Putting My Stake In The Ground

Some time back I was advised to stay clear of political matters as an opinion leader on leadership. It was suggested I should focus on leadership in general.

Well, my conscience, the activist in me and my love of South Africa just does not allow me to do this.

Over the past 20+ years I have interviewed former Presidents of South Africa, several opposition leaders and other role players. Because I am absolutely convinced that we have one last shot at turning SA around I need to put my full weight behind a fresh opportunity. If I and millions of South Africans don’t do it, so that a historic and miraculous political turnaround can happen, we will all sink into a hole that cannot be filled. In fact, a deep hole already exists and just perhaps this last opportunity has come too late. But, it is our best shot at causing another political miracle in SA.

I saw signs of hope with Pres Ramaphosa rising to power. However, that opportunity – which some believed was a last shot at it – faded fast and COVID19 didn’t help.

From my point of view and as an objective citizen I of course hope Pres Ramaphosa will somehow turn around the corrupted ANC, crippled Eskom and miraculously steer the economy out of ICU. But folks, fellow citizens, how many times must we be fooled, disappointed and blindly hope for something extraordinary? When will we realise that it is already a near impossible task to turn around South Africa, not to mention compounding that challenge with needing to do the same with the ANC. 

After reading a recent article by Mbhazima Shilowa on News24 that reminded me of the history of attempts at turning around Eskom I was furious! I realised the ANC horse is tired and will not – can not – finish this race, partly because it’s “jockey” (Leadership) seem to have grown fat and complacent, corrupted, incapable of winning.

We need a brand new horse with new energy and a jockey with common sense, passion and a will to challenge the status quo like never before. We need a leader and party of destiny, with no baggage. We need a miracle supported by millions of South Africans, overnight. We can’t afford debilitating coalition politics for the next decade. There simply isn’t time and margin for that.  

The possible miracle and leader of destiny is Herman Mashaba. I recently tweeted this that is most relevant to him: “Few things are more beautiful to witness and experience than someone whose destiny has arrived. They are energized and all around them are too. Nothing can be more important than you finding your purpose and voice. #leadership”.

And I say man of destiny at the risk of sounding like I support the flawed belief that one person can save a country. But I have watched him over the years. I have interviewed him several times in his different capacities – as businessman, Mayor of Johannesburg and now President of the newly launched party ActionSA. South Africa, he is destined for something. I hope and pray it is to HELP save SA. He has put his money, time and energy where his mouth is. He is practical, simple, down to earth, a family man, a man that believes in God. Mashaba is in this for authentic reasons. He knows it would be easier to continue riding the wave of wealth generation instead of entering the world of politics that is fraught with destructive land mines. He has the right attitude for what politics should be about. He caught the vision that the “someone” in “someone should change the future or face of politics in SA” is him, you, me. That someone cannot be someone else any more. He realised it years ago and decided to lead from where he stood.

But now it is time for you and I to lead from where we stand, so that SA won’t place all its hopes in one man. It requires all hands on deck under his capable leadership.

For some of you it would mean simply voting for ActionSA. For others it would mean being a volunteer on the ground and for others it would mean some leadership role or strong financial support. But, whatever your role is, let it be driven by pure motives and practicality. Do what you can to make ActionSA successful. If your ego drives you to get involved you may not last in ActionSA. That is my impression.

I am putting my stake in the ground. I am placing my bet on ActionSA. If it ends up being a misplaced bet I will happily look in the mirror and smile, knowing I did what I could, I didn’t remain on the sidelines hoping for “someone” else to do something to save my spectacular country. As some may have advised Mashaba to stay out of politics because it would tarnish his name and jeopardize business opportunities, so some will advise me likewise. But, I have to follow my impressions, my instinct. 

I lead from where I stand. I stand for many positive values that embrace the ActionSA values of non-racialism, economic prosperity, social justice, rule of law, electoral reform, quality education and ethical leadership. While I hope to contribute on all these fronts, due to my background and profession I would love to zoom in on the ethical leadership drive. All good and bad achievements in society swing on the small hinges of leadership. Everything good or bad happens on the back of good or bad leadership, starting with a leader or leaders and who they are, their motives and drivers.

I think there is hope in the air. Join the momentum. Put your stake in the ground.

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