ConCourt Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga delivers Ethical and Moral Leadership Lecture at UMP

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17 October 2023
ConCourt Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga delivers Ethical and Moral Leadership Lecture at UMP
The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) in partnership with the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust (ATMDT) hosted the 8th Annual Lecture on Ethical and Moral Leadership at Mbombela Campus on Tuesday, 17 October 2023. The lecture was delivered by Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, a Constitutional Court Judge and former Chief Evidence Leader of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry.

In her welcoming address, Vice-Chancellor of UMP, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, emphasised the unique significance of this year's lecture. "The University of Mpumalanga is celebrating its 10th Anniversary (a Decade of Excellence and Creating Opportunities) in our Pioneering Journey, Luhambo Lwemhlahlandlela," said Prof Mayekiso, underscoring the profound impact UMP has had over the past 10 years.

“The ATMDT lecture has become a revered tradition, affording both the University community and the wider public the chance to delve into the realms of ethical and moral leadership. Over the years, the enduring resonance of these lectures has left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of attendees.” further alluded Prof Mayekiso.

Delivering his address, Justice Madlanga congratulated the University of Mpumalanga on its 10th anniversary, setting the stage for a discourse on ethical and moral leadership.

Reflecting on the state of the nation, Justice Madlanga underscored the critical importance of the theme. He noted that a substantial portion of South Africa's current challenges stem from a deficit of ethical and moral leadership. Acknowledging the enduring impact of historical injustices, he reminded the audience of the profound influence leaders wield in various spheres of life.

He invited introspection on the nature of leadership, asserting that each individual present is a leader in their own sphere. Whether within families, communities, or institutions, the influence of leadership extends far and wide. Effective leadership, he emphasized, hinges on the ability to inspire and influence others positively, fostering an environment where individuals can reach their full potential.

While Justice Madlanga refrained from offering a rigid definition of ethical and moral leadership, he shared his perspective. For him, it is about doing what is right, guided by values of honesty, integrity, reliability, and fairness. This emphasis on values serves as a compass in navigating the complexities of right and wrong.

“Despite what I have said about my dividends at defining ethical and moral leadership, let me venture this: Ethical and moral leadership is about doing the right thing, and in doing so embodying the values of honesty, integrity, reliability, and fairness. I consciously avoid saying it is about doing the right thing. Much as people may differ on what is right and wrong, I would be surprised if they would differ on what constitutes the values of honesty and integrity.” said Justice Madlanga.
Drawing attention to the pervasive scourge of corruption, Justice Madlanga argued that it stands as a formidable obstacle to South Africa's progress. He delineated its devastating impact, underscoring its corrosive effects on democracy, human rights, and economic development.
Justice Madlanga added that there is a need for concerted and systematic efforts to combat corruption, drawing on the example of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first Prime Minister, who transformed the nation from a developing country to a developed one within one generation. He attributed this success to a relentless focus on eradicating corruption from the highest levels of government. He stressed the importance of resolute action, advocating for a top-down approach to tackle corruption systematically and consistently. "The process of cleansing and disinfecting must be initiated from the highest echelons and permeate down in a thorough and systematic manner. It is a protracted and demanding endeavour that can only be undertaken by a resolute cadre of leaders fortified by unwavering integrity and moral authority.” said Justice Madlanga.

In conclusion, Justice Madlanga expressed hope for a South Africa free from the shackles of corruption and a nation that upholds the values of honesty, integrity, and fairness.

"My sincere hope is that, for the sake of our children and the generations that follow, there will dawn a day when our beloved South Africa will be recognised among the nations with the lowest levels of corruption. May we not be compelled to endure interminable waits for the realization of this vision. Corruption, in effect, has perpetually postponed a portion of the dream envisaged by our Constitution – a dream intended to uplift our collective destiny.” concluded Justice Madlanga