SA Government deaf to succession planning

By Don Mthethwa

SA Government deaf to succession planning
SA Government deaf to succession planning. Image source: Pixabay

Intra-party processes impose barriers that hinder young people from reaching electable key positions and show no signs of practical succession planning.

South Africa is engulfed with social and political challenges emerging from the despair over impending tensions within the governing African National Congress (ANC). The governing party is set to hold its 55th elective conference in December, with preparations underway amid the party’s proximity to everything else that is going on in South African politics weighing heavily against society.

At this point, what is impossible to predict is what the outcome would be despite perennial speculation.

The current leadership race began with provincial election instalments that unleashed young guns who have since had their work cut out because older politicians are keen to stay at the helm, or realistically, are deaf to succession planning.

The South African economy is desperate for transformation, not only from racial segregation, yet on key positions attached to the crucial changes in society from rural-urban migration to new technologies that demand the capabilities of young leaders. Every election, at any level, has the potential to become a point of rupture or continuity and perhaps every South African would otherwise bet their last hopes on a turning point under the leadership of experienced, nurtured, and resolute leaders. However, this remains an imaginary transition displayed in the minds of those who hold such hope.

Some countries in Africa are well placed to make the transition from Third World status to First World status, though First World countries are highly urbanised and exhibit high productivity, strong service sectors and freedom of movement because of infrastructure. South Africa is believed to have predetermined outcomes in governance that emulate this phenomenon, but who is endorsed with motive to hone this vision?

The current system of recycling leaders explicitly defers a legacy of young leadership by those gatekeeping positions to serve interests other than those pertaining to the advancement of the republic. This underlines the urgent need for decisive and rational political leadership for civil society to play a strong role in oversight, especially on matters affecting economic activity in this era of digitisation and to reform traditional leadership.

Technology governance will be better pioneered by young leaders, with the possibility of the elderly leaders providing guidance and advice from special committee structures.

Voters need to rethink the qualities of representatives and leaders beyond ‘struggle credentials’ to affirm priorities around national advancement. South Africa cannot afford to remain stagnant for another plus five years. The incoming leadership should deliver us on a succession plan approached with pragmatism by the state.