Leadership 'not just for politicians'
There is no textbook on leadership and opportunities to exercise leadership vary greatly with time and circumstances, Minister in The Presidency Trevor Manuel said on Saturday.
"The challenges of leadership in government are much more difficult," he said at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation's annual conference in Johannesburg.
"The first, and obvious, difficulty is having to seamlessly lead both the government and an organisation outside the government [the ruling party]."
Manuel said that, to understand the challenge of leadership, South Africa's history must be understood.
He said active citizenship required "inspirational leadership at all levels of society". Leadership did not refer to only one person or to a tight collective of people.
"Community leaders and public figures should demonstrate leadership qualities that include ... the ability to lead by example and to follow rules that apply to everyone: honesty, integrity and trustworthiness.
"[Good] leaders are able to combine the ability to hold fast to a core set of values, as enshrined in the constitution, with embracing change and agitating for transformation."
Manuel said that when it came to making policy there was often difficulty with the implementation, which often got insufficient attention.
"There is a particular weakness in the discourse across South Africa. We are immensely happy to discuss policy or allocations of resources, but appear to lose interest in the vigilance required over implementation," he said.
"As a consequence of all these factors, the debates on leadership are frequently misplaced and too often focus on leadership of party and state at the highest level, ignoring the reality that, for leadership to succeed, it has to be multifaceted and deeply layered."
Manuel said the country should be led by people who respected the constitution, including its supremacy, and the rule of law.
"As we are of the view that the struggle is continuous, so the responsibilities of leadership have to be continuous.
"The only way to deal with this is to appreciate the need for constant and continuous renewal - frequently of the values and ethics, rather than [of] the individuals."
He said leaders should pause to reflect on their actions to ensure that they were acting correctly.