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Johannesburg - Good governance begins with ethical leadership, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said at the annual Black Management Forum conference on Wednesday.
“Refrain from using power and connections to influence the issuing of unnecessary tenders or getting tenders you do not qualify for,” she said, according to a speech prepared for delivery.
“Operate ethically, taking in to account the need for sustainability, including knowing that having islands of influence in a sea of poverty is not sustainable.”
Power struggles within organisations appeared to contribute to poor governance.
Madonsela drew an analogy between George Orwell's novel Animal Farm and cases she investigated where public funds were used by state officials for their own comfort, instead of addressing the needs of the public.
Such instances led to a trust deficit between the state and the people, which was often exacerbated by a lack of proper accountability.
Madonsela also warned about power-mongering, in the form of people withholding knowledge from their colleagues or superiors in an attempt to gain power within organisations. This practice also had negative consequences for governance.
She also drew attention to the importance of retaining institutional memory.
“A high leadership and technical skills turnover in organisations exposes the organisation to uncertainties about rules, procedures and systems,” she said.