Personal accountability and proven ability must be yardstick for leaders: Mogoeng Mogoeng

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says candidates should meet stringent requirements before they are allowed to run for positions such as president, premier and mayor.
Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says candidates should meet stringent requirements before they are allowed to run for positions such as president, premier and mayor.
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO

Chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says there must be stringent requirements when it comes to who is allowed to run for president, and there should be a screening process to scrutinise who is elected into the country's leadership.

Speaking at The Directors Event, hosted by the Sunday Times in Sandton on Friday, Mogoeng said something was fundamentally wrong with South Africa's election process.

"Isn’t it desirable that, for starters, before you become a president, there are very stringent requirements that need to be met, even before you begin to run?"

He said screening of candidates would filter out people who should not be leaders.

"It matters who becomes president of the country. It matters who becomes a cabinet minister. It matters who becomes a mayor or premier," Mogoeng said, adding that the dismal findings by the auditor-general on the state of municipalities proved this.

"So that not the one who has resources, not the one who is well connected, but the best that we need to take us out of the challenges that confront us … becomes the one who is elected."

The chief justice said those in line for cabinet appointments should also be scrutinised. 

"Let us test your capacity to discharge ministerial responsibilities before you can, and share your vision with us. What have you ever done? Why do you think you can do this work?" he asked.

Mogoeng has called for an overhaul of the electoral system.

"Some personal accountability, some personal responsibility to those who put you in that position is perhaps a way to go."

He took the conversation about the reform of the electoral system further, insisting that there needs to be reflection on how political parties are funded.

"I think it may have to be the responsibility of the taxpayer to fund them, so that when they get in there as parliamentarians, ministers, mayors or whatever, we whose money put them there will be accounted to."

Mogoeng said it was natural for people who donated to political parties and candidates to expect favours in return. "Money speaks," he noted to applause.

South Africa needed public representatives who were not perceived to be beholden to anybody, he said, adding that the country had far too few implementers of good policy and laws.


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