South Africans need to fight institutionalised corruption‚ greed and state capture through mobilised activism that leads to action in the streets – if we are to have an impact.
That is the advice from ANC MP and former Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan. He told delegates at the Ethics and Energy conference at Stellenbosch University on Thursday‚ that the country had an economic system which “incentivised” corruption and “rewarded” greed.
“With the kind of economic system that dominates [SA]‚ the social standards by which people are judged actually incentivises corruption. Because greed is a key driver of economic behaviour‚” said Gordhan.
“One of the biggest diseases we need to sort out is the disease of greed. That is what breaks institutions and turns individuals toward particular forms of behaviour.”
Gordhan was at the event to accept the Order of the Baobab from the Business Ethics Network of Africa. The award is given annually to a prominent individual for “going to extraordinary lengths” to promote organisational ethics in the Africa.
Previous recipients include advocate Thuli Madonsela and professor Willie Esterhuyse.
President of BEN-Africa Liezl Groenewald said that Gordhan was fighting the struggle against unethical leadership and unethical business conduct.
“He has done so at great cost to himself and to his loved ones‚” Groenewald said. She said he has inspired civil society to emulate his resilience and pursuit for justice.
More South Africans were becoming aware of the levels corruption in the country according to Gordhan‚ who said dishonesty was not limited to government.
“State capture has made people very aware of what is going on and who the culprits are and what needs to be done. At some stage they will express their displeasure‚” he said.
“As activists we need to mobilise people around causes. When society is activated around a cause and gets out into the streets – that is important if we are going to have [an] impact.”
Gordhan could not predict what would happen at the upcoming ANC elective conference in Johannesburg in December‚ but hoped that current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would be elected as the party’s president to start a “new era within the country and party”.