Leadership crisis: SA’s descent into chaos and uncertainty

South Africa is currently on autopilot and the desperate and hungry people have no leaders.

It has become glaringly obvious that our country is flying along an unchartered trajectory with a broken autopilot.

It is flapping along a flightpath that leads to nowhere and beyond that, lies a very hard landing and total chaos and destruction.

Leadership crisis

The pilots flying this falling-to-pieces aircraft have no concerns at what will happen to the passengers when the aircraft collides with the ground.

After all, they have already packed their parachutes to escape the disaster they planned, implemented and oversaw.

“To hell with the passengers” is their belief.

The captain of this doomed aircraft, our president, is remarkably quiet and not warning everyone on board that disaster is approaching.

SA in a nosedive

His fellow crew members are aware of the crisis situation but keep quiet for fear of being thrown from the aircraft without a parachute.

Just like our disastrous South African Airways (SAA), we are in a steep nosedive and going down.

The wings are about to be torn off and the landing gear has been stolen. Our mayday calls are being ignored as the crew have been exposed as con artists, corruptitians and liars.

Just as SAA lacked leadership and direction so, too, are we being subjected to a lack of leadership and direction.

Once there was “chicken or beef?”

Now there is nothing on the menu.

Where is Ramaphosa?

How is this possible when all the promises made to ensure improvement are simply forgotten and ignored?

Or was this a lie to pacify those who are desperate, hungry, and frustrated, and nothing more?

Where is our president?

What is he doing that benefits the nation as a whole – and not a few selected comrades whose contribution will not even fill a very small bucket?

If we survive the very hard landing, no doubt a committee will be established to determine what when wrong, where, and why.

This is simply another waste of money and time as everyone can see what is happening and what is going wrong.

Maybe the pilot and his crew will appear before an “integrity commission”.

But what integrity does this commission have? If past experiences are anything to judge by, then one must question its title.

Leadership qualities

One of the most important traits any leader must have, during both good and bad times, is the ability to lead.

This is exhibited by the leader’s ability to plan, organise, control and communicate, and direct his people towards ultimate success.

Leaders stand in front of their people.

They are the last ones to eat when the table is laid – not the first to grab all the food and leave the scraps for their people.

They do not go for second helpings when others are still waiting in line to, hopefully, get some food.

But this presupposes that the leaders have created conditions where others can earn money to buy food.

Not destroy all hopes for food and leave their people starving while they pile on the kilograms, sitting at overflowing tables and laughing at their people.

Leaders also create conditions where their people can work together as a team. After all, well-functioning teams are more likely to achieve good results, thereby making the leader’s task easier.

They don’t determine how best to divide their people.


Good leaders don’t blame others for their lack of guidance, their failures and their lack of direction.

They hold themselves accountable for their mistakes, along with the mistakes of their fellow crew members, and don’t try to talk their way out of it.

They don’t blame their incompetence on the previous leaders whose seats they took.

Just like a good pilot plans his flightpath and sets the direction he must fly to get to his destination so, too, must a good leader do the same.

But this presupposes the pilot has the necessary desire and motivation to do so and his plane is airworthy.

When things appear wrong, or when the plane veers off course, he must make corrections to get it back on track. A lack of action is indicative of poor leadership.

SA’s so-called leaders

So-called leaders that only avail themselves for photo opportunities, are non-leaders.

They want to be seen but are never heard when the country needs them. They are akin to people who dress in airline pilot’s uniforms but only have a hang glider to boast with.

Good leaders do not shout “power to the people” and then enforce their power over people.

But that’s what we have.

South Africa is currently on autopilot and the desperate and hungry people have no leaders.

We must brace ourselves for a disastrous landing.

Isaac Mashaba is a political analyst.

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