… ‘Rats and mice’ acting as leaders have worsened SA’s economic crisis

Former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

JOHANNESURG – Former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has likened his time in office as being in a war – where he had to guard public resources from corruption.

Mboweni resigned from his position as Finance minister in August. He is also the eighth governor of the South African Reserve Bank and a former labour minister. On Monday he delivered a lecture at Rhodes University on values-based leadership.

“… [V]alues-based leadership should be distinguished and distinguishable from the rats and mice that masquerade as leaders in the world and eat away our future. Global leadership must be believable and trusted by the people,” he said.

Mboweni spoke out against the harsh effects of corruption on economic growth, and the need for leaders to live “simple” lifestyles and being connected to the society they serve.

He said that leaders – across government, business, community organisations and religious groups – who used their position to steal contributed to the erosion of society.

“There is no ‘excusable’ corruption. Whatever the form of corruption, it is imperative that the perpetrators are pursued and face the full wrath of the law. It is only then that we can halt the pervasive rot in all sectors of our society,” he said.

Drawing on his own experience of guarding against corruption – Mboweni noted that it is not an easy responsibility to take on, but necessary given the demands of the country’s fiscus amid high unemployment and poverty levels.

“I have just exited from a position of heavy responsibility in the heart of government. I once again feel like a war veteran, having had to lead the fight to protect public resources from abuse and waste.”

He lamented that poor governance and leadership failures had compounded the economic crisis and has limited growth.

In South Africa and other parts of the world, corruption had also created a “credibility crisis” in all areas of government. It is also evident in “broken and dysfunctional” municipalities and state-owned enterprises – which comes at the cost of economic growth, he explained.

Mboweni spoke out against leadership which pursued wealth, as opposed to serving the people.

An example of this is evidence of the misuse of funds for the Covid-19 response – where efforts to save lives and support livelihoods were undermined by “shameful and exploitative” acts of corruption, Mboweni said. – FIN24.

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