South Africa

Op-Ed: To public servants – find the criminals and eject them

By Marius Oosthuizen 30 June 2017

My fellow South Africans who happen to work in the public sector, we need your help. By MARIUS OOSTHUIZEN.

Dear Public Servants,

Thank you for choosing a life in service of the people. Thank you for being willing to work in our municipalities, our provincial structures and national departments. Thank you for fixing our roads and water systems and for being the backbone of our government.

We know that you are suffering as a result of political interference in your departments. We know that you have watched others enrich themselves while you have to struggle to buy school uniforms for your children, to afford transportation and to feed your family. We know you have been disrespected, mismanaged and unappreciated. We know that as police officers and teachers, you are underpaid. We know that as school teachers and nurses you often do not receive the support you need and have to work under difficult conditions to deliver education and healthcare to the future leaders of this country. We know that many good people feel like leaving.

My fellow South Africans who happen to work in the public sector, we need your help. Our country is losing direction as billions continue to be stolen from the people. Pregnant mothers are left dying as they wait for nurses and doctors and equipment and basic medicines that should have been paid for by all of our hard-earned tax. We need your help to stop the rot. Criminals have infiltrated the institutions where you work. They have pretended to have the people in mind but have been greedy, abusive and self-serving – they are criminals. We need your help to find them, eject them from the system and rebuild a respectable public service.

You are all at risk of being unfairly seen as being corrupt. All of your futures will soon be at risk, your salaries gone and your jobs lost as the people begin to reject corrupt and lying politicians ward after ward, town after town and city after city. Be part of the solution and not the problem. Help all of us unite against the small minority of criminals who are stealing our future.

If you know who stole, tell someone. If you know who they are working with outside the system to exploit it, tell someone. If you know how they are going about their thieving, tell us all so that we can put a stop to it. Every rand that they steal is a rand that should go to our children’s future. Be the one to take a stand and stop them.

There is corruption in all sectors of our society. Public servants stealing from the public through mismanagement. Business people stealing from their customers through collusion. Religious leaders stealing from their flock through lies and abuses. But there are also good people in South Africa who are honest, hard-working and want a better future. You are one of those people. Sometimes good people have to fight for what is right. Don’t be scared, be brave and stand up to the  tsotsis  around you. Fifty-six million South Africans depend on you. DM

Marius Oosthuizen is a member of faculty at the GIBS. He teaches leadership, strategy and ethics.

Photo: People queue at a voting station during South Africa’s local government elections in Umlazi, Durban, South Africa, August 3, 2016. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

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