Many people have been complaining about the level of political grandstanding that is happening in our Parliament lately. There are concerns that while politicians are busy shouting at each other, we are not, as a country, dealing with the serious challenges that we have. We do have serious challenges in South Africa such as unemployment (particularly youth unemployment), poverty, inequality, the slowing economy and many more.
Look, this is my view: political grandstanding is part of the game. That is what politicians do and it is not about to change. What would make our country succeed though is having skilled people, who are camera shy working behind the scenes to make the country work. I believe, for example that ordinary Members of Parliament, the so-called backbenchers should not be aspiring political leaders. The ruling party and opposition parties should appoint technocrats and administrators who will work while their leaders are competing for media attention.
The same applies to Government. Ministers and Deputy Ministers are politicians. They will continue to do what politicians do. We can’t change that. What we need is the professionalization of the civil service. From the Director General, Deputy Director Generals, Chief Directors, and Directors and all the way to the lowest position, we need people who have skills. We need people here who do not necessarily have political ambitions. We need professionals who can just get on with the job. Of course, professionals need an environment where they will be given enough autonomy to do their jobs. Politicians need to give professionals space to do that. They need an assurance that they will not be made scapegoats when politicians have messed up.
One of the biggest challenges we have in our country though is that the skilled professionals want nothing to do with the Public Sector. Many of my educated, middle class friends wouldn’t be caught dead working for the State. Here’s my question then: if all the skilled professionals are not interested to work for the State, who will? I will tell you who will. The people, who are unskilled, politically connected and low ranking politicians who could not make it to the list of Parliament or any similar lists will do it. The problem with those people is that, at the core, they are politicians who are probably bored with office work. They will collect their salaries at the end of the month but will not add much value.
We need skilled professionals to join the Public Sector desperately. Will you consider working in the Public Sector? Your country needs you.