed to serve, not looking after themselves, and those are the things that are destroying the trust in leadership,” Professor De Klerk explains.

Professor De Klerk underscored the importance of redefining leadership and holding leaders accountable to a set of principles grounded in integrity and responsibility. The Centre for Responsible Leadership Studies has developed a manifesto outlining ten principles for responsible leadership, which applies to leaders across sectors.

The principles are guidelines that can be used to evaluate leaders, and Professor De Klerk urges citizens to use these principles when voting.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.


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